Since the start of January, we have had four snow days. (Well, technically, they are “severely dangerous windchill days.”)
In fact, the only reason I am able to sit down and write up this blog post today is the fact that I am sitting at home with my kids on the fourth “snow” day of the month.
Remember, when as a kid, you’d get super excited for a snow day? I certainly do. I remember waking up in the morning, finding out it was a snow day, and riding that high for the rest of the day. I’ve always loved a good lazy day at home.
But the announcement of a snow day last Thursday brought this working mother to her knees in a sobbing heap.
Why, you might ask?
For me, a snow day has become a stressful event. These four days in January have been days that were cancelled not because of snow and bad road conditions, but because of severely cold windchill.
Work doesn’t close down for severe windchill.
I started a new job in October, one that requires a lot more out of me than my previous roles. It’s a new level of leadership. It also requires more travel, and a return to full time work. (I was part time from 2005-2013). I have been trying so hard to do a good job, and to adjust to this change, and I LOVE the work I am doing.
But when last week’s snow day hit on Thursday, in the first three weeks back from the holidays, I had already missed two days the first week of January, two the second week, had MLK Day and missed a half day for my youngest’s doctor appointment. And we were in the middle of planning for two workshops our team is holding this week. (Yes, I am missing part of it right now.) Compound that with a work culture where I work with mostly men, whose wives stay home, and my two team members are unmarried without kids, and I felt like I was
So when my husband and I were faced with trying to figure out who would stay home with the kids, and neither one of us wanted to stay home, the situation quickly degraded into an argument. We were both selfishly trying to convince the other to stay home, but in reality we just made snarky comments towards each other and I stormed out of the room in frustration.
All the stress of the new job, feeling like I was not pulling my weight at work, and the self-imposed stress of trying to be the best mom, wife, engineer, AND team member I could be, and the tears came.
What didn’t help was when my husband decided to stay home so that I could go to work. Because then, rather than feel like we had discussed it and compromised, I felt like the selfish one.
This weekend a friend shared this post on Facebook, and it resonated.
“one of the greatest obstacles we face as women is the trap of comparing ourselves with other women.”
Because this is what I do. Nobody is telling me that I’m a bad engineer, or a bad mom, or a bad wife. In fact, quite the opposite happens. I have lots of support from external people. But I don’t support myself. When I say “Nobody is telling me…” that’s kind of a lie. Because someone is telling me that. The problem is, she’s in my head. And because she’s in my head, I can’t get away from that voice that says, “You’re not good enough. You’re not doing enough. Why aren’t you home with your kids? Why don’t you want to be home with your kids?”
She’s sneaky, that voice in my head. Sometimes, I almost think that it’s me. But it’s not. It’s someone else, someone trying to make me feel bad. And I am trying very hard not to listen to her.
For the record…this blog post took much longer than expected, mostly due to a potty training toddler who interrupted my train of thought at least three times…and is currently on the toilet yelling about the Avengers.