I worked on district committees and pretty soon, I was selected as the department leader and mentor teacher. I was right where I wanted to be. And then my daughter was born. Naively, I thought I could jump right back in.
As a divorced mother who shares custody, I've had to examine my own assumptions about parenting gender roles and expectations. I continue to own my self-imposed guilt and attempt to dismantle it like a boss.
There are a few universal truths about tiny, baby humans. They cry. They poop a lot. They need a lot of love and attention (but not actually a whole lot else). They have delicious-smelling heads. But there was one thing I got wrong about those little, love-and-attention-needing babies.
I hope that I am wrinkled and stooped and able to meet my grandchildren. I hope to tell them about their father, my now baby boy and my then-grown son. I hope to tell them about how brave he has always been.
I never thought about nannies. I always knew that I wanted to have children one day, and I also always knew that I wanted a career. I just never thought about who would watch those children while I was having that career.
The only thing my youngest child needed from me was me. She needed me to ask her if she wanted more water or crackers, a pair of cozy socks or her favorite blue Elephant Lovey. She needed my sympathetic smiles and nods, my kisses on her warm forehead, my lap to sit on.
We've created a vision that is impossible to attain amidst a life where small people rely on us. A life where we want to be with those small people just as much as we need a break from them most of the time. Inevitably, the grand self care gestures fall apart under their own weight.