In sort of a fuzzy way, I can remember what it was like to work a regular job. One where there was a start time, an end time, regular days off, benefits and the like. There were even magical things called personal days. Some coworkers used those for that annual doctor’s appt and topped it off with a mani/pedi and a latte after to wash it all away. For others, maybe it was taking little fluffy to the vet or grandma to the doctor. But, then there were those who boldly called it for what it was- simply personal. What they did was mysterious. Sometimes they came back with stories, sometimes not. Oh the power, the sheer freedom alloted by those sweet little “p” days on your work calendar. Even if people felt “cool” if they could say, “I’ve never taken a personal day,” we all know that THOSE people are simply lame. They don’t have a better work ethic, nor are they better people. They just like to feel cool and make others feel not as cool. All that to say, if you are still in the land of a real job with benefits that include personal days and you are feeling guilty about taking one, take it!! Please, please, please take it with gusto and give that brown nosing coworker of yours a big grin on your way out.
I had never even thought about the fact that motherhood comes without any standard benefits. There aren’t even bathroom breaks alloted, let alone an entire DAY to do something personal. I mean, let’s face it, there are times when being in the bathroom alone is necessary. I am personally not ready to explain to BQ what I’m doing with a tampon or why. Freaking out my children is definitely not something I try to do on a regular basis. What I do on a regular basis is field questions and comments while urinating, hear toy cars being driven up and down the door while performing said tampon task, and see little hands coming through the missing glass pane in the door (yah it’s gone because it had to be smashed in to rescue a child that had locked herself in and has not been replaced for fear that either she or her sidekick might repeat the offense) with two plastic strawberries asking me why they are different. What I wouldn’t give for two 15 minute breaks and an hour for lunch.
And yet to be honest, what I didn’t read in the fine print when I saw a plus sign on that little white stick in a small bathroom hotel in Tegucigalpa, Honduras (a story for another time) were the immeasurable, unending, and incredible benefits that no career or work accomplishment could ever match. Have you snuggled with a pajama clad 15 month old right after a bath when she’s warm, smells good, and wraps all of her sweet and small little body around you? Or had your 3 year old yell down the hall for you to return only to hear her say, “Mommy, I just love you?” It might not be mysterious, or make my coworkers jealous, or give me a hot tan upon my return, but it sure beats a day at the gyn. Am I right??!!!
So, if you’re having a day like I’ve had (mind numbing boredom due to lots of rain and no plans) just try to remember that there are two sets of fine print on your motherhood contract. Take out a black marker and cover over the bad stuff, because you’ll figure it out eventually, and then take out a really tacky and bright highlighter to go over the rest. Like first steps, first words, first days of school, and first giggles. That’s what counts. And that’s why I decided to trade in a lifetime of personal days for a lifetime of fine print.