You know who else would like me if she met me? Tina Fey. Yep, Tina and I could be pals.
In the February 14/21 issue of The New Yorker, Tina wrote a personal history piece on being a working mom. One of the other moms in the office distributed copies writing “hysterical” in the margin before photocopying it. And you know what I got out of the article? Other than a couple laughs about wooden toys and her future family holiday card (I’d describe it but it just wouldn’t be funny in the re-telling. You know how that goes).
What I really got from the articles is this little nugget: We all feel guilty.
We feel guilty for liking the work we do outside the home.
We feel guilty for wanting more kids–what does that mean for the people at work who depend on us?
We feel guilty for only wanting one kid–doesn’t my child deserve a sibling?
We feel guilty for waiting too long to have kids.
We feel guilty for not waiting long enough between kids.
It’s endless. And we all wear our guilty feelings around like a warm, extra large pea-green sweater with leather elbow patches and a hole in the armpit. It’s not pretty, but once you snuggle in it’s hard to peel it off.
And Tina gets it. She’s wearing that guilt sweater too, until a wise doctor tells her, “Everything will be fine.” Either way: working outside the home or not. One kid, two kids or more. Chik-fil-a drive-thru for dinner or lasagna made from scratch. Juggling it all or letting a ball drop every now and then. Everything will work out. It will all be fine.
Try repeating that to yourself when you are stressing out because it’s the third night in a row you don’t have enough energy to give the kids a bath (and I really hope that’s not just me). Wipe their faces with a washcloth.
Stick their feet in the sink if you must. Kiss their sweet little heads and tell yourself this: “Stinky kids can grow up to be totally well-adjusted members of society. Everything will be fine.”
So, Tina Fey, we’ve got a lot in common. OK, so you write and star in an extremely successful sitcom on TV and I watch it (on Hulu days and weeks later when I have a chance to actually sit and watch something not called Phineas and Ferb). But we’re also both working moms doing the best we can for our kids and families every day.
What do you say to a cocktail and commiserating? I got your back. Call me.