I’ve made a concerted effort to avoid getting involved in the whole working mom/stay-at-home mom debate thus far. For one thing, I feel that it's patently asinine to judge the decisions that anyone makes in this regard, as there's no right or wrong choice here. And I can't believe I'm even writing about this, even tangentially here. But I have to get something off my chest that's been plaguing me ever since Toopweets got sick last week.
I made light of the situation last week, but his virus was really quite scary. Thursday night was a horror. By Friday morning, however, he was noticeably better, and his fever had broken. I had a big work deadline, so I decided to go to the office, do what I needed to do, and leave as soon as possible to be with my kid. J and I decided to send Toopweets to the pediatrician, just to have him checked out. As we do every day, we left him in the very capable hands of our fabulous nanny and hightailed it to work. At 9 am on the dot, I called our pediatrician from my office to schedule a visit for that morning. The doctor herself picked up the phone (I know!!), whereupon we had the following conversation:
Me: Hi, this is Metalia. Toopweets was sick last night with [listed symptoms]. I'm sure it's that virus that's going around, but I wanted you to check him out anyway. Can you by any chance fit him in today?
Pediatrician: Can you bring him in at 10?
M: I'm at work right now, but my nanny will bring him in then.
P: [Sighing audibly.] Oh.
M: Is everything okay?
P: Well I just assumed that you would bring him in, seeing as you think he’s sick enough for a visit here.
M: [Jaw on floor.]
P: Does she speak English?
P: Does your nanny speak English?
M: What? YES.
P: Okay, can I have a number to reach you at work?
M: [Reciting phone number. Annoyed.]
It hurts, people.
The thing that kills me here is that the pediatrician has, until now, been a warm, lovely person. She's an amazing diagnostician and has a great rapport with T. Either J or I (or both) make sure to attend every checkup and sick visit. This was one instance where circumstances precluded either of us from doing so.
And she gave me hell for it.
Because I went to work that morning.
That hurts. A lot.
Because I'm a good mother. Because I'm a mother who loves her son beyond words. Because I'm a responsible mother; one who puts her faith in the dependable and loving woman who cares for her kid each day, and my decision in this regard was rudely called into question. Because I'm also a mom who chooses to go to work, and I’ve never gotten shit for it until now.
I am quite honestly flummoxed as to how my decision to send T to the doctor with his nanny (who is conscientious, loving, and has been with us since he was three months old) equated to poor decision making on my part. Confused as to why the doctor automatically thought I would send my (possibly) sick baby to a medical professional with someone who didn't speak English.
I've never before felt judged for working again after I had T. And honestly, I think that FOR ME, doing so made me a better mom for a number of reasons, the upshot of which is that I know I'm much more patient with T than I would be if I was with him all day (especially now with the damn molars, and the syndrome I’ve decided is Early-Onset Terrible Twos). Because that's who I am, for better or worse, and this is what works FOR ME. And that’s all that matters.
I wish my pediatrician could know that my husband and I were up basically all night on Thursday, taking turns holding our sick boy. That she could know how I was vomited upon more times and in more volume than I ever care to experience again. That I was scared shitless, even knowing then that it was likely a virus. That even during the aggregate 3 hours of sleep that we did get, I was still waking every 15 minutes, like clockwork, to make sure that T was okay. That at one point, he fell asleep on my leg which was twisted into a position that hurt me like hell, but I didn't move. For over an hour. Because my sick baby was sleeping, and he was comfortable. And that even though he seemed considerably better by Friday morning, I still thought someone should take him in, just to make sure.
Yeah, I work. Yeah, I couldn't be at that appointment. But I'm still a mom, through and through.
And deciding to go to work that morning, whatever my reasons, shouldn't negate that, not in anyone's eyes.