Tuesday, May 27, 2014


Dear Ann,
I’m a stay at home mom but sometimes fantasize about going back to work. I feel guilty that I'm not fully enjoying and appreciating being home with my kids. But I miss sitting at a desk, drinking a coffee, and looking at spreadsheets. Do you think I should go back to work?
-Nine to Five Nostalgic

Dear Nostalgic,

Of course you fantasize about going back to work. Where you were paid. In money. And talked to adults. And could pee, all by yourself. Yes, there were terribly boring meetings, stressful deadlines, and office politics. But have you witnessed kid politics? Way more stressful, and the HR director, AKA Mommy, is constantly having to do harassment training seminars to a very unresponsive - even belligerent - workforce. 

Let’s fantasize about your return to work together—first, a long drive listening to adult music and not having to turn around to look in the back seat ever. Wait, even better, a car with no backseat. Wait, how about a Vespa? And you look like this woman here, who definitely isn't covered in spit-up.

You pull up to your tall, glass, clean office building. You wait for the elevator sipping your second solitary chai latte of the day. You ride the elevator. Alone. It is white, and quiet, and clean. You stroll to your cubicle. Also, white, and quiet and clean. You have one small plant that needs water very very rarely. You sit down. You put on your headphones, and type numbers into a spreadsheet. No one needs you to pour their orange juice for them. No one needs a diaper change. When you have to pee, you go pee. Sigh. It sounds so calming, doesn’t it? Now, tear your eyes from this beautiful blog for a moment and look around your living room. Yes there are toys, and Cheerios, and socks, and filth, and laundry, and tiny trucks to step on. But also sitting there, painting each others' faces with your make-up, maybe with some yogurt in their hair, are your sweet, smelly, needy, lovable children.

My dear Nostalgic, you can go back to work if and when you wish or need. But you know that sitting there, in your perfectly quiet cubicle, with your perfectly done nails, and that delicious uninterrupted latte, that you’d also be missing this. It’s just kind of how our minds work as parents. We want breaks from our kids, but want to be with them all the time too, forever.  It’s kind of awesome, love and stuff, but it also sort of sucks sometimes. Don’t worry - I won't get at you with some live in the moment embrace the chaos bullshit. I just want you to respect that its OK to want a break from your children without feeling guilty about it. You just need to decide if it means going back to work or going out for a walk by yourself. And by walk I mean drive, (or cab) and by yourself I mean cocktails with girlfriends.

Your Ann Abler

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