Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Separation Anxiety

You may remember how I closed my part-time private practice in June? So I'm no longer working outside the home? Every now and then since then, Julia has asked, "Mama go to work?" when something has reminded her of those harried afternoons on which I raced out the door the second Christopher got home, and I've explained to her, "No, honey, Mama doesn't go to her office anymore, remember? I'm all done with work for awhile." She seems happy. (As for me, I'm REALLY happy. On my most exhausted, overly-pregnant days I can hardly imagine how I'd be coping if I was still working until 10 p.m. two nights a week.)

Yesterday afternoon, though, we were preparing to go to the children's play area at Menard's (yes, I'm serious--there is an actual play area inside the Menard's store here, full of playhouses and ride-in cars and Little Tikes slides and balls, and Julia LOVES it. I'm sure it's there for customers who are actually buying things at the store, but hey, it was about 150 degrees here for a month straight--okay, it seemed like it--and we've been desperate for things to do indoors). Because we were also due to pick up Christopher from work later on and I didn't know if we'd connect with him by phone before then, I casually strapped on my watch so I could keep an eye on the time during our outing. Suddenly, Julia started wailing, "Mama, no go to work! No Mama go to work!" For a few moments I had no idea what she was upset about, and I just kept saying, "Honey, Mama isn't going to work--we're going to play at Menard's!" Then I noticed it---she was pointing at my left wrist, eyes filled with tears. She remembers: the only time I wore a watch in the past two years was when I was getting dressed for work. Heart-wrenching! Talk about emotional validation for no longer being a working mom! (OK, mommy warriors: don't say a word. I'm not truly serious. I know kids whose moms work are just fine, including mine. I'm not passing judgment; I'm just passing on a cute anecdote--and I couldn't help but feel glad of my decision during such a funny, cute moment.)

Incidentally, that is one of the simple pleasures, to me, of no longer being in the "career world." I LOVE not having to wear a watch, being able to dress in twill short skirts and tank tops, foregoing make-up, wearing sandals and ponytails and carrying sporty canvas bags from Title Nine or J. Crew rather than an organizer and a "work bag." It is bliss. But that's another post.

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