Today, while Jane and I were playing quietly in her room and Sam napped in his room next door, Jane matter of factly picked up her Tweety Bird Easter basket from last year, slung it over her shoulder like a purse, and stated,
“I’m going to work. I gotta go to the ofsup [aka office]. See you later. You stay home. I’ll be back!“
Then she turned on her heels and left me staring at the empty doorway.
Childhood mimicking blows my mind sometimes.
My first emotion after Jane left the room was sadness for my poor little girl who has known me to leave her every weekday since she was 14 weeks old. Then I felt guilt for not staying at home with her. (And then more guilt for feeling guilty when I know I’m supposed to stop feeling guilty for everything). And then I felt what might best be described as disgust for the whole situation and perhaps a little resentment over the fact that I even have to choose between my career and being a full-time mom to my kids.
But when Jane returned to the room with her Tweety Bird “briefcase” and smiled,
“I’m back. I’m home now! I went to the ofsup. I love you!”
and gave me a big hug and kiss, I felt proud.
Holding her Tweety briefcase, Jane had an air of confidence and the look of someone who knows who she is. She walked with a purpose and beamed with self-assuredness. Best of all, she looked happy. And that made me happy.
For one, I was happy to know that she has a professional role model. But most importantly, I was happy that leaving her every day has not been the death of her – and might even be an inspiration.
Her play acting reinforced to me that not only has she accepted the daily routine of our lives, but that she also knows Mommy has another – equally important – identity besides being a mom to her and her brother. She sees that I am not a one-dimensional person: sometimes Mommy stays home to play, sometimes Mommy takes time out to play with her friends, and sometimes Mommy goes to work.
Today’s verdict: Being able to provide my daughter with a multi-faceted female role model is satisfying enough to assuage my working mom’s guilt for the time-being. Whether I need to set this type of example while Jane is only 2 and Sam is not yet 1 years old is a question I’ll leave for another day.