Why is it that working mothers and stay at home mothers always seem to be dueling over who has it better? Recently a woman wrote a letter to the editor of Parenting magazine because she didn't understand why stay at home moms were voted the population that most deserved a cup of joe. She didn't understand why they needed it more than working moms. Give me a break! Just because I deserve a cup o' joe doesn't mean that my job is harder. There are benefits and drawbacks to both working and staying at home. Maybe we mothers ought to stop beating each other up, eh?
I know that I am very lucky to be able to stay at home with my kids, but there are certain times that I really do envy the working mother. If you need to run into a store to pick up one item on the way home from work, it can be done in mere minutes. With children, that simple task may take an hour. If you need to go to a doctor's appointment, you schedule some time off at work and go see your doctor. Last week I learned firsthand just how difficult such a simple task can be.
When my babysitter cancelled with less than 24 hours notice before my appointment with the breast surgeon, panic raced though my entire body. About 10 phone calls later, I realized my fate. The kids were coming with me. My husband scoffed at my panic. "You'll be wearing a paper gown," he says.
On the way to the office, I kept reminding myself that things could be a million times worse. The lump in my breast today is my third. The first was removed when I was 20 and was benign. That was a huge relief, but I would be lying if I said I didn't nearly vomit when I first unveiled franken-boob. The second was removed when I was 7 months pregnant with Violet. It too was benign, and there were no complications with my pregnancy despite the surgery. I found this lump when I first became pregnant with Ivy. After a needle aspiration and core biopsy, the surgeon determined that this lump was also benign and decided it was safe to wait and see if it needed to be removed. I have been going back to the surgeon over the past two years to keep an eye on it, but on this very day I was sure that this visit would be my last. At my ultrasound prior to the visit, my lump had decreased in size by over 60%. How can I complain?
Now, I have a tendency to forget at least one Mommy thing. For this appointment however, I was OVER-prepared. I had toys, food, coloring books...the works! My thought was maybe I could lure their eyes away from my examination. I also talked to Violet for a couple minutes about what the doctor was going to do. She asks if she can watch. Hmmm...I am all about being open with my kids, but COME ON! In my best Mommy voice I ask her if she likes privacy when she is naked or if she likes it when people watch. She agreed to a little privacy.
In the ten minutes we all spent in the waiting room, patient after patient observed and commented on the fact that I had my hands full. I politely nodded, thinking to myself NO CRAP! I thought the nurse's eyes were going to pop out of her head when she saw the herd of children following me into the examination room. I ignored this, hoping that I would be able to delude myself into believing that this happens every day.
Violet giggles as I undress from the waist up. I try to bribe her to refrain from laughing by promising the girls my pink paper shirt if they behaved during the visit. What could be more appealing than a patient examination gown right?
In walks my breast surgeon. She laughs uncomfortably when she sees the girls. I am thinking to myself...YOU are uncomfortable? She makes small talk and lets me know that my ultrasound showed great improvement. She went on to say that this would be my last visit. I was hoping she would turn and walk away, but no such luck.
You know what rocks about male doctors that work in women's health? They are discrete. In my experience, the women docs…not so much. There I lay bare-chested while the good doc does what seems to be the longest breast exam of all time. Lily and Ivy play quietly. They could really care less about what was going on. Violet on the other hand had her chin to the floor. She was trying not to watch, but it was like a train wreck. She couldn't help herself. Poor child is probably scarred for life.
The days where I hang out at the zoo with my kids, or spend the day laughing and playing princess are the days that working mothers have it waaaaaaaaay harder. On this day, I have them beat hands down. Where is my flippin' cup o' joe?