Does there exist a stage in life where a person just wants to work? If so, I’m there right now. I’ve been working a minimum of twelve hours a day, five days a week, for the last year and, for now, I’m not looking for the light at the end of the tunnel. I enjoy what I do.
I grow frustrated in the early morning hours when my mind and body command me to sleep. There are times when closing my eyes and lying still for six to eight hours feels like a waste. I have to remind myself that rest is as essential as food, water, or air, that fighting sleep robs me of efficiency.
Okay, maybe I sound like a bit of a workaholic. I’m fine with that. The only real problem I have right now is where my ambition intersects with motherhood. I have a rule for myself that I try to follow as strictly as I can which is that from the time the kids come home from school until they are asleep in bed I leave my laptop closed and keep my smartphone put away. For the most part I succeed at following this rule. Of course there is the occasional peek at my inbox or a hastily typed text message, but so far I have refrained from allowing my children to frequently see my face illuminated in the glow of a computer screen.
The problem is that by the time I’ve fed and bathed Anders and Danica, read a story, and tucked them in, my desire to resume whatever project I put on hold at 5PM is practically consuming me. There are nights when halfway through How Does a Dinosaur Say Good Night? my mind drifts to a deadline, an unfinished essay, an e-mail in need of drafting and that is when I feel most guilty.
I don’t believe in having it all. I don’t think that it is possible for anyone regardless of sex or financial status and so that’s not what I am striving to attain. My biggest question lately is not can I have it all, but is it reasonable to expect that I can partition off parts of my life? Should I feel guilty when work and life, career and parenthood, run together?
Until now I have lived in the black and white, but I am beginning to believe that being a mother means living in the grey.