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September 04, 2007

A Day Of Firsts

Devra_5I found myself as nervous for my son's first day of preschool as I was for my first day of work as a lawyer. I selected and discarded several outfits for Big H and then several outfits for myself. I slept badly, tossing and turning all night, too excited and scared for my little man to rest. Hollis did wonderfully. He didn't even look back after he entered his classroom, stashed his lunch box, and sat at a tiny blue chair at a tiny round table. After a few reassuring words from Hollis's teacher, I dabbed my eyes dry and headed with my husband to meet the other parents over coffee and donut holes.

Upon arrival, I realized exactly why I had been so nervous. Many of the parents seemed to already know one another or were easily forming new groups. I masked my inner reserve and walked over to another couple to introduce myself.  We easily fell into conversation about our children and then it happened, blindsiding me in its simplicity.

The other preschool mom said, "I'm thinking of starting a Mom's Morning Out for all the moms in our preschool class on Tuesdays and Thursdays."  Me, choosing my words and tone carefully in reply, "Welllll..., that sounds like a wonderful idea.  I wish I could join."

At that moment I got The Look.  The appraisal from head to toe, noting my make-up, styled hair, high heels, and dressy slacks.  Yes, that's right, I'm a working mother.

I don't know why this exchange bothered me.  I don't know why I let it bother me.  I'm confident about my decision to work outside the home.  I love my job.  I love my kids.  I can do both.  I am doing both and I think I'm doing it pretty well.  I don't buy into the whole concept of the "Mommy Wars."  I think if women treat one another with respect, then that respect will be returned.  But despite my lofty idealism, nothing can make me feel more vulnerable than perceived judgment from another mother.

Don't worry too much about me.  I'm going to keep plugging away, starting conversations with the other moms and dads, volunteering when I can.  I'm not going to let my overly sensitive perceptions bother me.  I'm going to keep doing both of my jobs - mom and lawyer - as best I can.  It's just that for one fleeting moment this morning, I wished that I only had one role to balance.

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