Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Whose Vacation Time?

It happened again yesterday. E's babysitter called in sick, so she had to leave work early to cover for her. "Whose vacation time is this, anyway," she said to me in an exasperated voice. "I've only used maybe one of my vacation days for myself, and now I'm almost out."

It's true. The days our company has off, her babysitter wants off too. When she calls in, it's because her babysitter is unavailable. And, invariably, she comes in the next day completely worn out and looking exhausted.

She often complains that she's a bad mother because she has to work, but she doesn't do it for the money. Almost her entire salary goes to pay her babysitters. I've said it before, there are people who are just wired to be stay-at-home moms -- she is not one of them. She's fine on the weekends with him, when her husband is usually there, but she freaks out when she has to spend a day alone with her son.

E had babies for an interesting reason: it was time. On her schedule, I mean. Get married by 22, have first child by 24. Check, all of the above. Yet she constantly comments, when A and I do something fun on a weeknight, or take a spur-of-the-moment trip, that she wishes she could do all that. I don't think she was ready for the sacrifice yet. She also talks a lot about how she wishes she had a girl (not diminishing her love for her son), and, well, speaks in a rather juvenile way about him sometimes, as if he's a new gadget or toy to be shown off to others. Not in the same way other people talk about their children, mind you... it's almost as if he's inanimate.

That sounds horrible when I put it in writing; I don't know, she just loves showing him off SO MUCH, loves the idea of him, really. Loves shopping for him, buying him cute things, decorating his bedroom, hanging his photos all over the place. But when it comes down to it... I don't know what I'm trying to say. She loves her son, I believe that wholeheartedly. But, well, she gets SO flustered about spending more than an evening alone with him, gets so upset when she has to use her vacation time to take care of him... I'm not sure what I'm trying to say. I actually kind of applaud her for feeling comfortable enough to express frustration and annoyance with being a parent. I don't know, I guess this just all gets added to the list of things to consider if I ever do start to feel the winds of mind-changin'. There's nothing wrong with her, really. It's just part of being a Mom... the complete sacrifice is the thing that I just can't get on board with; seems like E is still getting used to it.

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