Working Guilt, Step-parents, & Designer Jeans

I’ve been in Lake Placid for a conference. It’s strange, usually I am pretty on top of times when I need to go away, mostly because it really presses my fret button. Not this time, this time it sort of snuck up on me. I moved slowly, stopping just short of saying that I didn’t want to go. I tried to keep the goodbyes light with the girls, guessing that I wouldn’t I have it in me to keep them cheery. I hit the road late and have spent every minute since trying to get my head in the game. Last night while I was at dinner with clients and friends Sean texted me.




I gasped, everyone at the table turned, “What? Everything ok?” My shoulders slumped. I nodded. “Finley, my daughter, she lost her tooth.” I held the phone up and moved it in front of me, there was a collective, commiserating groan and murmurs about the guilt of working. We’d all been talking about our kids and yet, that didn’t change the fact that we weren’t with our kids. We chatted about the going rate for teeth these days and tried to keep it light, but the tug I’d felt to not go away came back with a push to get home as quickly as possible.

I walked back to my room and thought about home and life. Getting away from the frenetic pace of the end of the year activities gave me the perspective to see that we’re doing all right. We’ve been shifting into a new routine, as Sean sprints around the backyard with the girls after work and I do the wake up rounds, cuddling with each girl until they’re ready to get out of bed. Little by little they’re also picking up responsibilities around the house and loving it. Who knew they’d delight (most of the time) in shouldering some of the burdens of cleaning and taking care of pets. The school events are a challenge, but we’re hanging on. There are things we won’t make it to and I had one event that I had to back out of because of a last minute work thing.┬áSean is going to Briar’s field day today and I attended Fin’s last week. Ave has a field trip coming up and I am looking forward to tagging along. I’m trying to remember that childhood isn’t remembered like graph paper, with each day clearly defined and recorded.


I actually wrote a piece yesterday for Huffington Post, while I stood at our booth. It’s┬árelated to parts of my childhood in honor of Father’s Day, a day that I usually struggle with because of the whole step-parent thing. Words get tangled up. The process of writing it taught me a lot about what it is that we take from childhood. I’d love it if you read it.

Here’s the link.

I wrote about another snippet of childhood, an admittedly less warm and fuzzy part, for Scary Mommy. Did you ever try to fit in by wearing a certain thing? Did you ever get mocked despite your best efforts? I did and it was all wrapped up in a pair of Guess Jeans and a heart full of hope. Despite the humiliation I learned a lesson that’s still with me today.

I Guess it didn’t work.

That’s all I’ve got. Time to head back to the conference. I hope that if you are feeling guilty about something related to work at home or if you still can’t make your clothes work or feel like you fit in, that you know we’re all scrambling and licking wounds that you can’t see. We’ll get through it.

I'm not kidding when I ask you to tell me what you think.

  1. I am SO in awe of all you do. Honestly. And writing too! I am off to read your pieces but wanted to say that cuddling in the morning and field trips are things to pat yourself on the back for.

    • This brought me the biggest smile. Doesn’t feel, most days, like I do very much right. Thank you.

  2. I so get your HuffPo piece, Amanda. I read it through tears. Aw, this stuff is so hard, even this many years later. It sleeps for a while, years even, and then awakens with a ROAR when least expected. At least for me. I have not found my way quite as well as you on this front, but I have a list of one. It’s a start, I suppose. Thank you for sharing–I wish more people would write about this kind of thing.

  3. Wait! For got to say I also get the the 80s Guess jeans thing too, but mine involves hair styling with a curling iron and a really mean boy named Michael. Hoo boy. Still scarred by that one (figuratively, thankfully).

  4. Thanks for sharing this. I’ve been back at work for almost a month after being on leave for three months with my first baby. The weight of becoming a working mom has been very heavy so far, and I keep waiting for it to get better. I guess it’s really about finding a new balance, though.

    • Going back after my first was like that scene in Hope Floats where the little girls stands in the street crying. My husband drove her to the sitter and I sobbed for weeks. Sending you hugs.

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