My Job

photo by joanna

As much as I like to exaggerate my aspirations to be a working mom--juggling a budding writing career and taking care of my kids, I have to face to facts. Right now, for the most part, I'm a stay-at-home mom. That has my KIDS IN SCHOOL 6 HOURS a day. So if I can't get the house looking fine, library books turned in, groceries bought, laundry put away, kids to school on time, and my blog updated in all those hours--I feel like a screw-up.

Verona De Tessant: Burt, are we screw-ups?
Burt Farlander: No! What do you mean?
Verona De Tessant: I mean, we're 34...
Burt Farlander: I'm 33.
Verona De Tessant: ...and we don't even have this basic stuff figured out.
Burt Farlander: Basic, like how?
Verona De Tessant: Basic, like how to live.
Burt Farlander: We're not screw-ups.
Verona De Tessant: We have a cardboard window.
Burt Farlander: [Looks at window] We're not screw-ups.
Verona De Tessant: [Whispers] I think we might be screw-ups.
Burt Farlander: [Whispers back] We're not screw-ups.

When I saw the movie Away We Go for the first time in 2009, we actually had a cardboard window. This scene has stayed with me ever since. I wonder about this movie all the time.

Then yesterday. The kids got out of school at 11:30am and we stayed at the park until 7pm. I brought food and some cash for ice cream. I had a friend watch the kids for an hour as I went to my kids parent-teacher conferences. Three in a row. 12:50pm, 1:05pm, 1:45pm. And I could cry at the things the teachers said about my kids. I couldn't be more proud of each of them.  I got really lucky. My kids are nice. Good students. Curious. I hope I don't ruin them somehow. 


  1. i feel ya. while i don't have my own kids yet, one of my close girlfriends called one recent night to tell me she was pregnant. I was happy for her but I also couldn't help but think about how just 30 minutes before her call, my boyfriend and I were sitting in a creepily dark and vacant parking lot shoving Del Taco in our faces as fast as we could cuz we'd been busy all day and had no real food at home or time to get groceries for the past week and how I don't think people who eat fake food that fast and in the dark should be allowed to think about having kids yet and how we must not be ready... but other people are? how do people do it?!

  2. Funny how I just wrote a post today on my blog about teaching kids about happiness and how motherhood is a beautiful job. I think that to stay at home sometimes is hard because every day it is just a repetition of the day before without prospects of a raise or being promoted! So I have been learning that it is not about getting somewhere but enjoying the process and teaching my kids that is not about getting somewhere eigher but about learning how to be happy at the now and here, without ifs.
    Sipmom dot com

  3. love this comment. i'm going to remember it!

  4. Are your kids a reflection of who you are? I totally thought that before I had kids.....I think they are to an extent....but they are born with their own wiring too. I think (for the most part) parents try their best with each child....I am a stay at home mom. I am doing the best I can with my kids. I am not going to completely base my job (stay at home mom) on how my child does/doesn't perform in all aspects of their lives. I try my best, but I know my kids are going to make mistakes, not do well, fail in certain areas, and so on.....That's part of life:)
    I think it's great when my children do well, achieve, make good grades in school, have good social skills, & develop their strengths. I will be the first to say, 'I am proud of my kids'.
    I think sometimes we put so much pressure on ourselves and other parents when things don't go well. If your child is not doing well in a certain part of their life...good parents will dig in their and figure out ways to help them with their struggles:)
    Don't get me wrong, there are bad parents out there that abuse,neglect, have drug/alcohol abuse,are workaholics,and so on....These parents need help and my heart goes out to their children.
    But for the average mom & dad out there,I think we shouldn't put so much pressure on ourselves. Lighten up, you are doing the best you can:)
    Ok...I am now off of my soapbox:)lol
    Sharon,I am really proud of your kiddos for doing well in school:) Keep up the good work!:)

  5. wow, thanks for this thoughtful comment!! love you!!!

  6. My parents made mistakes because they are human. but I ALWAYS knew I was loved. I ALWAYS knew they would keep me safe, fed, warm, etc. So I think my parents did an awesome job even if i'm sure at times they thought they screwed us up in some way. Just love your kids, make sure they know it and they'll turn out fine!

    Also - Away We Go is one of my favorite movies. I've watched it over a dozen times and never get tired of it.

  7. You're one of my favourite bloggers ever. And that's saying a lot, because I enjoy many, many bloggers.

  8. I'd forgotten how much I love that movie. And I think we all feel like a screw-up at times. At least I hope we all do and it's not just me...but I'm starting to learn that all my screw-ups, the seeming mistakes-being in the midst of a divorce at 27, having a good job but one that requires no degree, let alone that master's degree I paid a lot of money for, the obviously ill-fated relationships-they've all gotten me to where I am today. And who knows, maybe if I'd gone a different path I'd be in a better place, definitely a different place, but I don't dwell on those kind of thoughts anymore.

    I no longer believe you can make a wrong decision. Perhaps better or worse, but any decision will get you somewhere. Some will get you where you want to go more quickly, and on a direct route. Some will take you on a long detour, but that's where you find some of the most wonderful, unexpected things. So I've quit making long-term plans. I told my company I'm willing to relocate pretty much anywhere. There's nothing tying me down, and any path I take will get me somewhere. I don't have to have everything figured out. That was a hard lesson to learn, but it's one I treasure. I do not have everything figured out, and that's a beautiful, wonderful thing.

  9. i loved that movie. i love your blog. i think both are thoughtful reflections on parenting and life.

  10. Don't put so much pressure on yourself to get everything done, sometimes us women don't always need to be superwomen although I know it's hard not to!

  11. Oh man, I read your blog all the time but I'm not a big commentor (hope that's not weird!) - but I felt like I had to tell you this - I know you worry a lot about "ruining" your kids but I think you're alright. You try so hard and that's really what matters. That's what they will remember. You seem like a terrific person and a great mom. If I ever have kids, I hope I have the desire you have to be great. =)

  12. yahoo for your kiddos... I loved, too, getting reports like that..makes going to the conferences that much easier! Being a mom is the best job... you have a life time ahead of you...

  13. I've never seen that movie.... Adding it to my Blockbuster queue right now....! and how sweet about your parent/teacher conferences :) You are doing a fabulous job as a mommy!

  14. Your kids are great because they have fabulous partents. You are doing a wonderful job raising them.

  15. This is why I love your blog so much. You are so honest. It is so hard to juggle everything when you have kids. I am just newly learning this with a 3-month old and trying to finish my PhD thesis. Thank you for helping me realize I am not the only one working things out one day at a time. :)

  16. It's funny, I'm a working Mom who reads your fun posts at work and thinks about how much I'd like to go to the Park all afternoon and ride a scooter! And I still feel like a failure when I can't keep my tiny apartment clean or stay awake to feed my little one at 4am... Loving your kids is the best job, with the best rewards. Go easy on yourself and keep posting fun stories for me to envy! ;)


  17. Heey! You're not! Hear me, there are plenty of us in the same situation. Sometimes it feels you can't have your cake and eat it and then there are those days plenty of cake left and eating it at the same time. Life♥.

  18. i looooved this movie! i think i cried the entire time, totally felt like us! i feel just like you, going thru the same struggles...

  19. I love that movie... helps to put things into perspective sometimes. It's obvious you're doing great things for your kids! That feedback from their teachers must feel great.

  20. You are doing a great job! And I totally know what you mean, I had my son in full time day care for awhile and if I wasn't writing all day or the house was spotless, I felt like a failure. Finally for a variety of reasons, I scaled him back to part time, and its amazing, I have LESS time, but manage to get more done, go figure. Maybe I just like to be overscheduled, lol.

    Also, I constantly feel like I am living that movie, I think about it all the time. We have moved several times, and I still don't feel like we've found ' home' whatever that is.

    Great post! And some days, you just don't get it all done. ;) I've resigned myself to that and feel MUCH happier lately!


  21. Your kids are pretty much a reflection of you and your husband's fabulous parenting mixed in with a good dose of their own personalities. Be proud of what you have achieved - you're not going to ruin them - far from it - you're encouraging them to flourish. They are so divine - you are too.

  22. I bring my laptop to the library when I need to work, even if the kids aren't home. At home it's so easy to get distracted with the tv, phone, snacks, etc.

  23. going to have to watch that movie...but by the sound of it-you don't have a cardboard window anymore-so think things will work out fine!!

  24. I absolutely adore this movie. So classic.

  25. It’s like you’re my doppelganger. I cried about my career (or lack thereof) yesterday for what seemed like a half an hour, but went to a parent teacher conference and listen to the teacher go on and on about how smart and delightful my child was. Not quite sure what to do next….

  26. Im sure your Kids Are just like that due to their quality family time! I always enjoyed my mum around who was so kind and caring... So worthy! Greetings from Germany, Mirjam Ve


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