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stories of parenting at the University

It’s. Not. All. Going. To. Happen.

June 24th, 2011

By a professional faculty mom of a 2 year old son:

You know you’re a working mom when you’re eating dinner sitting on the toilet while your toddler takes a bath. We’re not talking a home-cooked, healthful meal either – more like a tamale (and by tamale I mean warm cardboard with the faint hint of real food) from Costco you scrounged from the back of your freezer and reheated.

So, you are on the toilet (not doing your “business” although it would present a fabulous multi-taking opportunity should the urge present itself….) eating, practicing letters with your child, while calculating how long it will take you to do the laundry piled up next to you. Then the guilt creeps in… why can’t I keep all these balls up in the air at once? Clean house, happy child, well-stocked fridge, folded clothes….

This is the first step in accepting life as a working mom. It’s. Not. All. Going. To. Happen.

I keep telling myself this and talking the guilt off the ledge, but it always come back. It’s hard being a full-time working professional and a full-time parent at home. Even if there are positive parent-to-children ratios, it’s tough. It can be helpful to know you’re not alone. There are lots of people who have full-time careers and kids and even enjoy it. At OSU, I’ve met people who take it three steps further and add into the mix a Masters or PhD program, adjunct teaching, coaching, volunteering, etc. Now, I do not do any of these things so I won’t attempt to take credit for those overachieving parents – I just try to get by and enjoy the little things along the way, like…

–          That look and feeling you get when you go to pick your child up from school. It’s like Christmas morning every afternoon.

–          Dropping your child off when they are throwing a fit… ahh, now I can go sip coffee at my desk and check email for 15 minutes to relax.

–          Having lunch with other adults or alone

–          Working out over the lunch hour instead of around a nap schedule/childcare schedule

–          Enjoying your days off work with your child and being thrilled to do “kid” things

My advice? Enjoy the day-to-day ups of being a working parent and get a good group of supportive friends who are also working parents to vent with when poop hits the fan – as you know it literally could when you’re potty training. When all else fails, we do live in the “New Napa”…. (read, wine – not “nap” – although both will do the trick).

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  • What is this?

    Here in the basement of Kerr, in the office of Childcare & Family Resources, we hear stories. Weird, heartwarming, horrific, sad, and stories so funny they draw in a crowd. We think you need to hear these stories. You need to know of the single undergraduate student with two kids. You need to hear about the tenure track dad expecting his first baby, the classified staff couple that can’t afford childcare on two incomes, the professional faculty whose partner was just laid off. How she just potty trained Jr. while working full time. How he negotiated more leave. How the professor extended her deadline. How she manages to pump and still type emails. How he brought his baby to class.

    So we invite you, parents of OSU, to come here and share your stories: the good, the bad, and the crazy. What you do is amazing, and the whole campus needs to know about it.