"The marathon can humble you" - Bill Rodgers

April 2, 2010

Daily Reports
Originally uploaded by anastasiav
Every day, when E gets home from daycare, I get a yellow sheet of paper that tells me about his day. At the top is a list of what he's had to eat that day. At the bottom, an outline of his potty habits - at one time, just a list of when she'd changed him and when he'd pooped; more recently its been a small celebration of his new-found ability to go to the potty independently (along with the occasional reminder that he hasn't quite mastered it yet).

The middle is the important part. In the middle of the page is a short list of his activities for the day. Today's reads:

outside 9:30 to 11
outside 12:30 - 4
visited Papa and Mimi (my caregiver's parents)

Yesterday's reads:

picnic set
nap 2 to 3:30 pm

I cling to the middle section. Its as much as I know about how my son spends the majority of his day. As often as I can, I use what Sarah wrote as a way to start a conversation over dinner. Asking him "what did you do today" almost never elicits a response. Being able to say "so you played outside today" or "did you play superheroes with Hannah today" will sometimes at least start a conversation. Sometimes he'll share a story or two about his day. Sometimes they make sense. Other times, the things he says are puzzling or inexplicable, but there isn't much we can do to find out the background to the tales he tells us.

A couple of days ago, I wrote a little bit about blogger Heather Armstrong being invited to the White House Forum on Workplace Flexibility. (I also made a comment on a post over on Daddy Types). Today, she published a long post about the flack she's gotten for this invitation. Reading it (and reading it again just now), I guess I have to admit that I'm probably lumped in with the people she's railing against. I've done a bit of Googling to try and figure out what made her so upset, and if there has been a big backlash on the web, I can't seem to find it. This recap is the closest I can find.

I'm not flattering my self here that Heather Armstrong reads my blog, or even knows I exist. That's not my point here. Tonight as I was putting E to bed I was thinking about my day. How I too hit the ground running at 6 am and don't stop until my head hits the pillow at night - often when I fall asleep fully clothed next to my son as he falls asleep. But a lot of what Ms. Armstrong is describing in today's post - the long hours, the pressure of never being able to take a day off -- that's not about being a working mother. Its just about being a mother. The simple and sometimes impulsive act of deciding to have a child puts you into this high pressure world.

I understand her anger at being second guessed, I really do. But even now I've not seen an answer to the original question I posed: who else was there? Was there anyone like me sitting at that table ... someone who reads about her child's day on a yellow sheet of paper instead of experiencing it? Because that is the key difference between the Armstrong workplace and mine. She gets to experience the daily routine of her children. I get to read a recap of my son's day on a yellow sheet of paper.


Shadow said...

Meh, Dooce (TM!!) gets her undies in a wad if anyone even says her name without farting rainbows of happiness. I'm sure she does work hard, but who doesn't? If only my To-Do list included, "Take cute picture of dog" each day ... I don't think I'd die from the stress.

I wouldn't worry about it, she's a drama queen (and she's going to be on HGTV, which TWOP members unanimously agree will be an epic fail & complete waste of airtime). Personally I liked her writing better when it wasn't all about how wonderfully perfect her life is (except when it hilariously is not perfect). If I wanted a happy sitcom I'd be watching TV right now.

anastasiav said...

Shadow, thanks for your comment.

I wouldn't say I'm worried about it -- as I say, its not like her comments were directed at me specifically. What I am worried about is the millions of women out there who are working hard at low wages and trying to balance daycare and work and family and finances -- the women who really need workplace flexibility. I hope their voice was represented but I fear they were not.