Friday, April 25, 2008

Why I love my career

Or, what the government is actually doing right.

As you know, both girls are in a daycare center that is onsite at my big federal government office building. This means that we commute together, and I know they're near me in case anything happens. It also means I can see them during the day. With E, I have not taken advantage of this very much, because if she sees me, she thinks I'm here to take her home, no matter what time it is. Some parents of two-year-olds take a break from their desks to go read the class a story, and I don't ever do anything like that because it's very disconcerting to E when I show up in the middle of the day and then leave again. But if I'm ever at that end of the building in the middle of the day, I always walk over to the large hallway windows that overlook the playground, and watch her cavorting with her friends. I can often hear her laughter, even two floors up and through plate glass.

Even better, I can go nurse L if I don't have any meetings or other conflicts. I usually go twice a day, and she chomps on a bottle at the other two feeding times. 11am is my favorite, and I try very hard not to miss it. During this feeding all the babies are eating or just done eating, and the teachers turn off the lights and play a CD of lullabies, and it's such a soothing time.

Hush-a-bye, baby-bye
We are rocking, you and I

The full bellies, the darkness and the same music every day cue the babies to slumber and they fall asleep almost simultaneously with almost no crying. It's like watching a drug take over the room. I feed L until she falls asleep, and then I continue to rock her until she releases her clutch on my shirt and she smiles in her sleep. And she always smiles in her sleep, and it's a gorgeous smile. And then I put her down gently and return to my desk.

A lullaby, so you won't cry
Sleep, baby, sleep


(I know the lyrics are terrible. But they're soothing and familiar, and I would be happy to curl up in a mini-crib and take a two hour nap to them.)

My dad says things like "Honey, as a father, I'm happy for you. But as a taxpayer, I'm outraged." Yes, I go down to the daycare on government time. But I happen to work in a supportive department in a supportive agency, and I get to be both Mommy and SuperCareerWoman at the same time. I just read that American moms only make 73 cents to the dollar of men in the same jobs, and I don't have that problem. I also have read before that motherhood, it can be argued, actually makes women into better employees, for all their need to work efficiently and multi-task. I believe it.

How do I know? It's so warm outside that L has not been wearing underlayers to her outfits the past few days. As she fell asleep in my arms today, I spent about five minutes rubbing her sleeping baby belly, and then I returned to my desk. And everyone knows you can always work better if you've just gotten five minutes of sleeping baby belly rubs. Those five minutes are rose-colored glasses for your whole soul. Pin It