When Being a Professional Working Mom Sucks

In the midst of all the newborn craziness and my ambivalence about work right now comes an opportunity for a promotion. One of the manager positions is opening up in my organization, and my goal is to hold one of those positions. I'm at a point in my career here that I am qualified and would be short listed. On the flip side, there's a couple of golden boys around these parts who probably have a better shot at it than I do, and there are other more experienced players as well. From where I sit, my chances are pretty slim, but not crazy.

Horrible timing. I'm in a newborn-preschooler haze of less sleep, stress over on-going family issues, and trying to wrap up work for my upcoming leave. Not to mention, that my upcoming FMLA leave will not sit well with the selection committee (or the outgoing manager) and I'm not going to give that up. I'm not applying for the job.

Meanwhile, Golden Boy #1 has a wife who is due with baby in a couple of weeks who already quit her job to stay home full time. He doesn't have to worry about grocery shopping or cleaning or shuffling baby around town or when he gets to go to the gym. She's home full time and she will (presumably) be taking care of 100% of the household stuff. 

In contrast, I work full time, and I shoulder the lion's share of the household planning. As equal as S and I are, there's still an imbalance. I plan better and I'm more responsive to invitations, so naturally, I'm the social coordinator. I plan better, so naturally, I order groceries and figure out meal plans (Door to Door Organics and The Fresh 20 save me lots of time but I still have to do it). We share cooking for the most part, which works well when there is a recipe and the ingredients already there. We have a cleaning service, but they only come once a month. So at some point, we need to clean or it's just gross. Those chores we split, so that's nice. S takes care of bills and does the laundry 100% of the time. I love that! Child care-wise, it's split 50-50. We alternate putting X to bed (or attempting, ugh, 3 is special isn't it?). In the evening I do Baby Z's feedings and hold him a lot because I haven't seen him all day. (read, not much is getting done at night)

It seems equal when I write it out, but it doesn't feel equal. Probably because the planning I keep track of is constant. Delivery of milk, delivery of groceries (different companies because one company likes to deliver to us at 10am when we're gone and I'm afraid the milk will spoil). Shop for the groceries I can't get delivered if I need to. Figure out what has to be ordered for the meal plan that week, keep track of social engagements, make social engagements, RSVP to 3-yo bday parties, buy the household items, buy clothes (ok, fine that's the fun part), keep the dry-erase calendar up to date, plan, plan, plan.

So, with a newborn, a preschooler and feeling like I'm just barely keeping my head above water, even with S home full-time right now, I'm facing the stoppage of my career advancement.  I'm facing the real possibility that I can't continue working full-time, and that will adversely affect everything from day to day cash flow to my retirement date. In a couple years, X starts school and we can either become a household of stressed parents working full-time, shuttling kids to 2 different locations, and juggling a 6-hour school day with 9-hour work days, or one of us can take a hit. Or, we can both take a hit and reduce both of our days. I really don't feel like I need to work less days per week, just less hours per day. If S and I both worked 32 hours per week, we could shuffle the drop-off pick-up and still have time for things we need/want to do, like exercise. But, if S is going to reduce his hours, he can't chase a job that he's been after for several months. He has to stay where the work is good, but the company sucks. If I reduce my hours, I won't be able to advance, and while that's not a bad thing considering I'm a senior engineer, and many people hang out at this level until retirement, it's a stoppage of my trajectory that the men in my office don't have to face. 

Because I'm a mom and I can't do it all.