Career and Motherhood

Today my alarm did not go off. I was supposed to be at the store at noon, and I woke up at 12:30 and knew I could not get there until another 2 hours.

While getting dressed, my daughter woke up crying. She had been sick for the past few days with a slight fever due to an ear infection. My husband had been taking care of her these days that I have been working at the store. I had to return to the store because we need the extra cash.

Walking out the door, I here my daughter calling out to me in-between coughs from her room. I stopped, turned around and walked back to my daughter to carry her for a bit. I changed her diaper and rocked her for a few minutes before I started to cry. I didn’t want to go to the store to work today. I wanted to play with my daughter who was suddenly well and happy when I came to her. 

I called the store manager and explained to her that I wouldn’t be coming in today. She understood and gave me the day off.

Going back to the workplace after 15 months, I am going through a lot of emotions. I miss my daughter every second that I am away from her. She goes to daycare for a few hours per day, but it’s not the same when I feel like I am leaving her. Friday night, I came home at 8:30pm and she wasn’t in her usual friendly mood. I blamed myself for being away for so many hours. 

I am currently seeking a full-time job within my own career field, the education industry. It may not be long before I need to start working full-time. I think it’s important for a woman to be independent and work, especially if she has invested so much time in building a career. I also think it’s important for mothers to be mothers. Finding the perfect balance without shredding your emotions apart is an art. This balance depends on women’s ability to act in superhuman ways and do a juggling act in perfect harmony. 

Right now, I am typing this and watching my daughter chasing our cat. Earlier, she was dancing to the tune of Garfield. She also stole my cell phone and ran around the house pretending she was talking to someone on it. It was all hilarious. 

I am glad I stayed home and I thank God for the wisdom and strength to make that decision today. I know that I will not always be able to make this decision and I know there may be moments i will miss. There are many sacrifices that women have to make today in order to pursue careers, achieve independence and be good mothers. These sacrifices causes us to second guess ourselves, blame ourselves and peel at our psychological wellness. 

I pray for my daughter’s growth and that a smile will always be spread across her face. I pray that the bond that holds my husband and I together continues to strengthen. I pray that the efforts that my husband and I have put into our education and into building our careers will foster happiness and reward and never division. I pray that I find my balance and that I never forget that every moment is an important moment.

Two Women in my Family

My Grandmother and her sister. They were like la virgencita and la malinche. I know my analogy may not be completely accurate, but let me explain.

Two sisters.

The day my grandmother died, my dad reminded me that she was a “tough” woman. By tough, he meant that she had the reputation of a prude. She had only experienced two men in her life: her first husband and my grandfather who was her second and final husband. My father told me she had been a “tough lady” with a “tough character”. She was always “straight”. By tough and straight, he meant virgin-like. Or, the closest thing that a married lady can come to being a virgin.

When my grandmother was alive, I liked to make her feel embarrassed. So I would ask her about sex. It made my mom laugh a lot. Once, I asked my grandmother how many husband she had had. She said “two”. And I said, “so you slept with two men!? You indecent woman!” My mom and I started laughing because my grandmother would turn red. She was such a prude, I thought, and would laugh out-loud.

Her sister, however, was a different story. Her sister had been married 5 times and had always refused to wear white. She said white wedding dresses were for performers and she wasn’t an actress. She had had “many men,” and often bragged. When I was little, she would count her husband with her left hand and would announce the color of her wedding dresses for each ceremony: pink, red, teal, yellow, beige. In that order. When it was just my grandmother, her sister and I, they’d argue. My grandmother didn’t want her sister to “pollute” my ears, but I loved to listen because she was really funny and had many stories about things we never talked about at home. My grandmother’s sister never gave a damn and my grandmother was so shy.

My grandmother’s sister’s husbands all died. Except this last one who is a nice guy. She also lost her baby prematurely. She has worked hard all her life as a nurse. She would clean old men and women’s butts for a living and would never complain about it. When I was little, my aunt would make a lot of predictions, and I had thought she was a witch. She said she just felt things. I still think she knows a lot of things.

My grandmother was a devout Catholic–the virgencita-y-rosario kind. She always said I didn’t call her enough and when I did, she would say that she had just finished praying for me.

After my grandmother passed away, I began having so many questions about her life before she moved to the United States. About her first husband and why she divorced him. My father said she was a “tough lady,” so I know her first husband must have done something real bad. Once, she told me he drank too much (but I know there was more). My grandfather also drank too much, but he did it in secret and nobody ever knew until after his death. I began to understand why he often cried.

My grandmother’s sister is still alive. And she always visits us on Thanksgiving and Christmas and brings a giant bowl of black beans (when I was little, I had thought that same bowl was her cauldron, but it was only beans after all). I also wonder about all her husbands. And about how she felt after her baby died. I think she must have been a “tough lady” too.

My grandmother and her sister have secrets. Like all women do. My grandmother hid them behind piety and her sister behind impudence. Both were performances, I suppose. Yet, there is still so many scenes and dialogues left out…