Somewhere, something, somehow

15 Mar

Hi Sweetness,

I am writing to you from an unfamiliar, hazy place that they call “Working Motherhood.” I don’t know exactly how I got here, where I’m heading or how many hours of sleep I’ll get tonight but here I am.

I started work full-time in January while your daddy went down to part-time and will be going back to school this fall. As much as I feel like Future Ophelia would be interested in hearing the particulars of my day-to-day (ok maybe not) I just can’t go there. I feel as if I have been dragged through everyday, like those kids have wiped the floor with me. There’s a strange new pounding in my right ear, something heavy yet invisible sits on my chest and I haven’t pooped normally for months. You’re welcome for the TMI. I look at my face in the morning and I wonder who the hell I’m looking at. I’ve never looked so tired.

I don’t know what to say to you that is encouraging of someday being a working mother yourself. This feels like hell; the stress, of course, but seeing so little of you too. It feels so unfair to have this astounding and luminous little person in my life that I am only allowed to see for a few short hours at night and on weekends. I thought I’d feel fulfilled, connected to the world, excited for each new day but none of that seems to be true so far. I’ve never felt more isolated and unsure of my path.

The bright spot in all of this is that somehow you are thriving despite all of the tumultuous change in our lives. Your sunny disposition shines bright as ever. Remember those stones I told you that the midwife gave us when you were born? Joy. Serenity. Flexibility. Your blessings continue to follow you. You say the sweetest things I’ve ever heard. You like to add “little bit” to just about everything you say. For instance ” Daddy is a little bit funny” or “I’m a little bit tired”. You have definite opinions on the music we listen to saying to one song “I wuv it!” or another “I don’t like this song” and demanding I change the station. You still think farting is the funniest thing on the face of the earth. You are clearly a Watts. No doubt about things there. The way you say “Hi Mama” can bring me to tears even when I just hear it in my head.

I love you beyond measure, Ophelia. If this time is difficult you don’t show it at all. Thank you for making it easy to do the hardest things I’ve ever done. All I have to do is remind myself that I wake up everyday and go to work for you and suddenly there are no more questions. I just know that I have to strive to be the person my daughter already sees me as.

Love love love,



3 Responses to “Somewhere, something, somehow”

  1. olivia July 26, 2014 at 4:27 am #

    I know you write for your daughter and not necessarily other moms, but I needed this tonight. Your offbeat family post about wanting one kid came up on fb and in my mommy brain haze I reread it as new until I ended up reading a comment I wrote lol, which got me to revisit your blog. I’m a teacher and have been agonizing about going back to work part-time. This post hit home. Thank you for sharing.

    • jenniferwattsreggiardo July 27, 2014 at 4:01 pm #

      Olivia- If anyone besides Ophelia gets something from my blog that is a wonderful bonus 🙂

      Here’s the caveat to my experience as a working mother, specifically as a mother working as a teacher: I started with my very first class in the middle of the year, teaching in deep east Oakland in a very crime-ridden and violent area, with a class that arguably had unbalanced ratio of high-needs children (mostly behaviorally speaking) and very little admin support. AND I was finishing the final term of my credential. Needless to say, it was such a bad idea for me to take that job and it did very little for me and my family other than give us some extra money in the bank.

      I don’t know where or what you teach but it sounds like you at least have experience on your side. I wouldn’t want my own horrendous experience to dissuade you from going back to work if that’s something you want to do. Part-time sounds like a great option although with teaching it seems so easy to let a part-time occupation become a full-time preoccupation. But again, that’s just me as a newbie teacher speaking.

      I wish you all the best in finding something that works for you and your family. This motherhood thing isn’t easy but you’ll figure out whatever kind of balance works for you!

      • olivia July 27, 2014 at 4:48 pm #

        Don’t worry, coming across your entry just felt like an omen at the exact moment I needed one. My real decision involves an agonizing level of analysis 😉 It was just nice to relate. Your description of your first year is very familiar to me. I work for Aspire in Sacramento, but they also have schools in Oakland and focus on a similar population. Although I imagine Oakland to be more intense, I had many of the same challenges with my first class. I hope you are able to find a groove that works for you, (and recommend checking out Aspire’s website). As for me, I recognize that teaching even part-time will require sacrifices, including giving up the little time I have to write. It feels scary to not go back and I will miss my students, but I feel like I owe it to myself to be brave, even if I end up back in a classroom somewhere down the road. Now all I have to do is jump…

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