Charlie has reached that magical age of massive separation anxiety with a dose of stranger danger. He loves being held by his dad, as long as he can still see me. These last few weeks, I’ve done a fair amount of toothbrushing with him in my arms, and haven’t really flossed, as that requires using both hands at once. Especially after a weekend, it’s challenging for both of us when I walk out the door to go to work. Probably harder on me than it is for him. For me, though, it’s the right thing to do, because:
- I like working, like as a concept.
- Though I like staying home in my pajamas too, if I don’t have somewhere I’ve got to be on the regular, all the days melt together and the pajamas lose their splendor.
- I want to be good at what I do, and if I’m spending most of my time away from my infant, that time needs to count. So my time at work is generally some combination of productive/meaningful/fulfilling/blah blah blah.
- I want to set a good example for Charlie, so that he knows grows up knowing that work ought to be meaningful, and that women are of value in the workforce. (Hopefully, by the time he’s an adult, no one will question this. Meanwhile, 77 cents on the dollar.)
- Shakespeare got to get paid, son.
For reals. I can make this about my choice to be a working mother and the joy and beauty and yin and yang of all of it, but at the end of the day, the joy of work is probably a thing I manufacture to dress up the necessity of getting paid.
Paychecks are so good. They help me afford to do things like eat sandwiches and raise a child. The other morning I gave Charlie a pep talk on my way out the door. He was very sad I was going, but I told him about all the electricity and doctor’s appointments and baby gear we were going to buy with my paycheck, and he came to terms with my departure and wished me well as I left. Haha, just kidding, he was still mad as fuck. But until someone promotes Andy to Vice Robber Baron, it’s got to be a two-income marriage. Charlie’s going to have to come to terms with it or figure out how to monetize his soiled diapers.