The author of this piece is known to Women’s Agenda but wishes to remain anonymous. She sent it to us late on Tuesday night, following a long day at work, which followed a very long weekend.
Today, after four glorious days at home with my baby I had to peel him off me and hand him over, screaming, to my husband who does drop off at childcare on a Tuesday.
The regular educators weren’t on so my husband had to hand my baby over to a stranger instead. The screams haunted him as he walked out the door. He sat on the steps outside the building and called me, upset.
I’d just arrived at work. I was late for the morning team meeting. That was unprofessional and I’m sorry.
I left the team meeting grumpy and spoke to one of you abruptly. Again, I’m sorry. My computer then didn’t turn on and I’ll just apologise now to how I spoke to the IT manager.
I then walked into the break out room to call childcare and put in a complaint about the staffing issue. I ignored multiple people in the break out room whilst I did this. I’m sorry. The director of the childcare centre was lovely, so of course I cried. Coffee helped.
I ploughed through the day, not even stopping for lunch. I was not sociable today. You see, I work part time so when you throw in a long weekend I don’t just lose a day, I lose hours upon hours of precious time when clients are available, when strategies can be approved, when work can actually be done without a baby needing my every ounce of attention.
I’m sorry for gritting my teeth as a full time worker complained about having to fit five days into four – “try five into two” I screamed inside my head.
I chose to go to the bathroom (alone!) instead of going on that walking meeting. Sorry (not sorry).
I forwent expressing breastmilk so that I could answer that client phone call. My breasts started feeling like wounded basketballs but I billed that client like you asked. And tonight, at the exec meeting, I’m sorry I slouched in my chair. No I’m not pregnant again, I’m just exhausted. Because while you slept the night before I breastfed and coslept and was up at 5am. Whilst you rested on the weekend I parented, with mastitis and a sick child. Nothing serious, just that relenting snotty feverish cold that seems to come back to visit every second week.
To the rest of you that stayed back for the exec meeting that went overtime, thanks. Thank you for holding the fort whilst I left to go see my baby, for the last hour that he is awake today. That physical aching and longing to see him got just too painful to bear after 5:30pm and when that clock struck 6:00pm I launched out of that meeting room, straight into a taxi because the thought of sitting on public transport whilst my baby’s precious minutes of the day counted down was too much to cope with.
I hope you finally nailed the right use of the word “ethical” in our marketing material. I hope you gave it its deserved airtime. I’m sorry I didn’t care any longer. My son’s face was popping into my consciousness and I could no longer push it away.
Maybe tomorrow will be easier. Maybe tomorrow I’ll be sociable. Maybe tomorrow you’ll understand more. Maybe tomorrow I’ll say more “thank yous” and less “sorrys”.