15 August 2009

Saturday Mornings

I don't know who invented the concept of sleeping in on Saturday but he/she was a genius. That's how I love to spend my Saturday mornings: sleeping in until at least 8 a.m. Sleeping in on Saturday became a rare treasure a few years ago when I was working for a company that required travel (I worked a lot of weekends); since starting a new job, however, I have been able to resurrect sleeping in (although usually only until 7 a.m.) on most Saturdays.

There are those, especially those mothers, who do not get the option of sleeping in on Saturday. My sister-in-law has seven children (six of them are very active boys!) and is awake every morning by 5 a.m. *at the latest*, including on Saturday. By 6 a.m., the entire family will be dressed, fed (pancakes on Saturdays), and reading scriptures. Within an hour or so, they will be engaged in one of many activities for the day; most of these activities are "work projects"--i.e. helping someone move, paint, fix, lay sod, etc. I'm always amazed at how much they are able to accomplish in a Saturday.

Maybe there's something to this getting up early on Saturday business?

Sleeping in on Saturday has often been my "reward" for enduring an especially difficult work week. But in the future when I have children, the "work week" will not be Monday at 8 a.m. to Friday at 5 p.m.: it will last 24 hours a day, 7 days a week--no paid holidays, no sick leave...none of the benefits I now enjoy. And sleeping in on Saturday will become very rare indeed. Am I ready to commit to that--to give up my office, the paycheck, the professional recognition, the days off, etc?

A few years ago I would've answered with a resounding "NO!" and could've enumerated a long list of reasons why me having children was definitely NOT a good idea. However, "one thing led to another" (those of you who know Brian Regan's comedy will get the joke there), and I find myself contemplating what it would look and feel like if I were a mother. Imaging this once "impossible" scenario is still a bit surreal; sometimes I still wonder if me and motherhood would actually get along as I imagine in my head that we might. The reality of motherhood, especially for those moms who spent a significant amount of time working full-time prior to motherhood, is quite drastic. One of my best friends spent a lot of her maternity leave crying and feeling frustrated because she wasn't prepared for what it actually meant to take care of a baby (lack of sleep only exacerbated the situation).

Watching my friend cope with her stark new reality was instructive for me: I knew that I would likely react the same way because I've been working full-time as long as she has. I've been trying to apply these learnings to my own anticipated motherhood (no, I'm not pregnant; I'm just a planner and always think ahead). While I know that no one could ever prepare enough to become a mother, perhaps there are things that I could do to "ease" myself into it? I don't want to be changing *another* diaper and think about the opportunity cost of what I'm doing. And I don't want to think about the ROI on anything related to my child.

Can a business woman become a mother and not only be successful at it ("success" defined as not injuring the child due to the mother's ignorance) but *enjoy* it as well?

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