Taking Your Lumps


Another fine guest post from our reader Sydney. We might have to make this a regular thing.  😉 – Susan

This morning kicked me in the teeth. I can pick up the phone and call my mother if I feel a need to complain about it, though.

The truth is, I’ve been asking for it. I have to fight myself to stop from fighting systems. I can’t help it. I am willing to make life harder for myself and those who stand with me in order to do what is right.

I think we’re all here at WMAG because we’re fighting the same system. We’re fighting against mom guilt. We’re fighting against negative perceptions of mothers in the workplace. We’re fighting for our right to be more than “mom.” We’re fighting to be called by our names, recognized for who we are and what we’re good at. Being a mother is at the core of who I am. It’s like the floor in my house. Everything else is built on that. I am a fantastic mom. However, if that’s all you see of me, if that’s all I see of me, then we are both really missing out. There is so much more.

So it’s spring forward Monday. So I was 10 minutes late this morning. So last week my kid threw up and had diarrhea ALL WEEK and the doctor couldn’t do anything for her but prescribe OTC probiotics, and I missed days and mornings and afternoons. So I come in this morning, and apparently I’ve taken too many sick days so far this year and I have to use vacation days for last week and sign a piece of paper. So I know this is a political move on the part of HR to block the promotion my boss has been asking them about for me. So I grab a moment and a handful of tissues and I give myself 5 minutes to let the intense level of horomones dribble out of my eyes. Then I mop up and wash my face. So. What.

I can’t cry at work without remembering Tom Hanks in A League of Their Own, screaming “There’s no crying in baseball!!”

Without fail, that line makes me smile. I can grab onto that. It makes me remember, I’m going to take some lumps sometimes. I look in the mirror and remind myself that these people have to stoop to arguing over sick days because they can’t get any real purchase on me. I’m here at work because I love what I do, because it’s a part of who I am and I refuse to ignore myself.

Here I am, where I want to be, doing what I want to do. Sure, they can withhold the title and the money for a little while. They make a mistake if they think they will have the last word on this, though. Eventually, someone is going to pay me for the value I add, and they aren’t going to squabble with me about sick days when I deserve a promotion. They can’t insult the work I do. They can’t touch the teamwork I’ve helped build. I’m not going to fight about petty things now or in the future. I’ve already won. I’m going to keep on living well and doing good work.

Sydney works as a development engineer in the middle of southern nowhere. She lives and works with her best friend of six years– an amazing man who is helping her raise their 2-year-old daughter and pursue their careers. She is expecting her second child in September.

2 thoughts on “Taking Your Lumps

  1. Jennifer Gassert Keith says:

    I can totally relate to this! I started a new job about 6 weeks ago (after over 8.5 years at my previous job)… And the 3rd week, my daughter caught strep and two days later my son came down with a tummy bug that sounds similar to what you describe. My husband is a full-time student, and so he was able to help shoulder some of the load, but realistically, it is a bit worse for him to skip classes than for me to have to work around at work… eventually I had to have him miss some because I had meetings I just couldn't miss, but it was really frustrating having to take time off that I hadn't even accrued yet… I almost felt like it was a mistake changing jobs just because it wouldn't have mattered as much at my previous job (and a year from now it won't matter as much at my new job, it was just timing)… (I don't regret the job change though 😉 ).

    1. I feel you. I have called in more at my current job than any other. Sadie has had 2 ear infections and an upper respiratory infection. Brad had spinal surgery and I have had illness with fever twice. Most recently, I had food poisening all last weekend. I call my mom and my MIL all of the time.

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