Family Matters

Dilemmas of the “Haveitall” Mom: A young mother struggles with a new identity

January/February 2013

Three and a half years ago, the night before I went back to work as an English teacher after seven months of maternity leave, I registered the name “Haveitallmom” on Blogger. My idea was to share my own trials and successes as a working mother with others and maybe resuscitate the passion for writing that had wilted under the demands of a burgeoning teaching career.

During my pregnancy, my mother had been clear: “You won’t want to go back to work,” she said. “When you were born, I couldn’t imagine leaving you to go back to a job.”

But for me, staying home had been hard. I’d felt cocooned with my first child. At first, this seemed natural and protective, but as Teddy grew, I began to feel trapped, tucked into a space too small for me. The routine of changing diapers, feeding every few hours, and trying to “get something done” while my son napped left me exhausted and unsatisfied at the end of the day. I’d imagined myself reading, writing, and planning lessons in “free time” that never materialized. Lists of unaccomplished tasks swirled in my head as I tried to focus on my son.

I missed the interaction with other teachers, the liveliness of the hallways, the energy of my students, and the challenges of teaching. I reveled in the moments of play and laughter with Teddy, especially in the morning, when the light was new and the air was fresh. But by 4 p.m., I was restless. I’d try to corral him into some small space so that I could prepare dinner or fold…

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