Some days just don’t look the way you expect them to.

Take today. Instead of going to the Monday Drop-In I’m at home. This, after Cate sort of lost (read: threw-up) the bowl of oatmeal she’d just had for breakfast. I knew immediately that she couldn’t go to school. I also knew that I really needed to go to work. I found myself smack in the middle of the incredible challenge it is to be a working mother.

This challenge is complex. My own journey has been a gradual one. I stayed home with Cate until she was in school, at which time I started working very part-time. Over the years I have watched Cate’s own readiness for independence grow and have generally kept my work life in step with that. I do not take for granted that this cannot be everyone’s experience. I also understand that it is not what everyone would choose. For me it fit.

Now I work at PNC full-time and days like today happen. I have a husband who works too and so together we have to figure it out. One amazing thing is that the culture being cultivated at PNC is one where the work is shared. I absolutely know that while I will be missed, the drop-in will happen. It will be a lot of work, yes. I am grateful to the many who are taking on my part of the load. From what I can tell, we all believe it is work that is so worth it and deeply good, which is exactly the way I also view the work I stayed home to do- the work of mothering.

I know that when Cate heard me say, “you are staying home with me” there was a huge sense of relief on her little face. I also know that when I’m back at PNC, everyone will be asking about how she is. Knowing all of this makes the challenge much easier. It reminds me that struggling with balancing things is important, to take it all one step at a time and that bowls of oatmeal can teach very fine lessons.