It's 2:17 in the morning and I'm waiting for my husband to come back from the emergency room. We noticed about an hour ago that my 4 year old daughter had an elevated heart rate and some problems breathing. We didn't want to take any chances, so my husband took her to the ER as I stayed behind with my other daughter.
I feel incredibly guilty because earlier today, she stayed home from school. She woke up with a cold and instead of staying home with her, I called my dad to watch her.
NOTE: I started writing the above last week right before the 4th of July weekend. My daughter is home and fine now, but I had some time to reflect and want to finish my thoughts on this.
Why did I do that? Why didn't I just stay home with her. Why do I sometimes view my children as obstacles in my real life in oppose to embracing them as my real life?
It's because the software industry as a whole has brainwashed people into thinking work and career is more important than family. It's a subtle (and sometimes not so subtle) type of conditioning. It's an industry where working 40 hours a week is putting in the bare minimum and employees frequently get accolades for working long hours, nights and weekends. I know, I used to be that type of employee. I loved burning the midnight oil and doing whatever it took to get things done. I loved when coworkers and bosses said they could always count on me.
Now it's time for my children to count on me.
That doesn't mean my job has to suffer.
Motherhood has forced me to think about how I fit into the modern tech culture. It also taught me to work smarter not harder. I am actually a better employee now than I ever was in the past. I am much more efficient and patient with my tasks. I also have a much more focused strategy on learning new technologies.
My three take-aways from this:
I don't have to choose between my children and my career.
Being a mom is not a career killer.
And the next time my kid is sick. I'm taking time off to take care of her.