One night recently I got an unexpected glimpse of how my children see me. I noticed new pictures on my phone, and vaguely recalled that one of my 5-year-old twins had been playing with my phone while I was working on a local news article and attempting to feed the baby.
I had been deep into fact-checking federal housing guidelines and scouring pages of city zoning code, trying to meet a deadline that I had already pushed back twice. I had also been deep into my feelings of guilt as I once again tried to placate my four children with electronics so that I could work. As I once again fed them frozen foods, heated on a cookie sheet for dinner rather than a nutritious meal.
The scene my son captured shows me balancing a bottle with one hand and a laptop with the other, instead of looking my baby in the eyes and bonding through her feeding.
What made him pause his constant movement and silliness to freeze-frame that moment of our life?
“I liked that you were working at home instead of having to go to the coffee shop for some peace and quiet,” he said. “So that meant I was being good! I like when you are here. I don’t like when you leave me.” I felt the guilt knock the wind out of me. My child thought my leaving to work was a consequence of his behavior. He thought that I left when my kids didn’t meet my expectations. What a lot of weight for a small child to carry. I vowed to rephrase the way I spoke about going to work. More about me, less about them.
Then, he kept going: “But I like that you tell stories for the newspaper. Your stories are about love and people. People who need help.” He saw the heart of what my passion is, too, then. Yes, sometimes I write silly parenting stories or odes to naptime, but the heart of my work is stories that expose injustice or highlight the beauty of humanity and the need for compassion. I have to believe that this passion will have a positive effect on my children, in some way.
When I looked at the image through this vantage point, I didn’t see only my missteps, my guilt, my inadequacies. I saw strength, as well. I saw a woman — myself — who was failing just a little at all the things that matter to her, but was still doing all the things that mattered to her. I wasn’t choosing either/or. I was choosing all of it, in whatever haphazard manner I could hold onto it.
In one of my earliest memories, my mother is taking a work call, juggling the phone, a legal pad and a box of Cheerios she was doling out to keep my infant twin brothers quiet in their high chairs. The physical balancing act was apparent, but it took me years to understand the emotional balancing act she was managing while working full-time throughout my childhood.
I was raised in a suburb of Pittsburgh in the 1980s where most of my friends’ moms stayed home. In my mom’s Stitch-and-Bitch sewing group, she was the only one who worked. We had a nanny.
My mother, a Realtor, out-earned my father as the real estate market began to boom in the early ’90s, and her salary fueled the comfortable upper middle class life that I was raised in. My image of my mother includes her walk-in closet full of pumps and power suits, and the scent of Calvin Klein Eternity with her kiss as she headed out to an evening meeting.
I was immensely proud of her. My brothers and I scampered around the edge of a new construction site — a farm razed for houses and strip malls, where our Super Wal-Mart now stands — as I watched her hold her own among a group of powerful wealthy men. My childhood wasn’t without disappointment over some events my mom missed, but for the most part she managed to be present at the things that mattered. I took it for granted that my mother could, and did, have it all.
Three decades later, I am a working mother of four children. Our oldest is in first grade, our twins in preschool, and our youngest was born last summer. Adding a newborn into the mix, shuffling night feedings with Lego club, homework and preschool art shows nearly broke me. I was editing articles all the time from my phone, shushing my kids to be quiet as I threw some distractions onto the high chair tray.
I asked my superhero working mom about how she had managed to do it all, 30 years ago.
Most days, she told me, she felt that achieving something for herself made her a better mother when she was home, but even years later she sometimes can’t shake the feelings of regret.
“I worried all the time,” she said. “Was it wrong to want a career with three young kids? What ‘firsts’ was I going to miss?”
A generation later, my fears are exactly the same. That my kids will be in therapy one day talking about how they saw too much of the back of their mom’s phone as she typed work emails. That it is impossible to ever be enough, for everyone, in every area.
My mom, now retired, is a daily presence in our life. Whether grabbing my big kids from school so I can work through the baby’s afternoon nap or showing up with dinner and matching all of my socks, she gets it. On a deep, visceral level, she gets me. She managed this balancing act for decades and assures me that it’s worth it. All of it: worth chasing my professional dreams while chasing my babies. Worth modeling for my two daughters what my mom modeled for me, that they can assert their place firmly in the world.
While I was surprised by the strength in the image my son captured of me, she wasn’t. For years she couldn’t see herself that way either, but she can see it in me.
Meg St-Esprit writes from her Pittsburgh home about parenting, education and community development and sometimes muses about the antics of her four children on Twitter.B:
三中三永不改料【各】【位】【读】【着】，【很】【抱】【歉】。【这】【两】【个】【月】【我】【的】【状】【态】【实】【在】【颓】【废】，【经】【常】【欠】【更】，【影】【响】【了】【大】【家】【的】【阅】【读】【体】【验】，【真】【的】【很】【抱】【歉】。【在】【这】【里】，【向】【大】【家】【说】【声】【对】【不】【起】。 【接】【下】【来】，【我】【打】【算】【用】【点】【时】【间】【来】【调】【整】【一】【下】【状】【态】，【所】【以】，【这】【本】【书】【就】【先】【暂】【时】【停】【更】【了】。【最】【多】【半】【个】【月】，【我】【还】【会】【再】【回】【来】【的】。 【谢】【谢】【大】【家】【的】【支】【持】【与】【关】【爱】，【谢】【谢】。
【第】【九】【百】【零】【四】【章】：【泰】【山】 【昆】【仑】，【是】【地】【球】【上】【最】【重】【要】【的】【一】【个】【宝】【地】，【在】【这】【中】【间】【几】【乎】【汇】【聚】【了】【天】【地】【之】【间】【所】【有】【的】【特】【殊】【地】【势】，【不】【过】【在】【地】【球】【之】【上】，【还】【是】【有】【一】【些】【特】【殊】【的】【地】【方】，【不】【如】【昆】【仑】，【缺】【不】【逊】【色】【多】【少】。 【而】【在】【地】【球】【之】【上】，【唯】【一】【一】【个】【勉】【强】【能】【够】【和】【昆】【仑】【相】【提】【并】【论】【的】，【就】【算】【是】【历】【代】【大】【帝】【在】【提】【到】【的】【时】【候】，【也】【会】【有】【一】【些】【忌】【惮】【和】【敬】【畏】【的】【东】【岳】——【泰】【山】。
【杨】【静】【从】【医】【院】【理】【疗】【完】【回】【到】【林】【杨】【和】【董】【笑】【瑶】【的】【家】【里】【已】【经】【十】【一】【点】。【林】【杨】【问】【杨】【静】【中】【午】【怎】【么】【吃】。 “【那】【个】【你】【不】【用】【好】【心】，【你】【爸】【管】。【林】【杨】，【过】【来】。”【杨】【静】【坐】【在】【沙】【发】【上】【冲】【林】【杨】【招】【手】。 【林】【杨】【磨】【蹭】【着】【不】【动】：“【有】【事】【说】【吧】。” 【他】【跟】【杨】【静】【的】【心】【病】【没】【那】【么】【容】【易】【消】【除】。【事】【实】【上】【他】【很】【想】【出】【去】，【不】【想】【跟】【杨】【静】【呆】【一】【一】【起】。 【杨】【静】【不】【满】【说】：“【我】【是】【你】【妈】
【完】【结】【感】【言】： 【停】【了】【很】【长】【时】【间】【没】【更】【新】，【现】【在】【上】【传】，【我】【非】【常】【愧】【疚】，【内】【心】【不】【安】【但】【我】【还】【是】【感】【谢】【你】【们】，【真】【心】【的】【感】【谢】，【无】【以】【言】【表】【的】【感】【谢】。 【这】【本】【书】【写】【了】【很】【长】【时】【间】，【两】【年】【之】【久】，【三】【百】【多】【万】【字】，【作】【为】【一】【个】【新】【手】【作】【者】，【这】【一】【点】【对】【我】【来】【说】【非】【常】【不】【容】【易】。 【我】【知】【道】【大】【结】【局】【太】【早】，【结】【束】【的】【有】【些】【仓】【促】，【很】【多】【东】【西】【都】【没】【去】【介】【绍】，【很】【多】
【乔】【厉】【琛】【摇】【头】：“【没】【事】！” 【他】【握】【了】【握】【拳】，【用】【手】【中】【的】【电】【筒】【照】【向】【洞】【壁】，【每】【一】【处】【都】【不】【愿】【放】【过】。 【哪】【怕】【上】【次】，【他】【已】【经】【和】【警】【察】【一】【起】【来】【过】，【一】【起】【仔】【仔】【细】【细】【地】【检】【查】【过】【这】【里】【的】【每】【一】【处】。 【林】【墨】【一】【声】【不】【吭】，【也】【在】【仔】【细】【地】【研】【究】【着】【这】【里】【的】【环】【境】，【想】【要】【知】【道】，【这】【些】【人】【为】【何】【要】【把】【乔】【厉】【琛】【关】【在】【这】【山】【洞】【中】？ 【他】【明】【明】【说】【外】【面】【有】【帐】【篷】，【是】【这】【些】【人】【生】【活】
- …… 【毕】【竟】，【也】【是】【高】【级】【生】【命】【体】，【具】【有】【思】【考】【和】【创】【造】【的】【能】【力】，【人】【类】【在】【这】【一】【方】【面】，【还】【是】【可】【以】【的】。 【而】……【要】【实】【现】【拯】【救】【人】【类】【于】【生】【死】【之】【际】【的】【这】【个】【人】，【现】【在】，【可】【就】【是】【洛】【言】【了】。 【虽】【然】【说】【洛】【言】“【不】【是】【人】”，【但】【是】，【他】【在】【某】【种】【生】【物】【学】【意】【义】【上】【来】【看】，【他】【的】【确】【算】【得】【上】【是】【再】【进】【化】【后】【的】【人】【类】，【可】【以】【称】【之】【为】【仙】，【也】【可】【以】【称】【之】【为】【超】【凡】【人】。