No judgment but some of us may have had some questionable dates in our 20’s that caused us to do the dreaded walk of shame. But now as a mother, this walk of shame is so much worse. I am talking about the yucky feeling that comes around 4:45 when you know you’ve promised to pick up your child, or perhaps you need to be at some sort of activity with your little one. I wish a there was a hole in my office like on the Jetsons where I could just jump through straight to the main lobby without having to see anyone as I leave. Leaving at 5pm is not a regular occurrence, although my husband would love it to be, but when I have to it tears me up inside.
In my office I have two options. One path leads me past my boss who I always pray is in a meeting and the other leads me down a row of childless colleagues who have no issue staying until who knows when. Either path makes me anxious. Even though my boss is very supportive, I wonder if he questions my leaving at 5pm. And then I worry that my colleagues are judging me.
I echo the sentiments of Ann-Marie Slaughter that as women we cannot have it all. I applaud Marissa Mayer for trying but I know what works for me. As I see it I have two options, I can disappoint my family or I can disappoint work. The work disappointment lasts only those few minutes when I feel bad for leaving. I believe disappointing my family lasts a lifetime. I don’t want to teach my children that mommy is not a person of her word. I want them to know that they can always count on me to do as I promised.
I try to alleviate any issues at work by coming earlier but no matter how early you come in, people only see that you leave on some days at 5pm.