The Worst Mother in the World

Allow me to introduce myself: I'm The Worst Mother in the World.

Now, before you start arguing that I am certainly not the worst mother in the world, that surely, other women with uncontrollable tempers and penchants for certain class A narcotics are much more likely to hold that title than I, let me explain that I am not really talking about the World, as in, the seven seas and seven continents, but that I am talking about my world, as in, of the four people living in my house, I am the mother, and therefore the only one capable of being the worst at it.

The reason why I am The Worst Mother in the World is, simply, because I work. Part-time. People often tell me how lucky I am to be able to work part-time, from home, no less - what a great balance I have, how wonderful it is to be able to be there for my kids but to also have something to do with myself, yada, yada, yada - but the truth is, working part time is the surest way to get yourself to Worst Mother in the World-dom, because you can not win. Ever.

Case in point: I'm a writer. I write from home, mostly when my four year old daughter is in pre-school, or at night, after she goes to bed. For the purposes of this story, my son, who is eighteen months and doesn't yet talk in full enough sentences to be able to break my heart into a million little pieces with one precocious observation, doesn't exist. Now, as far my daughter is concerned, because she doesn't ever see me work, I don't, in her mind, actually work. I drop her off at school every morning, I pick her up every afternoon, I take her to ballet classes, and I sit with her before dinner and do puzzles and art projects and teach her how to write the alphabet. As far as she knows, I have nothing else in my life aside from her. Of course, I've shown her my books, and I've explained to her that mommy is an author, but to her, working is something that daddy does. Working means picking up a briefcase, leaving for ten hours at a stretch, and getting home just in time to kiss her goodnight.

A few months ago, however, the curtain got pulled back on my little work charade. In a stroke of excellent fortune, one of my books became the basis for a television pilot, and suddenly, I was no longer in control of my work schedule. Suddenly, I was commuting for an hour to Burbank every afternoon for casting sessions, and my nanny was picking my daughter up from school. I was getting home at seven o'clock at night, and I found myself telling her that we would do puzzles and art projects on Saturday. I was sending her to ballet with my mother-in-law. Suddenly, I was Working.

My daughter took it well, or so I thought. I'd drop her off at school in the morning and remind her that Rosa would be picking her up that afternoon, and she'd nod and kiss me goodbye, already engrossed in whatever project the teachers had put out that day. And when I told her that granny was taking her to ballet, she'd say okay, and go back to watching The Doodlebops, or whatever else was on the Disney Channel.