The Squatter

Amongst other things, I’m a policy wonk. And yesterday afternoon, I managed to make a break-through on a policy I’ve been tasked with writing, which had been languishing on my to-do list for 4 months. This particular policy had been sitting very obtrusively in my mind – like a squatter, taking up unwelcome space. It was an unsightly, daily wafting an unpleasant cloud of odour, contaminating all the other things on my to-do list with guilt. Like all things I procrastinate on, it had the admirable effect of getting me to finish up all sorts of other, less important projects.

Yesterday afternoon, I evicted the squatter. I sat myself down, and I wrote. I ordered, I deleted, I rearranged, and I referenced. I was a Policy Warrior! I felt more energized and productive than I had in months. For an hour, at least. And then, I came crashing up against the Working Mom reality of having to leave at the end of the day in time to get to home for my next shift and much more important title of Mom.

I love my son, Heaven knows, I adore him more than a single human heart can encompass.

But I dreadfully resent the incessant pull of all the different barely-connected pieces of my life wanting more and more of me – and me wanting to give.

I’m a Mom to a beautiful, brilliant, astounding 26-month-old boy. And I’m a public servant, working full-time in Ottawa at a career that I’ve spent a decade building, and that I love. And I’m a student of public policy, studying part-time for a Master’s degree in public administration so that I can be better at that career, and maybe make a real contribution in my lifetime. And I’m an artist, but I don’t paint so often these days, because, well, when you’re a working Mom with a part-time degree on the side, pretty much everything that you ever thought made you you goes by the wayside – things like doing yoga regularly, and painting, and petting your cat, and quiet time alone, and maintaining any kind of mental or physical or emotional balance at all.

So, yesterday afternoon after working only a feverish 15 minutes late, I packed up to go home even though I was finally on a roll after a 4-month lull. “I’ll pick it up again tomorrow”, I told myself. Hah. The squatter took one look at my Warrior’s hasty retreat, and set up camp once again.

I’ve begun to hate the times of transition in my day – getting out the door in the morning, leaving my desk at the end of the day, even bedtime. They are all intrusions, telling me too loudly, too insistently, that there’s no more time. Move on. Next. And to hurry, because I’m late. I’m always late.

Why is it that Working Moms are always accused of not being committed enough? It’s the opposite.

At least my Warrior hasn’t left the battleground – it was a retreat, not a rout. Be warned, my Smelly Squatter, you will be vanquished. Eventually.

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1 comment so far

  1. moosilaneous on

    Oh my, good luck with that squatter!!
    On, warrior wonk!


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