I Played Hooky Today-and It Was Ok

Today’s blog post represents a new beginning for Mommy, ESQ.
In an effort to give you different perspectives from working moms across all sorts of professions, we’ve been recruiting working moms to write for us from all walks of life.

Today, we bring you a post from our newest Mommy, ESQ. blogger, Mary Caligiure. Mary is a working mom to an amazing eight month-old baby, Amadeo. She’s also a Licensed Creative Arts Therapist. I have known Mary for many years now, and she’s incredibly giving, smart and hard-working. She’s a great addition to our team. 

Mary, on behalf of Mommy, ESQ., we’re so happy to have you writing for us!

“I’m sorry. I’m not feeling well. I’m going to have to take a sick day.” This was the monumental decision that I made at 6:00 AM this morning. I decided to play hooky from work. Some may call it a personal day. Some may call it a mental health day. Whatever the name, I did it.

This decision was not come by easily. I work in an extremely demanding field (who doesn’t?!) where decisions that I make on a daily basis could affect the safety and well-being of a child-of many children. I find myself, in this position, worrying constantly whether the decisions that I make could result in a child being severely neglected or abused. No pressure. In reality, am I fully responsible? Of course not. But the truth is I care very passionately about my work and the children who I oversee and could not live with myself if something happened on my watch. So, I feel responsible.

Usually my job permits me to leave at an hour where I can get home in time to spend at least 30 minutes with my baby before he starts to melt down and needs to be put to bed for the night. Although slim, I cherish those 30 minutes that I get. Over the last few weeks, though, I was required to work late nights, resulting in my only seeing my 8 month year old son for a brief amount of time in the morning as I was rushing to get ready for work and for a brief moment in the middle of the night when he needed his dream feeding. I missed him. I missed snuggling him and smelling his head. I would ask my wife, who I am lucky enough to have as a stay-at-home mom, if she would send me pictures and videos throughout the day, just to briefly squelch those urges to leave work and rush home prematurely. Those “fixes” were only momentary, however, and finally, last night, I rushed through the door to try to catch my son for five minutes before he had to go to bed, and burst into tears. I hated not seeing him and having my, albeit small, quality time with him when I came home from work. Something had to give. In that moment, I informed my wife that I was quitting my job and we would have to find a way to live off the land. Perhaps I watch too much Alaskan Bush People-but I digress.

We, as mothers, feel that no one can care for our child as well as we can. So we like to take on more responsibility in caring for our child without asking for help-even at the expense of our own emotional and physical well-being. At my job, I feel the same. I feel like if I’m not at work, concerns will go unaddressed, things will not happen as they should, and the entire agency will fall apart. Am I a narcissist? I don’t consider myself one. I just feel responsible.

But something amazing happened today. I “called out sick.” I decided to take the time I so desperately needed to play with my baby, feed him, sniff his head, and kiss his cheeks about 1000 times (you would too. They really are bitable cheeks!). I allowed myself one day to not feel guilty for not going to work and for fibbing about my illness. I allowed myself the freedom to fully and whole-heartedly enjoy my mid-week day off with my wife and my baby. The most amazing part-nothing catastrophic happened at work. (I may have spoken to my boss at the end of the day just to check in). My staff continued to do what they always do. My clients continued to do what they always do. It was ok. Will I have to work a little bit harder tomorrow to catch up on what I missed today? Sure. But I will be able to go into work tomorrow with more focus, more energy, and more motivation than I was two days ago. I will be able to

go in to the office with the memories I created today with my baby, such as watching him giggle as my two dogs chased a ball in the back yard or watching him pull every book off of the book shelf as he explored each one with his little hands. I feel rejuvenated and, chances are that I will be even more productive tomorrow than I would have been in the two days combined had I not taken today off.

From this day off, I learned the importance of listening to my instincts. I learned the importance of taking time to stop, breathe, and focus on what’s really important. I learned that taking a day to spend quality time with my family is not something to feel guilty about and the world won’t come to a screeching halt if I need to take a day away from work. Is this something I will do all the time? No. I need a job and I understand the value of being able to provide for my family financially. But I also now know that periodically, I can play hooky-and it’s ok.

Chris Phone2Mary Caligiure is first and foremost a new mother to an amazing baby boy who is the light of her life. She and her wife enjoy spending time watching this little man as he begins to navigate and master this world trough play and exploration. Mary is also a Licensed Creative Arts Therapist and has been working in the mental health and child welfare field for the past nine years. She currently works in a supervisory position within the child welfare field with families who are struggling with mental health, substance abuse, domestic violence, terminal illness, developmental delays, gang involvement, and various other psychosocial issues. To decompress, she loves spending time with her family, kissing her baby’s cheeks, sewing, reading, and working on various DIY Projects.