Here I am, sitting at a computer in Upstate, NY. I’m in my paramedic uniform, ready to go at a moment’s notice, and even though I only have 1.75 hours left until my shift is over, I know that if needed, I will stay indefinitely. I enjoy working. I am thankful that I am able to provide for my family. I am glad for my job.
…but I miss my babies. I’ll have been on duty for 33 hours if I get out on time today. This is the second time this week that I’ve worked overnight and thus not slept. I know that some people are already reading this and thinking about how ridiculous it is that I would work such long hours–but that’s how it is in EMS. We work long hours, may not eat for 12 hours straight, and sometimes we’re lucky to even go to the bathroom! I change my clothes before I go home because I’m concerned that I might have a disease stuck to me that I could pass on to my children. I worry about driving home when I’m tired. I push the guilt of being a working mommy down into the bottom of my belly where I don’t let it surface unless it can be countered by the realization that this won’t be forever. I think to myself, if only I could strap a car seat into an ambulance and take them with me! Because, you see, I like saving lives, but I love my children even more.
I am a mother before I’m anything else, and no one can take that away from me. No matter how tired I am, what kind of calls I’ve run, or how cold or hungry I might be from searching through a gorge for the last six hours in the snow…I get to go home to my babies at the end. Even if they’re exhausted, I’m exhausted, they’re acting up, I don’t have enough arms, and we’re all a mess, we’re together when I’m home. And that’s what matters.
Someone once told me that it’d be easier going to work after I had more than one child, because then I’d want to leave…and, let me tell you, it hasn’t become easier. Once the first one stops clinging to you and begging you to not go to work, the second one starts. Once the first one is happy to be independent, she still will say things like “Mommy, can you just disobey God and stay home with me and not work anymore?” when you pray with her before bed at night. Your younger one will still find your work boots and hide them on you.
And secretly, you’re going to smile at these things. You’re going to hug your children tighter. Somehow, the preciousness of these moments will help balance out your tears because these moments whisper, I’m still the Mommy, and they know it, to the deepest parts of your heart.
I miss my babies, and I can’t wait to pick them up and kiss their faces, hear their songs, tell them stories about my day, and tuck them in at night. And tonight, I get to do that. <3
ParamedicMama lives in Upstate, NY with her husband and two beautiful children. She has her B.S. in Psychology and Therapeutic Recreation, and various certifications in everything from technical rope rescue to Music Together. Aside from being a Paramedic Mama, she is the author of http://LifeMoreSimply.blogspot.com and distributes natural weight loss and health products at http://BodyMoreSimply.itworks.net.