But there are also moments along the curve—these come later—when you realize that everything is pretty much OK, that you have managed to produce both a decent career and fairly well-adjusted children who miraculously don't hate you. Once I was driving in the car with my two sons, then aged ten and seven, and my younger guy was asking for the eightieth time that week why he was not permitted to do something that his older brother could do. "Because," I said, exasperated, "he's in fifth grade, and you're in third grade!" "Mom!" he said. "I’m in second grade!" This time when everybody laughed, I laughed too. Because I was far enough along on my curve that guilt had changed from the sharp thorn to a worn little nub that I could still feel but that no longer really hurt. I was finally evolved enough to know that just because I temporarily forgot what grade my son was in did not mean that I forgot his birth weight, the fact that he likes his pasta with meatballs and cheese but no sauce, or that Yes Man is his favorite movie. Or how much I love him.
This is an excerpt from Real Simple editor Kristin van Ogtrop's Just Let Me Lie Down: Necessary Terms for the Half-Insane Working Mom. For more entries crucial to the everyday working mom, you can pick up the book here.