Our annual Thanksgiving in Florida starts tomorrow and I could not be more ready. This pregnancy has been hard on me and I am ready for a week of lying around, sleeping in, and eating food that I didn’t prepare. I am ready for a week with John and Beatrice, both of whom I see far less than I should.
When I was pregnant with Beatrice it was hard. I was working full time and taking classes and was nauseous every second of the first trimester. I eventually started taking magical Zofran to take the edge off the nausea so I could get some fluids and nutrients in me. Being pregnant sucked, but I was able to sneak home between work and school and take naps and weekends were spent doing absolutely nothing.
This pregnancy is a whole new ballgame. I was SURE that I was going to be able to keep the nausea at bay since I was experienced this time. Nope – it hit me even worse than with Beatrice. I spent my first trimester waking up in the middle of the night in misery and staying awake for hours at a time, even throwing up in the kitchen sink so I wouldn’t wake up Beatrice. Zofran helped, but even if I took it before bed, it would wear off at some point in the middle of the night, leaving me awake and sick. Now that we’re in the second trimester the nausea is FINALLY gone, but the sleepless nights continue and I find myself awake almost every time 4am rolls around. This pregnancy insomnia crap is ridiculous.
You know what doesn’t happen when you have a toddler and a husband who works in the evenings? Naps. Or the ability to just lie around for that matter.
Workdays are exhausting and chaotic. In comparison, my days off are amazing – even if I spent half the night awake. I can nap when Beatrice does and can spread the household tasks out over the day instead of cramming them into a few hours at night. My days off make me extremely angry toward stay-at-home-moms who try to sympathize with me by saying that they’ve been through the nausea and the sleeplessness and understand. YOU DO NOT UNDERSTAND. I get that staying home with the kids and managing a household is a job, but newsflash – I do that job AND work full time at my real job too. I hate you.
So much anger. My fuse gets really short when there’s a bun in my oven. If you haven’t ever been in my shoes (toddler + sick + job), you should think twice about trying to tell me that you know how I feel. In fact, you should probably just stay away from me until I get a week of 8 hour sleeps in… so in 10 years. If you have been in my shoes however, I will gladly invite you to the very exclusive, members only, perils-of-parenthood snark party. We meet on the weekends, unlike other mom groups who meet on Tuesday mornings, because we have jobs. Don’t worry about showering beforehand – the rest of us haven’t showered in days and have been No-Shave-Novembering since August. And believe me, we won’t judge you if you bring a bag full of Arby’s to our meetings instead of some magical pinterest snack creation.
Actually, this little club sounds amazing. Who wants in?
I hear a lot of complaints from stay-at-home moms. Their “job” is so hard, they miss adult interaction, and working mothers just can’t understand what it’s like to be trapped in a house with a kid all day every day.
I’ve gone to a 4-day work week in an effort to get some more time with Beatrice. Sure, those extra long days at work are rough - REALLY rough, but it’s worth it to have that day with my Beezer.
That one extra is like magic. Normally Beatrice and I are tired from our day at work/the babysitters, so in the evening the two of us are just surviving until bedtime. Weekends are spent in a flurry of going here and there running errands, and trying to clean and prepare food for the week. And since John works in the evenings and on weekends, I have Bebe in tow wherever I go.
Our new free day lets us enjoy each other. I can go to the grocery store without dealing with weekend crowds or Bebe’s evening madness. We can have play dates. We can wake up slowly and lounge around in our pj’s together. I can clean the house during her naps, and catch up on laundry. I can teach her games like patty-cake and help her feed her dolls. It’s amazing. I love these days with Beatrice.
I used to feel like I was a horrible mother because I felt like I had no patience with Beatrice. I used to feel like she was a hot mess of emotions and difficult to handle. Now I understand that it’s just the timing of our time together. I’m not impatient, I’m just tired after work and stressed out on the weekends. And Beatrice is sweet, funny and independent during the day. It isn’t until the evening that she becomes clingy and overly emotional.
I can’t imagine being a stay-at-home mom. I’d get to spend real time with my daughter, and would know exactly what she was learning and doing throughout the day. I wouldn’t have to spend my lunch breaks paying bills and running errands. I wouldn’t have to come home in the evenings to a weird-smelling house because of the dishes in the sink that have been sitting there for 2 days. Beatrice and I could go to play dates and swimming lessons. It’d be amazing.
And so, if you are a stay-at-home mom and you feel like complaining, do it to one of your other stay-at-home cronies, because believe me, working mothers think you are a huge jerk when you whine about your situation. And if it’s really that bad, go back to work - I’d like to see how long you’d last getting your kid out of bed before their ready, taking them to the babysitter, working a full day, picking your child up again, and then going home to make dinner AND lunch for the next day. Good luck. You’ll need it.
On Thursday our nanny was sick and so I found myself working from home. John was going to be gone from 8am until 10pm, and I was pretty nervous about spending so many hours alone with Beatrice. She can be exhausting and I’m not used to spending so much one-on-one time with her.
You know what? It worked for me. The working from home, the all day Beatrice marathon, it worked.
I woke up at 6 to get an early start on my work and expected Bebe to wake up within an hour. She slept until 9:30! Amazing!
She ate, played, harassed the dog, ate some more… and then took a 3 hour nap. WHAT?! Yeah, 3 hours. More amazement.
Then we played with legos in the yard, took a walk, made a cake, bought some flowers… all without a meltdown.
Combine her late wake-up and nap, with some serious dog harassment, and that little girl gave me a 3 solid periods of uninterrupted work time. She’s the best.
Everything went so well that after her bedtime bottle, she started whistling. Normally that would aggravate me, but after such a nice day I didn’t even care. I let her chase the dog around for another hour while I cleaned the house. Bedtime #2 was a breeze - no tears and no whistling.
To all of you stay-at-home moms who like to complain about how hard it is to take care of a kid all day and call it your “job”, I’d like to say suck it up you little wusses, you don’t know how good you have it.
Bebe has been on the verge of crawling for quite some time and she finally conquered it yesterday with John. I felt a twinge of sadness that I missed it – I mean come on, I spent the last 10 days with the girl and the FIRST moment she was away from me, she decided to go for it. However sad I felt though, I was excited for her that she finally figured it out, and let’s be serious, I knew that there was more of a chance that John or the nanny was going to catch this milestone before I would. Beatrice didn’t crawl for the rest of the night, so I kind of felt like it was a fluke and didn’t think anything else about it.
But then today I received a text from John containing a video of Beatrice crawling.
In front of his parents.
I know it’s stupid to be upset. I know it’s not a contest. I know I should be happy for them that they got to experience this on one of the few occasions that they’ve spent with her. But I still spent the rest of the day with a lump in my throat. I hear she had the best day with them - didn’t cry once and was full of movement and giggles. Tonight with me, she’s clingy and crying constantly as usual.
I’m really struggling with my situation these days. I love my job, have the best bosses ever, flexibility to make my own hours, and have had a series of downright lucky breaks that have brought me to where I am with my career today. I’m blessed to make enough money that Bebe can have the best childcare and John can pursue a PhD if he so decides. I feel like a jerk for complaining about working when there are so many people out there who don’t have jobs.
BUT, it is hard to watch everyone else catch Bebe’s milestones before I do. It’s hard to be too exhausted to want to play with her and to consider just sitting her in front of the tv every night. It’s hard to only see my husband in passing as a result of our opposite schedules. And it’s hard to know that she’s happy and chipper with everyone but me. I feel like her moods probably stem from the fact that I am her food source, but even that little bit of justification doesn’t make me feel much better.
I need to count my blessings.
I need to remember that the job I have today will benefit my little family in the future.
I just wish that I didn’t feel like my job away from home was causing me to be a mediocre mom who was missing out on my only daughter’s only childhood.
I sometimes feel like I would suck at it. Bad. I have no patience, I can’t handle making stuffed bunnies talk all day, and CAN I SERIOUSLY NOT EVEN GO TO THE BATHROOM WITHOUT YOU COMING WITH ME???
But after straight up losing my mind at 5:30 this morning after Beatrice’s 4789382 wake-up of the night I had an ah-ha moment - maybe I suck at being a mom BECAUSE I work! Because you know, there is no napping-when-she-naps when I’m in an office getting paid specifically not to nap. And the only time I have to clean the house or make dinner is when there is a wild child trying to break her face open with her acrobatics. I’m under-slept and over-stressed, with a chaotic house and a daughter who clings to me during the few hours we spend together each day, so of course I suck at motherhood.
And then again, maybe I would still be lacking patience with my bathroom companion even as a stay-at-home mom.
For sanity’s sake, we’re going to go with this mornings epiphany and blame my early-morning guilt on my job.
On Friday, our normal sitter was unable to watch Beatrice, so I stayed home with her. I woke up bright and early to get some work done before she woke, and continued to work on projects throughout the day, between feedings and play times. In the afternoon we went on a little expedition and she was in good spirits all day long. My Saturdays are normally spent playing catch-up, and on Sunday’s I prepare for the week, and it was crazy how much of a difference having that one extra day with Bebe felt. There is nothing like seeing her smiling face in real life during the day instead of via text messages, and listening her say mamamamamammaaammmmamamama over and over again. Oh, if only I could go to a 4 day work week… or always work from home on Fridays… in a perfect world…
Bebe is in the other room, freaking out. She’s been a bit, err, crazy ever since I got home, and once it peaked, I couldn’t handle her anymore and had to declare a time out - a time out for both of us. Now I’m standing in the kitchen - the room farthest away (aka 10 steps) from our bedroom where she’s crying, trying to ignore her and center myself. It’d be nice if she took this time to calm down instead of working herself in a frenzy, but hopefully this frenzy wears her out enough that I can put her to sleep with minimal effort. Bad mom alert.
While we’re confessing (self-pitying?), how about another secret? Sometimes I feel resentful toward the nanny and John, who get to experience Beatrice during her happy time of the day, and then leave when her evening fusses set in. I know she gets worked up with them too, but they get a balance of the good and bad. I don’t get to see B’s smiling face and playful squeals in the morning, I see her frustration and tears at night. Don’t get me wrong - if she’s going to cry, I want her to cry with me, but it’s just. not. fair.
My cousin posted something on facebook about missing her son all day, and then feeling guilty about coming home late and hoping that he’s asleep so that she can get some rest. I understand. I want to cuddle my girl for hours on end. I also want some rest and I want to clean up the monstrosity that has become my house. I want to answer emails, send out christmas cards, write blog posts… but in order to do those things I have to sacrifice the few precious hours I have with my little girl each day.
Being a working mom is no joke.
Ok, I feel better for getting that off my chest. Or maybe I feel better because Beatrice is suddenly fast asleep on my bed and I finally have a moment to myself. All I want for christmas is the ability to work part time. I can’t even imagine how amazing that would be…
Side Note: we hired Indy Green Queen to clean our house each month. She starts tomorrow and this is taking a huge amount of pressure off of John and I. We figure that since both of us are working parents, then certainly we deserve - and can afford - to have someone help us clean our house. As a bonus, she uses all green products - which is awesome since Bebe is borderline crawling and tends to lick everything in sight, floors included. If you live in the Indianapolis area, you should definitely hire her! She also has a blog that has all sorts of green cleaning tips, including ones about cloth diapers and other baby laundry!
These days I feel like if I blink I’m going to miss some monumental change in Beatrice. One day she can wear a dirty diaper all day and not make a fuss, the next day she discovers the difference between wet and dry wants the wet one off NOW. She’s more chatty and smiley today than yesterday, and tomorrow I’ll be amazed at her progress once again.
Progress isn’t always for the best though - this afternoon our normally good traveler decided that three hours in the car seat was 45 minutes too long and yelled the rest of the time. I hope this isn’t going to be a normal thing.
She changed quickly during her first 6 weeks with us, but these last seven weeks have been crazy. It really sucks that in the US parents have to go back to work just when things are getting really exciting and their baby isn’t just a eating/sleeping machine… and it really REALLY sucks when you’re the mom and you haven’t experienced your daughter’s belly laugh yet because you’re at work in the morning when she’s the happiest. Sigh.