Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Killing Me Softly

Yesterday little boy had his first day at daycare.  Actually, it was his first two hours.  I go back on contract on the 16th, so we're staggering the amount of time he spends in daycare every day to build up both our staminas of being away from each other.  In the past four and a half months, I have spent at the maximum four hours away from my fella.  Some of the reasoning behind that is that it's physical; I've got two ticking time bombs on the front of my chest and he's the only one who can diffuse them.  Most of the reasoning though, is that I just plain want to be around him.  I made him; I grew him in my body.  He's mine.  It seems unnatural to be away from him.

I've had days though, let me tell you.  I've had days in these past four months where I wished for stimulating adult conversation.  I've had days where I just wanted to blow my hair out, put on eyeliner and use that degree that I worked really hard to earn.  I've had too many days where sweats, t-shirts and ponytail holders where the only things I wore.  I've had days. 

Of course, those days I felt really guilty, after all, I made this guy and anxiously awaited him every second until he was born. And now I want to do what?  And honestly, I think if I were given the choice between going into work or staying at home with him, I would choose stay at home.  But how can I know? I don't have that choice.

High ho, high ho, it's off to work I go.

I've wrestled with this every day.  Does it make me a bad mom to work?  Am I shirking my responsibility? I am surrounded by working moms, most of whom did not get a long maternity leave like me.  They are all wonderful moms and their kids are perfectly fine and well-rounded. I also have a husband who says it makes me a better mom because I work, because in our specific situation, I have to work.  He's right; we have a nice life; we have nice things and we do nice things.  That monthly mani-pedi?  That bi-monthly trim? The monthly threading? Visiting family and friends that live out of state? A housekeeper? A brand spanking new car? Yeah, we can do all of that and it ain't no thang.  And I have to admit, we like all of it.

But we love our son more and I would freely trade it all to stay with him.  However, our quality of life and the amount of opportunities we could offer him would plummet significantly.  So there's the rub.  It's never going to be perfect, but I will always make sure my son is perfectly loved.  Everything I do, from breastfeeding to working, is because it's best for him. 

It is like slowly ripping my heart from my chest to bring my baby to daycare.  They all say it will get easier, but each day I wake up with a pit in my stomach.  Maybe it is already getting better though; I've been up for two and a half hours (back to 5am wakeup time, woo!) and I haven't cried once...and this is day two. 

I've also never had the pleasure of coming home to a precious baby.  They say those first cuddles and smiles after a long day at work will blow your face off.

And and and...I finally have an excuse to leave school right away.  You better believe when 3:30 hits I'll be out that door, keys in hand, making a conscious effort not to speed. 

Alright, I can do this.  I can be a working mom.  We'll be okay.


Tara said...

Hey Gin,
It's never easy going back to work. Did you read The Kissing Hand Yet? :)
There is absolutely nothing wrong with being a working mom - in fact, the Prov. 31 woman is obviously enterprising/working. I think one of the best things we can do as moms is self care which gets even harder after you go back to work. Make sure you still take a little time for you! And I love the pic of you & Topher by the window - so cute!

Jess and Matt said...

Those pictures are just precious. I love them. It is so hard to go back to work. I drug my feet for months and months, and by the time Beckham was 9 months old I HAD to go back. I have to work so we can make ends meet, but if I didn't, I definitely wouldn't. Being a mom is the most important job and I think that each situation is different and you get those answers for yourself. I am glad that you feel good about working and you know that it is what is best for you, Toph, and your family. I know things will get easier and better as time goes by. For me, it does get easier, but is still hard and there are days I want to cry because I miss my little misters so much. Sorry I just rambled on and probably didn't make much sense. I can relate to what you said, and I wish the best for all of you as you transition.

gin said...

Tara, I went to Amazon to buy The Kissing Hand and read the synopsis, started crying and thought it would be best to wait to read it aloud to Toph. Hello ugly cry. :)
Thanks so much for the scripture reference, I have been looking for scripture to guide me but was getting discouraged.

Jess, I didn't know you had gone back to work! Thank you for all the kind words...everyone's situation is different and sometimes what's best isn't what we want to do, but what we need to do and in our case, it's going to work. I am glad I'm not the only one who feels this way.

Anonymous said...

My best friend went through the same thing. She still calls me some mornings, just to shed a couple tears. It's always when her little girl won't let go of her hand, or rather recently, when she had to switch daycares. As long as you have a girlfriend to call, when the urge to shed some tears hits, you'll be good. She calls upset and 3 minutes later, she's fine. ;) The morning calls have become much less frequent! Good luck!

jss said...

I was laid off shortly after informing my boss I was pregnant (convenient timing, no?) and so I had 6 months of sitting on the couch and growing my little guy and now an endless maternity leave stretching out before me. While I do a little bit of freelance work, and am able to collect unemployment, my husband still wants me to get back into a 9-5 job and pursue a career. It absolutely breaks my heart to think of sticking the little dude in daycare, though, while I toil away at a job I don't care about and where my paycheck will go simply to pay for that daycare.

But ultimately, a mom's gotta do what a mom's gotta do. If going back to the office will give my baby a better life, then I'll do it. If going back to waiting tables so that I can have my days with him and still pay the bills is the best solution, then I'll do it. That's what we do. We're moms.

Going back to work will be tough, but it's totally what's best for your baby. And ultimately, it'll probably be what's best for you. I'm sure it won't be long until you REALLY appreciate that adult interaction during the day :)

gin said...

Thanks Jess!
It's already getting easier, to the point where I don't whine constantly to my husband and obsessively create spreadsheets outlining just how we can afford one salary (there's not a spreadsheet in the world that can help me).
I am now officially a follower of your blog...it's one of my faves!

CarlaGardinerOnline said...


Oh how your pictures and post brought back memories.

I'm now a grandma and watching my daughter stay at home with her three children, with another on the way.

I felt different with both of my children. My first, my daughter, I couldn't wait to get back to work, to like you say, adult conversation. I found an awesome sitter, a newly wed couple, he worked nights. They were perfect for each other, they treated my baby like their own. I went to their house for lunch to breast feed and daddy picked her up after work.

Our son was a different story.Somehow in that 3 year span I grew up or something. I didn't want to go back to work, I wanted to stay home with my kids.

The one bit of advice I can give you is this. When you are at work, be there 100%. When you are home with your little one and family, be there 100%.

We never went out to dinner on Friday nights without our kids. We occasionally went out together alone, but rarely was it regular. We felt like even though we had to work, we did have the kids and wanted to be with them as much as possible.

Now, back to my daughter. Watching her I sometimes feel like I failed my kids. She is way more involved, way more into working with them on projects, she home schools them and never complains.

We had a chance to talk one time and I shared my thoughts with her. She said, "Mom, you were the best. We always knew you supported us, you were with us and involved way more than other parents who didn't work".

So, I think it boils down to your attitude. Your kids know you love them. Just enjoy being the best mommy you can be.

Carla J Gardiner

nirra said...

Hi Gin! I'm stopping by from twitter moms! I completely understand how you feel! I had a nice long maternity leave- a whole nine weeks off because my when my leave time ended the christmas holidays started. I had my first child last year in Nov. You are stronger than I- I cried the first day at work. I had to go in my class room a little early because I needed to cry it out before I saw my students for the first time. It does get easier! Although I'm not really looking forward to leaving my little guy in a couple of days. Also are you going to continue breastfeeding? I have been pumping for just about all of my little guys life. I have to give him one bottle of formula a day and the rest is breastmilk. Sorry for the ramble!

Crystal said...

Hey, found you on Twittermoms. Leaving a baby at daycare is sort of like handing someone your kidney or liver and saying, "here, make sure it's well taken care of." THen the guilt, the sadness, ugh. I used to sry my eyes out between meetings and claim allergies. It DOES get better--but it's so hard.

And then, he'll be 2 and you'll be begging people to take him.