Thursday, February 13, 2014

Why Being a Working Mom Isn't for Me

When we first made the decision that I will stay home with Carter next school year, Ty suggested I write about why.  He wanted me to get down all those reasons and feelings so next year when I'm having a rough day and I'm missing my sweet kiddos and amazing co-workers and forgetting about how depressed I really was (it's the ex factor, after a while you only remember the good), I will have a reminder of what it was really like and how I really felt.  It's easiest to start with the beginning of a day working and go from there.

Mornings right now are hard and amazing mixed into one.  One thing that I have always despised doing is waking Carter up.  The boy needs his sleep and the last thing I want to do is interrupt that!  Every morning I get up at 6-6:15 am so I can get ready for work before Carter wakes up (usually between 6:45-7:00).  When Carter wakes up before 7:00 and I have extra time with him it is magical.  One of the best parts of my day is walking into his room in the morning to get him out of his crib.  I love seeing him smile and welcoming him with an excited "good morning"!  Some days (right now it's the norm) he sleeps in and I eventually have to go in and wake him up at 7:10.  That sucks for 2 reasons, 1. I hate waking him up and 2. We only have 30 minutes before we have to leave the house which means rushing around and no time to snuggle or play.  Those days I am forced to load the car, pack lunches, and set his clothes out while he eats breakfast rather than sit and interact with him.  I feel gyped to say the least and I long for the weekend when I can sit and talk with him while he eats breakfast, cuddle him in the chair, read books, and play with toys all before ever leaving the house.
Next comes the hardest part of my day, the daycare drop off.  I was told it would get easier and I can honestly say that it has not.  Every morning when I walk into his classroom I delay setting him down.  I want to breathe in his smell just a little bit longer.  I want to feel his weight pressed against my body.  I want to feel his head pressed against my lips.  Before even setting him down my chest begins to tighten and I start to feel the emptiness and sadness sinking in.  When I step out the door, I watch him through the window.  Typically he notices I'm there and either waves and smiles or reaches toward me and cries.  I have yet to decide which one breaks my heart more.  There are still days when I cry all the way to work.  Because I can't stand the thought of going 8 hours before seeing my boy again.  Because I know everything he will do while I'm gone.  Because the best parts of my day are seeing him standing in his crib in the morning and picking him up at daycare when I feel like the best parts of my day should be watching him learn, teaching him new things, and simply being there.

Picking Carter up at daycare is the weirdest thing.  The moment the bell rings and we dismiss our class, I no longer have my other babies and little loves to occupy my thoughts (although Carter is always in my thoughts no matter how busy my day is), I start feeling anxious.  All I can think about is being with my little man.  The drive to his daycare at the end of the day is the very worst part of my day.  I am so desperate to see him I can't get there fast enough.  Every stop sign, every red light causes me stress and anxiety.  I feel like I could cry when I get stuck behind a car driving under the speed limit.  There are days to relieve some of the stress I call my mom on the way to daycare to occupy my mind and keep me from losing my cool.  The moment I get to daycare and I have Carter in my arms I squeeze him against my chest and it's the first time since dropping him off that I feel whole again.  I can't even describe exactly what it feels like, but suddenly the emptiness I felt all day at work is gone.  It's crazy but every day I am shocked when I pick him up.  Even on days when I had a good day, an amazing day, or the best day ever at work I feel the same way.  I always think I'm decently happy and it's not until I pick Carter up and am truly 100% happy that I realize how incomplete I actually felt.

Then comes bedtime.  I'm always so exhausted between getting up early, working with 47 little kids all day, running, and giving Carter everything I've got left that when it's time for his bedtime routine my tank is empty.  I'm so tired I'm ready to put Carter down and relax.  I lay Carter down and then I get that same feeling I get when I drop him off at daycare.  Some nights I cry after I lay him down.  Other nights I watch on the monitor, hoping he will fuss so I can go back in.  Mostly I dread the following day, knowing I will wake up and have to drop him off at daycare all over again.
Showing our school pride.

I hate that being a working mom makes me so selfish with Carter.  My time with him is so minimal that I don't want to give up any of it.  When we have visitors on the weekend I force myself to allow them to hold and play with Carter.  Then I wake up Monday morning more depressed than usual because I feel like I didn't get to play with him very much and I have 5 whole days before I get a day home with him again.  It also keeps me from sharing Carter with Ty like I should.  It's not just that I want to cuddle and play with Carter, I want to do everything.  I want to feed him dinner.  I want to bathe him.  I want to change his diapers.  I want to get him dressed.  I don't want to miss a single moment.  Every once in a while I step back and realize how little I give Ty the opportunity to do.  I've been working on letting go of little things.  A bath here, a dinner there, a diaper change in the morning, a tooth brushing at night.  It's so important for Ty to have his time with Carter.  I know I will be so much better about it when I'm home, but I'm still working on it right now.

Since I have a mere 30 minutes to an hour with Carter in the morning and 3 hours in the evening, I give in to his demands.  If he wants to be rocked to sleep, you bet your bottom I'm gonna do it.  Not just because he wants it, but because I need it.  Carter is clingier to me when he's been at daycare all day.  We get home and he wants me to carry him around.  If I try to get him to walk, he will drop to the ground and reach up for my hands.  He is definitely more of a momma's boy when I'm working than when I'm home more.  When I'm working he refuses daddy and lunges for me.  When I'm home more (summertime and breaks) he gets so excited when Ty gets home and reaches for him.  It seems counterintuitive, but he is more dependent on me when I'm working and he sees me less.

Those 3 hours I'm with Carter in the evening also happen to be his "fussier" time.  Not that he's ever fussy, but he's not his normal sweet self.  That time of evening he's worn out from the day and tends to be really tired whether he's been at daycare or at home.  I've heard some people refer to that time of day as the "witching hour".  It's true, it's just a difficult time of day for little ones.  I get home and want to play and read and catch up on all the time we've missed.  Carter either wants to snuggle (I won't complain), fuss, or take a short little cat nap.  When he hasn't napped well at daycare which happens more often than not (I can't imagine getting 12 children to all sleep at the same time for 2 or more hours), he is fussier.  When he's that tired he won't nap and he won't play, he just lays in my lap and fusses.  On those days I feel cheated.  I feel like I missed out on all the fun time when Carter's happy and playful during the day and I'm left with the fussy, tired baby who I still love to be with, but it just doesn't compare.
Ty and I have always known we wanted more than one child.  Right after Carter was born I desperately wanted to do it all over again.  Last month when all my feelings came to a head I realized I no longer wanted to do it again.  I didn't want to go through the pain of leaving another child at daycare.  I didn't want to pump multiple times a day, wishing I was instead nursing my baby.  The main reason why I hated pumping so much was because it meant I should be nursing my baby and I wasn't.  I was at work attached to a machine.  There was no way I could imagine going through all of that again.  The tears and anxiety during the last month of maternity leave, the pain of leaving my baby for the first time, the pain of dropping my baby off at daycare every day (this time with 2 babies).  No way could I fathom it.  My heart desperately wanted another baby, a companion for Carter, but I knew I couldn't do the whole working mom thing with a baby again.  It was the most devastatingly painful thing I had ever gone through.

As we started talking more about me possibly staying at home I kept going back to the post I wrote about why I worked.  I would read each reason and then think screw that.  Those reasons were no longer enough to keep me satisfied with the decision we had made.  The day I resigned I knew it was the right decision the moment the words came out of my mouth.  There were no tears and the relief I felt was unreal.  I went from a deep depression to satisfied and hopeful.  I'm sure there are plenty of other things I'm forgetting, but these are the reasons that have weighed heavily on my mind for the past 6 months.


  1. You know it's the right decision when you feel so good after you make it. When I retired I felt like a load of bricks had been taken off my back.