Being a working mom...

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

I have been working on this post for a few days now, wondering if it is something that I wanted to include in Emma's blog or not. I originally wasn't going to because to be honest, it's quite personal to me and I thought that if I posted it, that it would become an official acknowledgment of my weaknesses as a mother (and who wants to admit those?!?!). After thinking about it though, I decided to include it not just for those other moms out there that read Emma's blog, but mostly for Emma. If she ever reads these entries when she is older, and wonders why she was put in daycare at 8 weeks old, I want her to know how hard it was for me to do so, how hard it was to be a working mom with an infant and how much it hurt Mommy to have to do it sometimes. I also want her to know that it was always, always, for her and for her future.

I want to preface all of this by saying this post is in no way any big discussion on what is right or wrong about being a working mom versus a stay at home mom. That is one of 'those' debates that will continue to go on forever, and to me, doesn't have a right or wrong answer. I was basically a stay at home mom for 8 weeks when Emma was born and that was probably the toughest, but best, 8 weeks of my life. I really don't know how the mom's do it that stay at home with their little ones full time, so props to you ladies because in a lot of ways, I think that is harder then being a working mom. That just wasn't a fit for our family at this point in our lives. This is just how I feel about being a working mom, and nothing more.

I think about being a working mom a lot and I have really mixed feelings about it. Some days I feel like I can conquer the working world, make dinner, do laundry, have a clean home, a hobby of my own and still have quality time to spend with Emma. Other days, the guilt of having to put my tiny baby into daycare and getting to see her for about two hours a day almost consumes me. On those days, I try to convince myself that it will only get easier as Emma gets older, stays up later, eats what we eat for dinner (so we don't have to make a meal for her and a meal for us, etc) but I have a feeling that won't really be the case and I end up talking myself out of it. As she may stay up later when she gets older, she will probably end up sleeping in later in the mornings. When she eats the same food as us, that will just mean that we have to make a full dinner earlier, rather then getting to play with her after work and just postponing making dinner for Mommy and Daddy. As the years go by, my level of responsibilities at work will continue to increase, which makes it harder and harder to maintain a "work - life balance" and actually stick to the 40 hour work week. I have worked extremely hard to get to where I am today and it is very difficult to explain to bosses or coworkers that I am not willing to consistently work 60 hours a week, and answer emails at night and travel 50% of my time anymore. Which has given me a big lesson and learning experience on how important it is to make sure expectations are understood from both sides.

The minute that I got pregnant, my world and priorities changed.

Now, having said all of that, I do enjoy working. I enjoy the interaction I have with my coworkers and the relationships and network that I have built since working for my company for the past 8 years. My company has treated me extremely well, but has also presented some big challenges. I am fortunate though to work for a company that allows me the time I need to take off when Emma is sick, or gives me the tools to work from home when I can.

There are days during the work week where I wake up ready to "meet the day" as my Dad always says. On those days, I am up and ready for work before Emma even makes a peep. Bottles are made from the night before, and her toast or pancake and banana are ready to be toasted and packed away in her daycare bag. Breakfast is ready to go for Wes and I, the coffee maker is full of coffee and water and just awaiting the start button to be pushed. Dinner is planned for that night, the kitchen is clean and the carpet is vacuumed and I am wearing the same size pants as I was before Emma came along (that's always a good start to the day haha). On those days, I am at work early, have a very productive day, head out by 4:30 and even have time for a walk with Daddy, Emma and Shamus before the bedtime routine starts. It is on those days that I absolutely love our bedtime routine. I love how Emma has so much fun during her bath, I love playing with her and tickling her little tootsies when I am getting her dressed. I love giving her that last bottle for the night and reading some books when she is all snuggled in my arms. On those days, the night doesn't stop there before I am fully motivated from having such a good day, that I do as much as possible to get ready for the next day. But who knows what the next day will actually bring.

Then, there are the "other" days.

On the "other" days, I feel incredibly guilty for being one of the first parents to drop her off at daycare, and for her being one of two babies left in the room when I pick her up. How are these other parents do it? How do they drop off at daycare at 9:00AM and are picked up at 4:00 or 4:30PM during the day? How do they get to work and work a full day? It's on these days that I am miserable driving to work just thinking about Emma spending more time with her daycare teachers on a daily basis, then her own parents. I usually end up having a bad day at work on these days, and can't bare to look at all the pictures of Emma scattered on my desk or as my computer background. On these days, I dread our bedtime routine because it inevitably starts almost the minute we get home. Its a race to feed Emma dinner at 6:00PM, so we can be in the bath by 6:20 or 6:30PM, and be drinking her bottle by 6:45 and in bed by 7:00PM. It may sound like a strict routine but I want to make it clear that it's not the fact that I think she should be in bed at 7:00PM, but that is her body's time to be in bed. She crashes incredibly fast around taking a bath or trying to play at that time can turn into a big fight. Lately, her bedtime has been getting earlier, instead of later too! Those are the nights that I put her to bed, and can barely bring myself to go in her room later to make sure her blanket is covering her up because I feel so guilty that I spent 2 hours with her all day, and those two hours were a rush to get up, dressed, out of the house, and to get fed, bathed and to bed after we get back to the house.
Luckily, the more and more experience I get as a new mother, the more days of "Supermom" that I have and the less days that I feel incredibly guilty. But that doesn't seem to make it any easier on those hard days, to get up and leave the love of my life in someone elses hands.

Since I have babbled on long enough, I think I should come to the point. The problem is, that I'm not entirely sure what the point actually is! I know that right now, I don't have another option but to work, and I know that probably every working mom has these thoughts at some point. Who knows if it will ever get easier, but I think this is one of the reasons why we chose the daycare facility that we did. Every day that we drop Emma off or pick her up we are reminded about exactly why we chose the center that we did. They are wonderful and if there is one thing that makes this whole working-mom thing easier, it's knowing that Emma is learning and growing and thriving during the day when I am not there by her side.

All I hope, is that Emma never feels like a second priority because she certainly is not, and that later in her life, we are able to provide for her future as much as possible and that she understands why Mommy wasn't able to stay at home with her when she was so young.


  1. Laura, Your post was beautifully written. I struggle like you do daily with being a working mom, and mom to Annabelle. I wish I could stay home with her and spend all my time with her, but like so many other mother's out there, it's just not in the cards.

    I think our little ones will understand our decision for working outside of the home.

    Again thank you for sharing your experiences.

  2. Very well said! I think all working moms feel this way. I know I definitely do. It's such a struggle. But we know what is best for our babies we're doing exactly that. Having a daycare that you love and trust is priceless, isn't it?

    I just have to say, your house is clean? You have all that stuff ready to go in the morning??? You have mad skills lady! I am running around like a chicken with my head cut off 99% of the time that I'm home. So you deserve lots of credit to be able to say that. You ARE super mom! Haha.

  3. Thanks so much Jen and Kim! It always helps to hear that other moms are in the same boat.

    Kim: Haha! Don't worry, there are plenty of days that I am running around like a chiken with my head cut off as well, even if I do have things ready to go! Ha!

  4. I am sorry that you feel this way. From reading your blog it seems that Emma is a beautiful happy thriving (sp?) little girl. Not to make this about me, but I am a stay at home mom( not by choice, I was laid off a month after I told the boss I was pregnant) that sometimes feel that I am not entertaining enought for my daughter. So sometimes I have so many things scheduled for her (gym classes, park playdates, swimming, etc.) so she can interact (sp? )with other kids that I can feel her getting drained out because she is not used to it. What I am trying to say is please do not feel guilty. In the end you are doing what's best for your daughter.

    What I want to know is how you stay so organized? I stay at home and my house still looks as though a tornado went through it.


  5. Megan, Thank you so much for sharing your story with me as well! When I was at home with Emma even during my short (too short) 8 weeks, I had a similar fear of her being bored. I sometimes even feel that way on the weekends! I am not sure how old your little one is but I would think as she gets older she will learn to adapt to those activities. For Emma, we are working on trying to get her more adaptable to being out of her routine, so it's not such a shock when we go somewhere or she naps somewhere else on the weekends.

  6. Megan, don't get me wrong, I also have a house that, more often than not, looks like a tornado went through it as well!! The weekends are the worst and even though I do try to keep things clean and organized, I think the more time we spend at home, the crazier it gets! Its something that I do struggle with because I hate spending the little time I have with Emma cleaning on the weekends, but sometimes I just can't stand it. What has really helped us is just taking little steps at a time. So we started by just keeping our kitchen clean every night. So every night we wash the dishes, sweep the floor, run the dishwasher (if needed), etc. There is something about a clean kitchen that makes me feel much better!! Then the next step was making sure we pick up Emma's toys in the family room after she goes to bed. Our kitchen table is my next step seems to be the catch all of "stuff" when we come home from work. Bottles, my purse, laptops, keys, mail, dog leash and his little notebook and treats from the dog walker, you name it! Our bedroom and bathroom are usually a total disaster. :) But maybe one day I will learn to pick up my clothes haha! I have a feeling it will get harder once Emma can crawl. Right now, she stays in the same room that I put her in, which helps to contain the tornado. :)


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