Working Parent Pity Party

Joyful little queerspawn

E tries to roll from back to front

That face right there? It’s what inspires me to get up at 5:30 in the morning (not just because he’s hungrily crying), to bust my butt at work to earn a living wage to provide for him, and to do what I can to give him the best life possible. I am so grateful that we were able to conceive this little joy and that we have the privilege of raising him. My life has such different meaning now that he’s in it, and being his mama brings me a sense of fulfillment that I never thought was attainable.

But it is goddamn hard, yo.

There’s a reason why I’ve been seriously neglecting this blog and it’s because most days, I feel like I’m on a hamster wheel. Each morning feels like a total race to get the three of us ready and get out the door, drop E off at daycare, then drop K off at his vanpool pick up, then attempt to get to my job by 8 a.m. I put in a nine-hour workday, staring at the clock the entire time so I don’t leave too late, get caught in rush hour traffic and keep my precious little one at daycare any longer than he has to be.

Then, I haul ass to his daycare, grab all of his bottles and diapers, and exit the premises with my treasured man and overflowing hands. I rush to a brief but vital errand or home to tend to a few chores like emptying/rinsing his bottles, emptying the diapers from his daycare wetbag into our dirty diaper bin, and letting the dogs out to relieve themselves. I often try to squeeze the start of a major chore like tossing a load of laundry into the washer, prioritizing his cloth diapers over our clothes, or giving E a quick bath, and attempt to feed him a bottle. Then, we race back out the door less than an hour later to pick Daddy up from his vanpool drop off location. If K encounters traffic and/or forgets his phone at home and cannot text me when they’re getting close in order to time our departure (both happened this week – sigh), I end up waiting at the vanpool pickup location with a very cranky baby, who cries whenever the car stops.

K and I rush home with E, where we throw a frenzied meal into our faces, and separately tend to chores like washing/prepping bottles, starting/continuing laundry, washing dishes, and making our lunches and preparing E’s belongings for the following day, while our adorable son either snoozes or plays in his bouncy seat. Sometimes we manage to watch a tv show on DVR while we complete some of these tasks. We somehow muster the energy to play with E and enjoy his company during the little time we have at home with him. We change him, get him ready for bed and try to all get to sleep by 10:30 p.m.

We’re all doing the best that we can, but it tears me up that I’m often so exhausted by the end of the day that I can’t be energetic or entirely present for E. If we didn’t need my paycheck, I would likely try to find a way to stay home with our baby, though I see him thriving in a daycare setting.

I knew it would be our reality, as we share a car and K commutes 45-60 minutes each way for work, that I would spend a lot of time driving around before and after work. I feel like an unpaid taxi driver and the amount of time wasted in the car really eats at me some days. We’re trying to prioritize the saving toward a second car, but it likely won’t happen anytime soon. I know that having access to another car will really help to free up some time because I could get to work even earlier while K does drop-off at daycare, then I could run an errand or do a chore or two before getting E from daycare, K could run an errand on the way home from his vanpool, and we could spend a lot more time at home with each other. I keep dreaming of the day that this is our reality.

In the meantime, I’m going to take at least one moment each day to acknowledge that this is fucking hard, that I’m hardly the first or only parent to go through it, and that this face is beyond worth it:

E's drop-off this morning at daycare

/pityparty

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10 thoughts on “Working Parent Pity Party

  1. Oh that last picture of him sleeping in his car seat is just to die for.

    I hear you on how hard it is to work. Its important to acknowledge it and be gentle on yourself with all the stress you are under. I want to say it gets easier, but I’ve been doing it for three years now, and though the feelings are less raw, they get older and they form words like “you should stay home with us” or “all you do is work all the time” its like a knife through the chest each and every time. Thank you for letting me join in on your pity party, it’s nice to not feel so alone.

  2. You are not alone! It is really really tough to have a new baby, and fitting a baby into a working life is even tougher, and baby+working+long commute for one partner is enough to drive anyone crazy. There isn’t enough time or energy anywhere. I think it does get better — you get used to the demands on your time, you get more sleep eventually, and kids get easier as they get older. But its a long road from here to there, so be kind to yourself, expect less from everyone (yourself included), and to keep things simple and easy. The wonderful times make it all worth it, so be sure you get to fit those in!

  3. It is so so hard. I know it doesn’t help much to hear that it gets better but it totally does. This first six months or so is a killer logistically and emotionally. Also – being entirely present…from this perspective, that’s what you ARE doing. You *are* entirely present for him which is exhausting. It will get better and soon. But don’t worry, I’ll bring the pizza for the next pity party. I have enough of my own that I know just which toppings to get.

  4. I feel for you as your time constraints are certainly significant. Hopefully it won’t always be that way? As far as your kid someday saying, “Why do you have to go to work?” and “I wish you would spend more time with me,” yes you will get those comments. But not every day and not forever. He will eventually get used to you leaving and know that it is part of your family life. The tears won’t last long. Each of my children eventually got to the point where they would pleasantly wave good-bye to me with smiles on their faces. And the good-bye kisses, hugs and excitement that you will receive upon your departure and arrival will be awesome. And when they get really old (like my 10 year old), they won’t mind you going to work, but the good-bye hugs and kisses also stop (although the love doesn’t). So when E cries during a daycare drop off someday, just remember that the very time in his life when he cries about you going to work is also the same time in his life that he will actually run to greet you enthusiastically when you come back to pick him up.

  5. Yeah, it’s hard, especially when it comes to managing a house and meals and laundry all at the same time. Sounds like you are making the most of the time you have – and that is the best that anyone can do. But I feel the pity party.

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