Working Daddy

Do you know that I have a running list of blog topics that I want to post about.  I didn’t want our blog to become one of those pregnancy blogs that disappears after the kiddo arrives, but it’s looking a little like that these days, huh?

My 11 week leave was a magical time. I got to learn all about how this little creature we created likes to be cared for.  I was able to see the beginnings of his personality.  I could devote every minute of everyday caring for E if I wanted to (which is sure easy to do as a new parent).  It wasn’t always perfect, or easy, caring for E by myself during the day.  He really struggled with terrible reflux, and it took a while to get the proper treatment.  There were some days that were a blur of epic vomiting and terrible screaming after very meal. I give a lot of love and credit to C who went back to work so soon after his birth so we wouldn’t be too financially impacted.  She didn’t get as much time home with him, and while I worked hard caring for him, I also got to experience all the joy that comes with spending hours and hours with a cuddly new baby.

And then it all came to an abrupt end……and I went back to work on Monday of this week.  It’s been a rocky transition.  I miss the way his head smells and the way his breath smells. I miss staring at him all day long (and let’s be honest—taking pictures of him all day long).  I miss knowing what he is doing every second.  I miss, and have anxiety about, making decisions about every little thing he does, and how he/we spend our day.  (I know this sounds real crazy.)  Now I have to trust that his other caregivers are making the right decisions and taking good care of our little guy.

The good news is I love his daycare.  I love the staff, the philosophy, the community of other working parents we are meeting there.  Without these positive feelings I would have never survived this week.  I know I don’t need to worry about the quality of his care, and that is a huge burden to let go of.  Now I just am left feeling heartbroken and missing him.

On my first day back I  managed not to cry all day.  I was emotional a little on the car ride home, probably out of sheer exhaustion.  I waited until Carrie and E were sleeping. Then I broke down and bawled, crying myself to sleep. The thought of leaving him again and getting up and doing it all over again (the 2 hour commute, the stress of playing catch up at work, the exhaustion, all the extra chooses that come with parenting that need to get done on a weeknight) was overwhelming.

photo (3)

Who could leave this face?

While I muddled through Monday and Tuesday, I was feeling pretty decent on Wednesday.  Today I had a few moments where I forgot I was just off for almost 3 months.  There are some benefits to being back at work. Eating lunch slowly, uninterrupted feels downright decadent. I really love what I do, and genuinely like 90 percent of my co-workers. While the work I do doesn’t save lives ( or feel as important as child rearing) I do know that I’m doing good work and contributing to patient communication and shared decision-making fields. If I have to work outside the home it’s a pretty great job.

I’m having a hard time not feeling envious of other families who have more flexible schedules, work part-time, or are financially able to have someone stay home. I hate these feelings, and feel embarrassed to be complaining about being securely employed. I also hate all the guilt and the thoughts I sometimes have like….”if you couldn’t stay home with him why did you even have him!”  I know that is so DRAMATIC, but if I’m being honest, I’ve battled thoughts like these a lot for the past 3 weeks.  

I’m working on not feeling sad or angry about our reality. I want to remember those lovely 11 weeks when all I did was take walks with E and watch him take in the world. I will never take an hour for granted on a weekday night, and will fiercely savor the weekends.

Many people this week have told me that it gets easier as time goes on.  I can say that C and E are sleeping, and I’m up late blogging instead of crying my eyes out.  That’s some progress right?

I’m totally “that mom”

I never thought it would happen. I never thought I’d become “that mom.” You know, the one who plans her child’s conception around waiting lists for only the most exclusive educational facilities. I’m sheepishly admitting that I am, indeed, “that mom.”

After touring the child care facility we were considering, K wanted to look at least one other daycare before shelling out a non-refundable deposit to be placed on a waiting list. Yesterday, I was perusing another center’s website in preparation for a tour there later this week, when I discovered how wide a range in quality exists between child care centers.

I was quite literally shocked by the type and lack of range of items on the second center’s menu. Several times each week, this center provides cheese puffs as snacks. They regularly serve highly processed “meals” like hot dogs. The overall menu was completely unbalanced and skewed towards carbohydrates. Being a chubby person who likes to eat, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with any sort of food, but I do believe that all types of food should exist in balance with others.

The first center we toured serves an entirely vegetarian, organic menu, and all food groups are served in a balanced manner. They do not allow parents and guardians to bring in sweet treats like ice cream or cake for birthdays or holidays. Teachers maintain a garden on the premises, which they use as a food source for the kids, and teach the children about where their food comes from and about our responsibility to the earth. The difference between the two centers can be summarized thusly: quinoa muffins vs. Beef-a-Roni, and the two centers charge the same tuition.

Food isn’t everything, but a stark difference of this sort could be indicative of vast differences between care philosophies. I started questioning why I was bothering trying to source other child care options when I already felt so confident that the original option would provide the type of care I could only conjure up in dreams. I spoke with K about it and we agreed to put in a deposit immediately in order to join the waiting list for quality infant care.

The center’s director has assured us that they’ll have availability for our little one when we’re ready to go back to work. Falco will spend his/her day in an environment that brings K and I such a sense of peace!

Part of me is excited that we have crossed off such an important task on our list. The rest of me, though, felt incredibly silly to fill out a daycare form for a child that isn’t yet born.

Daycare form