Yesterday evening, Andy came home to a snotty tearfest. All of you experienced mommy types had to know this was coming, I am sure of it.
It all started when I agreed to go to my mom’s for lunch. Belén and I showed up around 12:30 and my mom was working on preparing tartar sauce for the crab cakes she was making out of a new recipe from a new cookbook she just purchased. She immediately became distracted by the baby and the next thing we knew it was 2PM and lunch still was not ready. I was famished because I had run for about an hour and twenty minutes starting at 5:30AM that morning. I only bring up the time because the fact that I was going on about four hours of sleep plays into this story later.
I prodded my mom along to get lunch finished and the crab cakes were finally served and tasted divine. I tried to get Belén down for a nap but she didn’t sleep that long probably because she was in a strange place and although my mom disagrees with me, I think her house is noisy. There is not any carpet to absorb noises so you can hear everything even with the door closed to their bedroom. It also doesn’t help that my mom wants to check on her every five minutes with the hope that she will be awake so she can play with her.
I needed to work with my mom on transferring our investment club’s trade account from our current broker to tradeking.com so I started looking into that after lunch while she played with Belén. As she continued to play with the baby, I ran to REI to try and exchange some shoes I had purchased. When it was all said and done it was 4PM and I was really annoyed that my entire day was gone. Normally this wouldn’t be a big deal but I suddenly felt the pressure of having very little time left of my maternity leave and this really bothered me.
Unfortunately, I did not possess this clarity at the time and instead took it out on my mom. I explained that I was frustrated that every time I went to her house, I was always there much longer than we had planned as it feels like she tries to keep us there as long as possible. She felt bad and I started crying because it suddenly dawned on me that the real issue was that my time with my little girl was up and our prolonged afternoon at grandmas had taken me a few hours closer to time timer buzzing on my maternity leave. After this realization, I apologized for taking it out on her and thanked her for a nice meal. I know, what a crappy way to show appreciation for a kind gesture…luckily my mom understood and could forgive me for being a total bitch.
The waterworks had started and I cried almost the whole drive home. I continued once at home and every time I looked at Belén they started again. This continued off and on until Andy came home around 5:30. If Belén wasn’t only three months old she would have thought her mother was a basket case. I know, DRAMA. I hate drama, but I was total drama yesterday. I am blaming some of it on the four hours of sleep, but it was bound to happen before I went back to work, right?
Between 4:15 when I arrived home and when Andy arrived home at 5:30 I worked it up in my head that there was no way I could go back to work. I just couldn’t do it. I needed to be with Belén during the day and we would just have to figure out a way to live without my salary. We could do it; I couldn’t go back.
How was Andy going to react? He was surely going to disagree with me staying at home. And really, why should I be the one who got to stay home? I know that he would love to stay home with her too. The only advantage of me staying at home is that I have her milk supply while she is still breastfeeding. I have told him since the days when we were dating that I had no interest in ever being a stay-at-home mom. He said that he would be a stay-at-home dad and I told him flat out that that wouldn’t work because I know that I would come home and the house would be a mess and dinner wouldn’t be fixed and I would be annoyed. Of course that is how it has been much of my maternity leave and he has been 100% understanding and patient.
So when he finally got home, he came to give me a hug and I started crying again. He asked me what was wrong and I immediately responded that I didn’t think I could go back to work. He asked me to explain and we sat down and talked about it over dinner. I told him that I felt too emotionally attached to Belén to leave her…I just couldn’t do it. He listened to me talk and said that the topic had caught him off guard and that if I was really serious that we would need to discuss it from a couple of different angles.
We ate dinner and afterwards, he updated our budget with what we would need to do to live without my salary. We determined that we could do it, but all of the perks that we both enjoy would be out…we would be saving very little and basically all of our coveted vacations would be camping only until I went back to work. Hmmm, that sucks. Under my earlier logic of doing anything to stay at home, I was happy to know that we could do it, but I was starting to feel like perhaps I was overreacting. Next, we discussed the advantages of me staying at home versus Belén going to daycare and grandmacare. Of course she would get more 1:1 attention with me and I could mold her with our beliefs between the hours of eight and five each day, but other than that, there is really not much advantage and there is the disadvantage that she will not be spending time with other kids which we feel is important. I started to feel like if I stayed home it would only be for selfish reasons and I would be the person to benefit from it while Andy would have to sacrifice quite a bit and it was possibly a wash for Belén.
Finally we discussed what our goals together had been the day before I dropped this bombshell (travel, exposure to other cultures, fun vacations, etc.) and Andy again admitted that he was confused by the 180 but said we could explore it further if I was really serious. I agreed to go back to work for a couple of months before making a rash decision and we basically left it at that.
With some sleep in me I recognize that staying at home is not what I want. There are a lot of other things that I like to do and I think I need to be stimulated intellectually to be happy. I also feel like I need to be 100% present for the baby when I am at home and therefore find it difficult to accomplish a lot of additional things in the day because I want to be constantly stimulating her when she is awake. It will be a lot more reasonable to be 100% present in the evenings after work and let the professionals at daycare do it during the day. It is going to kill me to be away from her for eight hours a day but alas I will get used to it. I have to. This is the first of many steps towards making her more independent.
I look back on how my parents raised me and I vividly remember my mom dropping us off at daycare feeling so bad about having to do so. I remember thinking, “geez mom, what is the big deal?” Now I understand my mom’s sentiment but I also need to remember my own from back then. Belén will be perfectly happy at daycare and if for some reason she is not, we will cross that bridge when we get to it.
Anyway, this breakdown was dramatic and sad and bound to happen. Usually once I get a good long cry in over any loss I am over it, so hopefully this is the case and I am not a wreck at work next week. It will be okay. I know this deep down, but it doesn’t make it any easier.
Oh and Margy, thanks for the nice, very timely email on this subject. It was exactly what I needed today.
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