A-freakin'-men. I think this is the best solution I've found to the problem of differentiating employed moms vs. stay-at-home moms, since we can't say "working" moms, because EVERY mom is a working mom, we work our butts off every damn day and all night too! "Stay at home" really does sound like you're just sitting around, and I'll be the first to admit that my day does include a hefty dose of doing just that, but it's not the sitting around of my carefree youth.
What you don't understand until you are in charge of a tiny and ignorant person is that you spend every minute of every day - the full twenty-four hours - with the well-being, safety, and volatile mood of another person constantly at the forefront of your mind. There's no "off" time. It's incredibly draining, even if to the outside world it looks as if all you did was sit and watch the baby play for an hour.
I've often heard about how distracted mothers are, how it's impossible to finish a conversation with one. I'm living that stereotype right now, now that Gwen is mobile. Yesterday at Mother Goose I had to excuse myself in the middle of the other person's sentence to rush across the room and prevent Gwen from knocking over a cup of coffee. Fortunately, the other person was a mom too, and she understood completely. Also fortunately, she shook her head in disbelief that someone had brought a hot beverage into a baby class. (That woman's child is only a couple of months old, and lays peacefully on the mat through the entire class. Someday, though, she'll understand.)
Anyway, the purpose of this post is to announce that my return to
I called the daycare I want to use a couple of days ago to find out what their waitlist situation is. I filled out an application and a deposit cheque back in July, so I really see no reason why Gwen should not be accepted, but I want to get the details worked out in plenty of time. And really, April 27th doesn't feel like it's "plenty of time" away. If I want to do any kind of gradual transition into daycare, such as leaving her for only half-days for the first week or something, I need to get on that. So I am. Except Daycare isn't returning my call. Angst and woe.
I have mixed feelings about returning to my job. I know I'd lose my mind if I were to stay home with Gwen full-time. I recognize that there are people who enjoy spending all of their time with children, and other people - like me - who don't. I recklessly assume that workers at a child care centre are the former, and I'm happy to hand my daughter over to them; though I'll admit I struggle with feeling like I should crave her company all day every day. I'm also excited for Gwen to have more stimulation, more attention, more social opportunities, and more activities than she gets at home. However, I have fears about how rushed I will feel. Right now the dishes, laundry, and meal preparation only happen because I do them during Gwen's naptimes. What happens when I'm at work? I worry about how that very brief time between end of work and Gwen's bedtime will look, and how much has to be packed into it (not only the necessary chores, but any semblance of quality family time as well). I feel sad when I think about all the things I won't be teaching Gwen: that grass is green and that both of those things start with G just like her name.
On the other hand, I have noticed a tendency in myself to look at Gwen as if she is my job. I notice this when I have the opportunity to go out and do non-Gwen-related things and leave her at home with her dad: I feel guilty, like I am slacking off on my job and leaving it for someone else to do. I know that's not the case: Chris and I are parents and it is a job we share. But I am the one who has taken a year off work (while Chris is still working full time) in order to take care of Gwen. Surely, then, Gwen is my job and it is justified that she demands so much of my time...? Now that I see this tendency I am almost looking forward to having a paid job, so that I can work on seeing Chris and I as equal parents, and Gwen as a family member, not merely a job. Not to mention seeing myself as a full person, not just a parent.