In my last post I talked about the pros and cons of working from home, and the challenges it presents. Overwhelmingly the biggest issue for me right now is time. It was relatively easy to get the work done I needed to when she was napping three times a day for an hour and a half each time. Now that she is down to one 2-hour nap, I am constantly stressed about the work I am (or am not) getting done, or worse, having to work while she is awake and has no one else to play with.
I started getting short tempered with her when she would not let me get an email out that really needed to be sent, and then felt bad the rest of the day for being frustrated with this innocent baby who just wants to be part of what mom does. It got so bad that I noticed some feelings that scared me a little. Feeling like I was a failing both my job and my baby was quickly eating away at my peace.
Thank God my husband noticed too, and before I could actually become depressed (something I was quickly spiraling towards) we came up with a game plan. One that I was too stubborn to admit was a good idea until things got so tough. I either needed to quit my job or we needed a part time babysitter. I needed help with at least one area of my life, and it took me a while to accept this. I don’t want help. I want to raise my baby all by myself, and I also want to keep woring. Of course this is prideful, and not something I am proud of, but it’s still how I felt and I had to come to terms with how I felt before we could make a choice. Accepting my feelings on this topic allowed me to see the issue more clearly and make a choice.
Something had to give, and decision time inevitably came: the status quo was no longer doable. Either I quit my job and stay home full time, or I accept that I need to ask for help for a few hours a week with the baby.
Ultimately, we decided that if I could find a situation I was comfortable with, we would give it a go. I listed out what I would not compromise on which included:
No more than two hours 3 – 4 times a week so that I don’t feel like I am missing too much time with her. Just enough to get the work done without interruption so I was free to play with her and take care of her the rest of the day.
It still makes financial sense.
It has to be someone I trusted completely with my baby and can help at different times during different weeks due to the nature of my job.
It turns out that my friend (and co-blogger) was totally game to take her for a few hours a few times a week, and Gianna ADORES her daughter and asks for “Ebbie” all the time. Evelyn in turn laughs her butt off at Gianna’s crazy antics. It’s a great tradeoff, and I did have a huge weight lifted off me when I finally made this decision.
But – and there is a but – I am still coming to terms with needing help. I still get anxious about being away from her a few hours a day, even though I know she is in great hands, and will probably love seeing another kiddo a few times a week. I love that it’s flexible and we can shift schedules easily each week, but I still don’t love that I need to do this. I wish I was able to do my job and not need help watching my baby. But why? What is pushing me to feel like asking for help is failing? For me, it all circles back to the “have it all” mentality that is so prevalent today.
Women today are constantly told we can “have it all”, but what exactly does this mean? No matter how you slice it, life choices involve trade offs. I don’t know where or when this “have it all” mentality started, but it is misleading, and can often lead to a mom feeling like a failure if she isn’t doing 100 jobs at full capacity. Attempting to have it all, and do it all, on my terms was not realistic, and left me in a very vulnerable emotional state. What IS realistic is making the choice to do what’s best for our family in our situation right now. I just needed some help getting there.