Wednesday, March 28, 2012

I Quit My Job (Sort Of?)

So I did it. Sort of. I think. :)

I finally say my bosses down yesterday and told them what I have been thinking. It went a little something like this:

Here's my problem. I love my job, and I love working with you both, but I also love my son. I miss him all day every day. I'm exhausted, and grumpy, and have no time to spend with him. And Mr. M. and I have decided that at least one of us should spend some time with him, and because of his career it can't be him.

If it were any other job, this would have been such an easy decision. I love working here so much and so appreciate the opportunity you gave me.

I don't know if working part-time is an option, but if it is I would love to stay on here. I feel confident that I can still contribute to the department, get my work done on time and save the department some money.

They were SO nice about it. My bosses are both women and they were warm and understanding and very appreciative that I said I would stay at least until the end of April to help with the very busy event season. They looked interested in the possibility of me working part time, but aren't sure the company will let me do that. Everyone they need to consult about it is out at a conference this week, so it will be next week before I know anything for sure.

I felt really good about it afterwards and it hasn't felt awkward or anything between the three of us. I am content to just do my work, enjoy my surroundings and let what will happen, happen.

I'm not sure if I will accept if they offer part time. I'll have to see what days/hours they are thinking about and go from there. If it is going to keep me still stressed and tired, then no way.

A rough couple of nights in our house this week. Monday night E broke out of his swaddle at 2:30 a.m. because SOMEONE (coughcoughMrMcough) didn't do it right. He gets very upset when he breaks out of his swaddle. But of course I was the one who got up, changed him, fed him and put him back down. Next time I've decided I'm just going to put the wailing baby monitor RIGHT next to Mr. M's head as he slumbers peacefully away.

Last night I met with my personal trainer at 7, and when I exercise in the evenings I never sleep well - too much adrenaline I guess. So I was restless all night and THEN E's Angelcare movement monitor went off TWICE - once at 2:30 and once at 4:30. He was fine, just wiggled way over to the side. I had to scoot him back over both times but luckily he settled back down fairly quickly.

Between daycare and leaving E with Mr. M. last night so I could hit the gym, I spent a grand total of about ten minutes with E yesterday. It SUCKED. I miss him and crave my time with him, to play with him and cover his soft cheeks with sweet kisses. This is how I know I am doing the right thing by no longer working full time. I WILL spend more time with my son then I do at work. And it will be wonderful.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Peace Comes...

Do you believe in guardian angels? Do you get a "feeling" every so often that you think is leading you towards or away from something?

We've all heard the stories.* A woman who gets the urge to change her shoes at the last minute, then is struck by a car. The shoes allow her to slide backward instead of being crushed under the car. A man who is about to leave his house with his wife for the storm shelter and suddenly just KNOWS that he does not have time to put on his shoes. They make it to the car and see one tornado in front of them, one behind them. They make it to the basement of the safe house and he is "led" to a particular corner - the one corner of the basement that is left standing after the tornado passes.

Throughout my short and rather tumultuous life, there have been several times when I have been led or, as I like to call it, "nudged."

The first was when I chose my college. My grandparents (who raised me) and I had looked at several liberal arts schools out of state, and the major university in-state. I was having a terrible time deciding which one I wanted to attend. I remember the night clearly. I was in my room, puttering around, and all of a sudden I just knew. I walked into the sunroom where my grandmother sat at her computer and told her I wanted to go to the state college. She didn't bat an eye and we agreed it would be a wonderful school for me.

Two months later, I was diagnosed with cancer. I would never have been able to attend an out-of-state college - I needed to stay close to my doctors. I would have been left scrambling for a spot at the state college and probably wouldn't have gotten one.

You know who else went to that state college? Mr. M. Although we liked each other, we were just casual friends who sometimes dated since he was already away at school and I was still a high school senior. He was the one person who stuck by me, encouraged me and refused to be afraid of me during the entire cancer treatment phase, and he is now my best friend and the love of my life. I feel like I was led to him and I am forever grateful.

The second big "nudge" of my life came just before spring break of my freshman year in college. I had signed up to go on a mission trip to Mexico with my friend L's campus church. I went with her to an evening worship and handed over my check. During the service, I had the sudden an overwhelming feeling that this was wrong and that I couldn't go to Mexico. I almost had a panic attack waiting for service to be over so I could go ask for my check back. Needless to say, the pastor wasn't happy and L was angry and confused.

I went home to my grandparents' house that spring break, and while I was there, my grandfather was diagnosed with cancer. The only father I had ever known was critically ill and needed myself and my grandmother more than anything. And because I listened to my "nudge," I was there with him.

I think one thing that has been bothering me about this whole decision whether to stay at home or not has been the lack of a "nudge" in any direction. While I knew what my decision was and that it was best for our family, I didn't feel myself being led in any direction, and that bothered me. I finally had decided that I was just going to have to do what I knew was right regardless and try to be content with the decision.

Sometime at the end of last week, it arrived. Not a "nudge," but something even better - peace. I don't know when or how it snuck in, but all of a sudden I was completely and utterly at peace with my decision. I am no longer even nervous about speaking to my bosses. I am content. And very grateful for the feeling.

Peace comes in many disguises. To me, it has come in the form of acceptance.

Tell me about your "nudges," if you've had any. Did following your gut feelings work out for you?

*These stories were told to me by my MIL and they are people she actually knows. I know, right??!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Words of Wisdom

I sent the text of yesterday's blog to my grandmother.

You know how on G.rey's A.natomy, Meredith and Cristina are each other's "person"? Well, my grandma is mine. She and my grandfather, who passed away when I was in college, raised me from the age of six months after a car accident killed my father and left my mother permanently and seriously disabled.

She is pretty much my favorite person, and always gives the right advice. When I was growing up, sometimes that advice was difficult to hear when it wasn't what I necessarily wanted to hear. She is unfailingly wise, and kind, with a dry and wicked sense of humor to temper even the harshest words.

Along with the text of my blog, I sent her this message:
Here's what I wrote on my (anonymous) blog today. While every word I wrote is true, I still can't find peace with my decision. Write back, please. Give me a pep talk. Tell me that I'm doing the right thing and tell me WHY it is the right thing.

She obliged, with a response that brought tears to my eyes. I'll share it with you:

Yes, you wrote true. And, no, there's no way for you to come to a place of complete peace with your decision, no matter which way you go. What you have done, however, is make the decision that, in the really long run (as in, life-long) will be the best for your family -- and, particularly, for your little E. In a world where "family" is becoming more and more a genetically connected social group that meets from time to time in the evenings and on weekends, you have chosen to be the constant presence in your son's life. An anchor. Home base. That's really important.

As we discussed on Saturday evening -- there will be times when you would give almost anything to be back at your great job, away from kid-world, feeling a little more free and independent and "productive." That's a given. That will happen a bunch. But that's okay. And when the frustration passes, you'll turn and put your arms around the squirt, collect some sticky hugs and kisses (or whatever his current age offers) and know you're where you need to be.

Even though I worked the whole time you were growing up (and remember, your mom made the stay-at-home decision, too, so you were never in day care), you had, first, a live-in nanny, and then our beloved B. So home was home, your "people" were constants in your life, and I didn't have to come home to chaos, a dirty house, laundry chores, and all that wear-you-down stuff. We had plenty of time for you.

In the end, here's what you need to remember:
-- You did, indeed, have a great job and lots of great contacts, friends and experiences you'll always treasure. Not everyone gets that opportunity. So treasure the memories, keep your contacts going and don't completely lose touch with those friends.
-- You didn't fight so hard to bring that little boy into the world just to turn him over to others to raise.
-- You're a great mom, and have ever so much more to offer E than any day care in the world could give him.
-- When things get really desperate, there's always mothers-day-out and more than one adoring grandparent and other extended family members around to provide a little "respite" care.

So ... just sit back, take a deep breath, and DO this. It'll be okay. Really.

She is right. Very truly and completely right. I have to keep reminding myself that this decision ISN'T about me - it's about E. It's about doing what I feel is best for him no matter what sacrifices I might make professionally. And it is completely, totally and utterly worth it.

I am so glad E has the chance to get to know his great-grandma. She is an amazing lady.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Will Miss/Won't Miss

St. Patrick's Day has been a special holiday for me for the past three years. It was on that day, in 2009, that I received the phone call that changed my life. It was on that day I was offered my current job.

The job I was working in 2009 was miserable. It was my first "real" job after two years of doing consultant work and even a part-time, unpaid internship. I was so excited to be joining the corporate world and to start making a salary. Unfortunately, the job turned out to be a nightmare. My boss was evil and acted bipolar - totally friendly one day and a crazy b!tch the next. She took her anger out on me as I was her only underling. I barely ever had work to do, even when I asked for more, and spent hours staring at my computer screen, writing and surfing the Web. I was stressed and unhappy all the time, and took my unhappiness home with me. Oftentimes I was angry at Mr. M. before he even walked in the door, for no reason.

When I saw the job opening here at my current work, I was SO excited. It was a fun, creative job in the tourism industry. I applied and waited for so long that I was sure I wasn't even going to be granted an interview. I was, and when I went in they informed me that 200 people had applied for the job, and they had chosen seven to interview.

I couldn't believe that I got it. I called my grandmother and shrieked in joy as quietly as I could. I walked down the hall and, terrified, gave my two weeks notice to Evil Boss (needless to say she did NOT take it well). I texted all of my friends and that night we slapped on our green and headed to our favorite bar to celebrate. It was one of the happiest days of my life and a day I remember very fondly.

This job has very much lived up to its hype. It has been a lot of fun and I feel a great amount of pride when I walk around with my staff name badge on - pride that I work at such a wonderful place. No, the job isn't perfect and I have my share of frustrations with my supervisors, but it's not a typical desk job and for that I am very grateful. While I don't always enjoy the work I do here, just being here sometimes is enough to make up for it.

So here I sit on a rainy Monday, almost three years to the day that I got this job, contemplating leaving this place behind to stay at home with my little E. I know it is what I should do and I know I won't ever regret it. I know that this is the right thing to do and that I will never be on my deathbed wishing I had spent more time at work and less with E. I know that I want E to spend his early years with me, and not a day care provider.

I also know that staying at home won't be a cake walk. E was super, super fussy all weekend and this morning I was very frazzled and having to really steel myself to be patient with him. It was a contest I narrowly won. I know that I will have to have outlets for myself, time to myself while E is at Mother's Day out and maybe eventually even a part-time job to keep my writing, editing and PR skills sharp.

I know that quitting is right for me and I have pretty much made up my mind to give my notice a week from today. It is not going to be easy. I am going to miss this place, my co-workers and the wonderful team of people I work with. I am going to miss being able to go on little adventures every day and experience things not many people ever get to do.

What I won't miss is the dragging exhaustion I feel every morning. I won't miss handing E over to day care every morning and having to turn him over to Mr. M. every evening so I can do chores. I won't miss this constant feeling that I have NO TIME for anything other than the bare necessities of survival. I won't miss being short-tempered with Mr. M. and losing my patience with E so quickly. I won't miss the way laundry piles up, dishes sit gummy and unwashed and a layer of dust covers everything in our bedroom. I won't miss all the fast food we've been eating because I'm too tired to even contemplate cooking a healthy meal.

There are many other things I won't miss, in a different way. I won't miss out on E's smiles and snuggles. I won't miss his first laugh or the first time he pushes up on his hands and knees. I won't miss his first crawl, or his first step, or the first time he realizes what the word "Mama" means.

I won't have to scrimp and save my vacation to spend time with him around the holidays. I won't have to stress about saving my sick leave in case he gets sick. I won't have to parcel out time spent with relatives during visits, since all of our family is within about an hour drive of us and I can take day trips to see them.

I'll be there for every tear, every milestone, every smile and every giggle. I will be there for my son, my little miracle baby, to love him and encourage him and teach him how to be a person.

I am so blessed to have the opportunity to stay home with him, and to have the complete support of my husband and family.

Thursday, March 15, 2012


Warning: This is a griping, whining post about the exhaustion and frustrations of motherhood for me. I understand that you may not want to read it as many of you would give anything to be in my shoes. However, I have always been determined to write honestly about what I am thinking. So here goes.

All right, so here's my version of Though Vomit Thursday (but without the picture because the photo itself kind of makes me want to vomit):

-Halfway through my second week as a working mom, I am so exhausted that my teeth hurt. E has been sleeping through the night which is wonderful, but I can't seem to catch enough sleep. Every morning it is such a struggle to get myself out of bed and get through my long days. I leave the house at 7 a.m. and return at 6 p.m.

-It's getting easier to leave E at daycare, but I still don't like it. He's there from 7 a.m. to 5:45 p.m. every day and it just seems like too long. I hate him being there so much. When I go to pick him up he's usually in his bouncy swing with a group of 3 year-olds clustered around admiring him and talking to him. It's pretty darn adorable. Then they see me and they're all "Aww, baby go home?"

-AF has returned with a vengeance. She visited for the first time last month and it was longer, heavier and much more painful than ever before. It was awful. She has returned again as of yesterday and it looks like it is going to be more of the same. For some reason, I get a little sore down there again whenever she arrives - not sure what is up with that and sorry for the TMI.

-My clothes are driving me NUTS. Only a few of my pre-pregnancy size 16s fit me, but the 16Ws I bought a few weeks ago have huge gaps in the waist. I am uncomfortable all the time and it's incredibly aggravating.

-I'm still weighing my options about possible becoming a stay at home mom. I believe in my heart that it is what I should do and I know I won't regret it, but it is going to be very difficult to leave my job. It was my dream job and I beat 200 applicants to get it, and it is a lot of fun most of the time. I know that's selfish of me, but I haven't yet gotten to where I am sure of what I should do.

-E has had the sniffles for about a week, but no cough or fever. We use a humidifier in the room and I use saline drops and an aspirator. He screams like I'm trying to murder him every time and it breaks my heart.

-Our house is a total disaster area, or was until last night. I gave E to Mr. M. and after working a full day, came home and: washed and put away all the dishes and E's bottle parts, cleaned the kitchen, hung up the mounds of clothes in our bedroom and closet, dusted the bedroom while stepping over and around piles of Mr. M's backpacking stuff, cleaned the bathroom mirrors and counters and started a load of laundry - the first of about a dozen I'm sure. Meanwhile, Mr. M. slept on the couch with E and gave him a bottle. After the bottle E started crying loudly and after the paci didn't calm him down Mr. M. decided to just sit there holding him and let him scream while wearing his "I'm SO tired/poor me" expression. So AFTER all of my chores, I had to pick E up and walk him around to soothe him, then rock him for a while and put him to bed while Mr. M. fell asleep on the couch. I then had to heat up leftover pizza for Mr. M. (which I had originally planned on eating but he wouldn't eat anything else) and force him to eat it so he wouldn't stumble off to bed all "woe is me, my wife didn't feed me and I'm SO tired."

-Since I have returned to work, Mr. M. has been getting on my nerves. I realize that he was spoiled while I was on maternity leave, but he doesn't seem to understand that I can't continue to do EVERYthing anymore. He helps with nothing - no dishes, no laundry, no house cleaning, no grocery buying. Doesn't take out the trash, cook or pick up dinner or help with tidying up after dinner. He won't learn how to bathe E because he says he can "figure it out." The other night as I escaped for a few blissful moments in the bathtub, he soothed E with a pacifier when he knew he was hungry so he wouldn't have to get up and make him a bottle. He gets this martyred, exhausted look on his face when I ask him to help and does his best to act like he's just SO exhausted he couldn't possibly go on. It makes me hate him, especially in my current state of frazzled exhaustion. I'm just not sure how to approach the subject with him as any criticism of any kind causes him to immediately just shut down - he can't handle it.

Look, dude, I get that you're tired and you work long days, I really do. But you are no longer the one who works the longest day and is the most tired - that is now ME. It's not a competition, but you have GOT to suck it up and help me a little here, and withOUT the drama and "woe is me" act. I know you love me and E both dearly, but that love needs to be shown in actions. Help me. Please. I can't keep this one man show up much longer.

And you wonder why I wasn't exactly "in the mood" last weekend. Trust me buddy - help me, and I will be much more amenable to "helping" you. *wink wink*

Okay. Whining over.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Smile, and my heart is breaking...

E isn't much of a smiler yet. We have to work really hard to get a true smile and when we get one it totally delights us.

On Wednesday when I went to pick him up at day care, he was laying on the floor on a playmat, kicking his feet and looking around. I squatted down next to him and exclaimed his name, and he greeted me with the most beautiful, joyful, long-lasting smile I have ever seen from him.

It warmed my heart and broke my heart at the same time.

I feel so guilty for leaving him all day every day. I already feel like I'm detached and disconnected from him and that our connection isn't as visceral as it used to be.

And mostly, I miss him.

Yes, I was kind of going crazy while stuck at home, but now I'm just so sad and kind of gloomy feeling, like Eeyore.

Plus, my lingering sickness and its accompanying slight fever means I have to keep my distance from him as much as I can, so I can't even snuggle him in the evenings now!

Being sick with the flu my first week at work with no sick leave left and the busiest two weeks of the year coming = major suckage.

Charity function is tomorrow night. In a moment of feminine determination I booked myself a luxurious hot stone massage for the afternoon. I wanted one the entire time I was pregnant but never got around to it. I'll go be pampered, come home and pour myself a glass of wine and get ready for a fun evening out. Even if I have to stuff my purse with Kleenex.

I'm trying to decide what I think about the new PAIL blogroll. I'm even more stuck in no (wo)man's land than most because while I have an infertile condition, high FSH, I was blessed with a miracle pregnancy on my first try and didn't go through anywhere near the heartbreak most members of the ALI community have. What are your thoughts? Are you joining or will you join if you become pregnant? I don't think I'm even ON the SQ blogroll despite emailing her months and months ago.

Hope everyone has a good weekend. I am looking forward to some time with E, even if I'm just watching him from far away.

Time to go blow by dose again...

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Day 3 of Work - Miserable

Well, the adrenaline from the first day of work has definitely disappeared, and I'm exhausted. E goes to bed at about 8 or 9 and then wakes up at about 2:30 or 3 a.m. for a feeding before going back down until it's time to leave. I get up for the day at about 5:30. I'm sleeping okay but am so exhausted, and to top it all off yesterday I developed a nasty dry cough that has me feeling even more awful. I'm so tired that my exhaustion has lodged in the pit of my stomach and stays with me all day. So far no amount of caffeine has taken the edge off, and I am VERY sensitive to caffeine.

E is doing well a daycare, although when I went to pick him up the first day they handed me an accident report! !! Turns out all he had done was scratch his face with his own fingernail, so no biggie.

He comes home SO tired and the past two nights I have just let him stay in his car seat and nap until he decides to wake up. I asked the daycare director and she said that's normal as he adjusts to a new schedule, plus his sleep at daycare isn't quite as deep as it was at home with noise and such.

They send a little report card home with us every day letting us know when and how much he ate and when his diapers were changed. We noticed they were changing his diaper EVERY HOUR. Apparently that's their policy unless the hear otherwise from the parents. They sure heard otherwise from me! At home it's usually at least 2 hours between changings unless his diaper is really full. Once an hour is a LOT of diapers - TEN per day! I talked with them and they are going to check every hour (unless he is asleep) and if he's just a little wet they will leave him until the next time.

In other news, I tried on my dress for the charity function, and it fits! Still a little snug, but definitely wearable and it doesn't look too tight. Found a pair of sparkly strappy heels on sale at the mall yesterday, so I'm set. I'm thinking of begging MIL to keep E for the entire night so Mr. M. and I can both catch up on some much-needed rest.

Some thoughts as I continue to deliberate whether or not to continue working:
-I HATE not having snuggle time in the evenings. By the time I get home, do the chores that HAVE to be done, wash all E's bottles, make and eat dinner, feed E and clean up from dinner, it's time for him to go to bed. I feel like I've barely seen him over the past couple of days. One point for staying at home.
-I don't know how working moms do this all week all year and still keep their sanity. I can barely function right now. Maybe I'll get used to it as I get more practice, but for right now I can't see myself keeping this going. Another point.
-My job is not as fun as it was the first day. I have a lot of tedious work to do and I'm starting to remember a lot of the little frustrations I had forgotten about over the past 12 weeks. Point three.
-I'm getting a little resentful of Mr. M, since I'm the one who gets up with E every time right now. Now that we're on exactly the same schedule, I feel like he should take a couple of overnights a week and let me rest. I'll be speaking to him about it tonight.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Day One - Back to Work

Well, the drop off a daycare this morning was accomplished fairly smoothly, with just a few tears - from me. It felt so unnatural to hand E over to a stranger and leave him there. I called and checked on him mid-morning and they said he was doing great, then my good friend L went to give him some snuggles on her lunch break. She texted me a photo of them snuggling and I went a little green with jealousy.

You wanna know the odd part, though? It actually feels REALLY good to be back at work. I love the great majority of my co-workers and have received so many heartfelt "welcome back" comments. It's a beautiful day here and I spent my lunch break walking around outside (I work at a tourist attraction in my state).

And honestly? It feels nice not to have to worry about the next feeding time or diaper change, and to be able to sit and write without worrying about or tuning out fretful crying. It's nice to be by myself and to be able to shut my office door and have Peace and Quiet, the ever-elusive, much longed-for states that motherhood shuts the door on with a firm and resounding bang!

My anxiety about leaving E is much less than I thought it would be, which makes me wonder if staying at home is the right decision for me after all. Maybe it'll be better for me to have a break and interact with grownups than to stay with him all the time. I do love my job a lot. If it were a mindless desk job this would be such an easier decision, but it is pretty much my dream job, and although it comes with its own shares of frustrations, it will be really hard to give it up.

Two more weeks before I make my final decision. We'll see what the remaining days will bring.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Back To Work

Well, tomorrow is the big day - my first day back at work after 12 wonderful weeks home with E. Every time I think about leaving him at day care tomorrow morning I have a little mini panic attack and my chest gets all tight and clutchy.

I know I can do it, I just have to figure out how. Get myself up and ready, get the kid up and fed, get his stuff organized, pack my lunch and gym bag and somehow get out the door on time. I'll try to do as much as i can the night before to give myself an edge. I'm not sure how long it'll take to get from my house to daycare, or how long the drop-off process will take.

I can't bear the thought of leaving my sweet boy all day. The town where we live and where he will be in care is 35 minutes away from my work, so I can't even go snuggle him on my lunch break. :( My good friend L has volunteered to go snuggle him on her lunch break, which I do appreciate.

To be honest, this is just a trial run. Mr M and I have been talking a lot about it and have pretty much decided that I am going to quit and stay at home with E. I wasn't supposed to be able to have ONE child, so there's no guarantee that I will ever have this experience again. I do feel like I need to try to go back to work for a while, though, so I can make an informed decision about what my life would be like either way.

Wish me luck for minimum hysterics and tears tomorrow as I leave my little one in someone else's arms.