Sunday, November 07, 2010

One Week Perspective as a Working Mom

I'm feeling much better after my boo-hoo kitty post from Monday. Holly does indeed remember who I am and is once again giving me smiles and coos. It's been an adjustment, no doubt, but we're slowly working our way into a new routine. She's attending an at-home daycare with 4 other kids, ages 3-7. The older kids are in school during the day so mornings are just her and one other boy who thinks she is AWESOME! He talks to her all day long, and once Steve walked in to find him doing somersaults in front of her. Four months old and already she's got herself boyfriend. The other kids are enamored of her as well, tickling her feet and generally making her the center of attention. She's obviously loving it; even after one week she's already trying to make new sounds we've never heard before. The only downfall is that with all the activity she's not napping well in the afternoon and by the time we get her home she's pretty cranky. Hopefully that will get better as our routines get more established.

I keep my friends close...and my enemies closer

As for work, it's surprising how everything is almost exactly the same but then it's completely different. The status of the program seems to have been swirling for the past four months such that I was able to step right in pretty much at the same point I left off. Of course there has been progress, but I was in a meeting on Thursday where I swear we were having the exact same broken-record discussion from before I left. That was pretty depressing. Even more depressing, however, is how empty the parking lot is these days. We've lost a lot of good people from this program over the past year. There's a dejected atmosphere in the hallways, a lot of gallows humor. Hopefully we can stop dicking around and start building something that isn't powerpoint charts.

Works every time!

Before having Holly I used to come in early, leave late, and dedicate my energy to my job. I knew that I wouldn't be able to devote that kind of commitment after having a baby but I didn't really realize what that meant. I thought it mostly meant leaving work at a consistent hour, which is true, but more than that. I have to pump twice during the day to keep my milk supply up and that takes about an hour all told. Steve and I are alternating drop-off/pick-up at daycare but because we are going to a lady's house the hours aren't as generous as for a standard daycare center. To top it all off she starts her bedtime routine at 6:30 so there's very little time to play with each other after I get home. In other words, it's very difficult to get my 9 hours in and still be a good mom. I was feeling pretty dejected about the new reality until I made the decision to apply to work part time. I figure that a 7hr work day will still allow me to get the bulk of my job done and be a good mom to boot. I asked my (new) boss about this and he was on board with the idea. I submitted the paperwork on Friday and haven't received it back yet, but I'm pretty sure it will be approved. I'm already mentally committed to being a part-time employee so I really really really hope everything goes ok.

Hey - the monkey's got something to say to you:

Monday, November 01, 2010

Back to the Salt Mines

So I went back to work today. I didn't know if I would be like a lot of moms who cry in the car after they drop their kids of at daycare for the first time, and it turns out I wasn't. I felt ok leaving Holly in the hands of the care provider we selected, and gave her a big hug and lots of kisses on my way out the door. We had done a trial run for a few hours last week and everything went fine so I wasn't worried about a major meltdown. I think I was also excited to go back to work and see all of my old coworkers again, if nothing else than for the novelty of the first real grownup day in the past four months. It was nice, in a way, to be back at work. I couldn't log into my computer so I spent most of the day visiting with old friends and catching up on the latest work status/gossip. It touched my heart to be welcomed back so warmly by everyone from teammates to janitors to the lunch lady.

Since I did the drop off this morning, Steve picked our little girl up from daycare just before five; I joined the family at home an hour later. I was so full of anticipation to have her crack that huge grin of hers when she saw me after the long day. I ran upstairs to our bedroom, threw down my things, leaned over her where she was laying on the bed and.....

...I swear to god she didn't even know who I was. She didn't look at me. She was smiling at daddy but I couldn't get her to make eye contact with me. I picked her up and cuddled her and she seemed wholly ambivalent. I even took her to the mirror which always earns a huge smile and a squeal when she sees my reflection, but this time she looked at the poster on the wall, the light fixture; anywhere but at me. And in that moment I understood the motive of every parent with a guilt complex who tried to buy their child's love. I felt a panicky desperation at having been unseated as "#1 coolest person in the universe" and I wanted to do anything to go back to the way things were.

In other words it broke my heart. After a full day of having our baby in daycare I finally felt the tears welling up in my eyes. Then after only being home for 45 minutes it was already time to put her to bed. Not to mention the fact that she reeks of nasty formula. This fucking sucks.

I'm going to chalk her behavior up a bewildering first day in a strange new place with strange new people and just hope that things will get better as it becomes routine. Mom's get paid in smiles. I can't loose that.