One More Hour PLEASE?!

Stretching (and happy) in the morning!

Dear G-d,

I wish more than anything for a pause button between the hours of 5:30 PM (when I pick up Maya) til 6:30-7, when she starts rubbing her eyes.

Every sleep book I read encourages listening for/looking for sleepy cues, and rubbing her eyes is one of them you kind of can’t miss. In fact, it could even mean she’s about to get OVER-tired … so we can’t keep her up just for selfish reasons.

As a mom who works outside of the home (I say that because ALL moms are working moms!) it’s particularly hard.

I know I have a lifetime with her, but I literally get two hours a day with my baby girl.

And it sucks.

She’s sleeping from (on average) 7:30/8 PM – 7 AM now … and she would sleep even longer probably if I didn’t have to wake her to get ready for baby school. While this is wonderful for her (and believe me, I’m NOT knocking her sleeping through the night (or STTN)!), this is (selfishly) bad for me. 😦

It means most mornings we don’t get that cuddle time we used to.

And it means I’m not nursing her most mornings now, either.

In fact, some mornings, if we’re rushed or let her sleep longer, she has her first bottle at baby school. GR.

Some mornings she wakes at 5/5:30 ready to party (or just talking to herself and blowing raspberries into the darkness), but even if she does wake up, she goes back to sleep after a little bit. So since I leave at 7:30 (hubby does the drop-off) I’m lucky to get 30 minutes with her.

I have toyed with the idea of waking her a little earlier each day so we’d get some time together, but I recognize that would be unfair to her (knowing babies at this age need at least 11-12 hours of night-time sleep, plus like 2-4 hours of daytime sleep) … and it’s not like we’re leaving at 6 or 7 whereby she HAS to wake, ya know? (Daddy brings her around 8).

So it’s been tough.

At the end of the day, I try to leave work by 5:15 the latest … and then basically we get home and play a little (or go for a walk, read, whatever), then it’s more or less a repeat cycle of bath/bottle/swaddle/bed. 😦

BOOM. Day over. Kaput.

I don’t mean to whine, as I’m sure a million women can relate. But it’s really grating on me … mostly because it’s not something I can easily “fix.”

Sleep is critical for her growth and development. Period.

I work from home Fridays so that is great … and I have Sat./Sun. with her (and I can pop on the webcam at baby school and hope to see her) … but I’ve been back at work now over a month, and it’s just not feeling like enough.

If I could just have a few more hours with her each day, I think I’d be happier … but though I love my job and it has the potential to be flexible, I don’t know how to broach that subject, or if I even really want to. Would I ask to work til like 3 and take a salary cut? I just don’t know … this might be one of those things where time will yield some clarity.

On the plus side, with her going to bed pretty consistently at night, I have time to spend with my husband or at the gym or blogging … but I’m not gonna lie — it’s HARD.

I remember when I was pregnant someone I value immensely shared some wise words on being a mom and working outside the home. She said, “Sometimes work will outweigh family, sometimes family will outweigh work. Sometimes the decision will be easy and obvious … and sometimes it won’t be so easy and obvious.”

I think I’m in that latter category right now.

It’s not a clear-cut, easy decision.

I mean, it wouldn’t be easy, but we could survive on one salary.

But at the same time, I enjoy the fulfillment work brings me, and the flexibility I have at my job; it’s a company I respect and admire and wish to stay at even if we were to move someday.

So that is what keeps me working — I enjoy what I do and wouldn’t want to not work. I just wish there were more hours in the day to spend with my daughter.

I guess until it becomes clearer, I’ll just have to keep making the most of that two hours we have a day with her … and soak it all in.

How about you? If you’re a mom, did you immediately go back to work? Did you arrange a flexible work schedule?

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7 thoughts on “One More Hour PLEASE?!

  1. Needless to say, this has me crying right now. I completely understand. We ARE surviving on one salary – MINE – along with unemployment that is just 1 month from running out and student loan money that carries the weight of future repayment.

    Sometimes I see Nate in the morning, sometimes I don’t. The earliest I ever get home at night is 6:30. Tuesday is 7:30, Wednesday is anywhere from 8:30 – 9:30. We need to move Nate’s bedtime back, too (the whole eye rubbing thing) but I hate the idea. And the hubby doesn’t want him waking up earlier in the morning because that would then mean HE has to get up earlier. It’s a huge mess right now.

    And to make it all worse, neither work nor family is winning for me right now. I’m behind on both (and school). I’m beginning to realize that something is going to have to give. It seems unfair.

  2. ((Candice)) I am so sorry … it is so hard trying to do it all. It’s like the protagonist in I Don’t Know How She Does It discovers … we *can* be great at both, but not at the same time. It’s a sad, sad reality. 😦 I don’t like it one little bit. I am just sorry … I think this is every working woman’s dilemma and especially if you’re the one who is working and can’t organize his sleep to work for you. Hang in there … and maybe ease into earlier night night times?

    1. In the end, Tom and I are both strongly committed to what’s best for Nate above all (like you and Luis are for Maya) so that makes us do the things that are hard and that we don’t like. I’m confident we’ll find our way on this. And it’s always great having a friend to talk to about these things. It’s hard to fully understand without being immersed in it.

      1. Exactly–that’s just it. We have to do things we don’t like. For us, that means putting her to bed earlier than we want. AMEN–so good to have friends who understand!! It definitely helps–I’m grateful for you 🙂 Oh and a friend of mine told me her baby (at about 6 mths) was going to sleep at 6 and I was shocked. But now I see why/how it happens. They need it!!!!! (Even though it kills her to do it).

  3. Do you read Healthy Tipping Point? A couple weeks ago Caitlin did a series of posts on work/life balance that I thought were really eye-opening. I’ll try to find the links.

    I feel like I have worked out a good system, although it took me awhile to get here. I wake up and work from (yes I know this sounds nuts) 4-6 a.m. a few days a week, before my son gets up. Many days I also work at night after he goes to bed, or during his naps on the weekends. But the tradeoff is that I usually am only in the office from 9-4 and get to spend extra time with him. It works well for my family, and I’m still able to put in the hours I need to so I can not only get my work done but also advance in my career. I do feel overworked sometimes, but really, who doesn’t? 🙂

  4. I totally understand where you are coming from. It seems like you really love your job so I can see how you are in such a struggle. I agree that you should wait it out a little but I would suggest cutting your hours. I think that would give you more time without leaving your job completely. Just a thought.

    I was home with my son for the first year and a half. I remember when I went back to work it was the hardest thing for me. I never had a “career” like you do and I was just working because I had to. I have always wanted to stay home but never could. I worked all these mostly feeling terrible and guilty that I couldn’t be there for my son. He is now 13 and I recently quit my job (something my husband finally convinced me to do) and I’m home with him for the first time. Money is a little tight but we are getting by. For me and my husband there is no doubt having extra money is no longer worth the stress and the guilt that I had while working.

    Sorry for such a long post. I’m sure that the answer will come to you. Good luck and I will be waiting to see what you decide.

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