Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Working Mom Struggles, and How Not To Relate

So, at the risk of sounding like one of those "It's so hard for a working mom" whiners, I have to say that being a working mom can sometimes suck.  After I went back to work I had a really hard time the first few weeks because I felt like I had just started to get good at being a mom and then I had to give it up to go back to a job that I felt like I sucked at, working for people I didn't think gave a crap whether I was there or not.  It was not an ideal situation.  But, I'm the breadwinner in our family and I knew I wouldn't be happy being a stay-at-home mom for the long term anyway.  So I ripped off the band-aid and went back.  That was hard.  It was hard because I dropped my daughter off at my mother's house at 6:30 in the morning and often didn't get back to pick her up until 6:00 at night so I wasn't even home until 6:30, and when she goes to sleep at 7:30, that makes life rough.  I felt like I never saw her or spent time with her or did anything she needed me to do as her mom.  I started feeling like my mom was stepping into that role instead of me, and that hurt.  A lot.  I tried to make the most of my time, but it wasn't a lot of time and I had other responsibilities too.  I had dinner to cook, and dishes to wash, and dogs to walk, and a house to tidy and it wasn't always enough time was never enough time.  Never.

A friend was talking about how she just doesn't get enough time with her daughter and she really needs to capitalize on the time she has.  Then she told me she's working a total of 20 hours a week.  So.....that's at least 20 hours more than I get with my kid.  Forgive me for not sympathizing too much with your struggle.

Another is a teacher whose work day ends at 4:00 every day, and who gets summers off entirely to spend with her daughter.  So, again, not really relating to your situation.

The bottom line is, it's difficult for someone who gets 5 hours total with their child during the week to hear anyone who gets the luxury of significantly more time complain about their lack of time with their kid, or to be able to be sympathetic and act like I relate.  Because I don't relate.  I think those people are terribly lucky.  I envy them.  They don't know how good they have it.

The small bright spot is that with my husband's "career change", I'm no longer tethered to his work schedule so I'm able to come into the office earlier and leave a bit earlier during the day.  Now instead of leaving at 5:00, picking him up, getting stuck in traffic and not getting to my daughter until 6:00, I get to leave at 4:30 and go straight home.  Most days I'm home by 5:00, and he picks my daughter up after work because he gets out earlier, so by 5:00 we are home as a family most nights.  That gives me 2 and a half hours with her.  Sure, I still have to fit dishes and dinner into that time frame, but it gives me a little more flexibility and I get to see and spend time with her a little more each day.  I'd love for it to be more time, and I definitely wish it had been this way earlier on so that I didn't miss so much of her tiny baby months, but I'll take what I can get.

But people who get significantly more time with their kids probably shouldn't commiserate with me over how crappy it is.  You don't really get it.  And you're probably going to piss me off.

Friday, October 2, 2015


One of the things that sucks about becoming a parent for the first time is trying not to let your brain go to bad places when patterns start to emerge.  When you spend less time with friends you start to think "Is that because they don't want to be around me because of the kid?" and even if that has nothing to do with the situation, it's hard not to go there immediately.  Or, when people start to drop out of contact you wonder if you're now the obnoxious mom and no one wants to spend time with you.

In the past 9 months, a lot of things have happened.  My daughter is awesome, and she's doing all sorts of awesome things.  I love spending time with her, and I love watching her do new things, but I feel like it's all come at the price of other pieces of my life.  I feel like everyone around me has become distant.  Some of that leads to this weird need for some sort of connection that I talked about before, but it just goes deeper than that.  I have a friend who I used to talk to pretty regularly and see at least once a month.  Now she's busy all the time and I don't talk to her much at all.  It shifted pretty sharply after I went back to work.  Like, my daughter was a hot commodity for a quick minute and then everyone got bored with her and perhaps tired of me and ended up breaking away.  Now, if I try to get people together, most suddenly can't come, or if they can they stay for like an hour and then disappear.  It sucks.  I noticed it first at my birthday where half of my guests left before 8:00 p.m., if they showed up at all.  Contrast that with my husband's pre-baby birthday where everyone left at 2:00 a.m. and had a great time.  No one had to leave early for my birthday.  The kid was handled, everything was fine, but everyone was just.....gone.  Even one of my good friends, who I happen to work with, barely talks to me anymore.  He went through some stuff with his ex girlfriend a while back and I felt bad for him as he agonized over things and I wanted to be the person who would listen when he needed it.  But then, when that sort of ended, he drifted away as well.  I feel like I am at a point where I serve a purpose for people and once it's over, I'm not needed, or worse, not wanted.

I don't really talk to anyone anymore.  That's not an exaggeration.  Like....anyone.  Every time I try, I feel like I'm some sort of nuisance to whoever I'm talking to and they are just trying to get rid of me.  Conversations are brief if I have them, and it's really depressing.  Some of that is my choice, since there are a few people I'm keeping at arms length right now due to bad history, but for the most part it's just everyone else being wholly unavailable.  And, to be honest, it makes me really sad.  Like, I'm half crying as I sit here and type this.  I keep feeling like I'm there when people need me, but right now I've got some shit going on and no one is around.  At least no one I'd like to have around.  Though, I guess it wouldn't matter since I'm terrified to talk to anyone about anything at this point anyway, for fear of pushing them further away.

My husband took a temp job that has him completely unavailable all the time.  I haven't really talked to or had any help from him since he started it, and my weekends are spent alone.  It's like he was my last scrap of a connection, and even that was tremulous since he was always on edge due to his job and most of the time I was afraid to talk to him because he hated everything, but as long as it was just something generic like a tv show or the kid, we could at least chat.  Now that's gone too.  Now, it's just nothing.  A vast expanse of nothing and I'm lonely.  I'm lonely and I'm sad.  I find myself desperately trying to connect with co-workers who don't really have any interest in being bothered at work, and then the feeling of being a nuisance deepens.  So now, I'm just here.  Drifting around, wondering what I did wrong, and whether my worst fears of losing all sense of self and connection after becoming a parent are suddenly happening.

I'm basically torn completely down, and I wish someone wanted to help me collect the pieces and build them back up.