Working too much, Part 1

My new job has become permanent. Hooray me! I’m excited and a little afraid. Because in the same week, I had to ask another mom to take the Bumblebee to an activity that I couldn’t drive her to, due to having to work.

I have such conflicted feelings about the work-parenting split. On the one hand, I like working and I really like what I do for a living. I feel like it makes a difference to people, and I help to improve people’s lives. On the other hand, I have a job where I occasionally have to work nights and weekends, and that means missing time with my kids. It means that sometimes, when I call my daughter to tell her good night on a night that I am working late, she sobs into the phone, “Mommy, I need you!” And I have to tell myself, “she’s with her dad, she’s loved, she just needs sleep,” to keep from rushing home and tucking her in to bed.

The Sweet Potato isn’t verbal enough yet to tell us how he feels, but he does tend to throw himself on the floor dramatically if he’s not getting enough attention.

When I decided to have a child, I knew that I would have to make changes in my worklife. I was the kind of person who would work 10 hour days routinely, and I knew that wasn’t sustainable. When the BB was born, I became the kind of worker who is out the door at 5:00 on the dot, most days. I would work late maybe once a month. Then I changed jobs, and I had to work a few more late nights a month, and since then, I’ve basically been in a position where I work one or two late nights a week (but if I work two in a week, I don’t work late at all the next week). DH is basically on the same kind of schedule, and while it requires frequent calendar check-ins, it’s been sustainable.

The thing that has changed this year is school, and with it, after-school activities. When both kids were in daycare, one of us would pick them up at the end of the day, and then we’d all eat dinner together, have our family time, and put the kids to bed. If one parent had to work late, the other could handle the routine pretty easily. This year is so much more complicated. There are two pickups now, instead of one (since the BB can’t go to the afterschool program at the SP’s daycare, due to location.). And there are after-school activities that the BB wants to participate in. Things that happen at night, or in the late afternoon. So far, we’ve mostly been able to work it out, but I can see that I’m only a couple of steps away from becoming the mom who’s always relying on someone else to carpool. It helps that I am working at home, because some of the other moms know they can call me during the day if they need something. But it still sucks for my kids.

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March 11, 2005. work.

3 Comments

  1. Chip replied:

    My mom worked nights when I was very little and I can vividly remember we would call her to say goodnight and be sobbing and sobbing… Must have been hard for her, though I don’t think we were scarred for life by it.

    That parenting/working split is the hardest part of parenting I think. And the whole afterschool stuff is tough too. We ended up finding other parents who we could swap pick-ups and drop-offs with, that usually worked out pretty well.

  2. LeggyP replied:

    I’m with you. I work part-time out of my house, but I’m not the most efficient person with my time so I end up needing to work some nights. Also, I do some volunteer activities and those meetings are at night. Its hard to get out of the house- sometimes I’ve had to cancel an activity because he’s freaking out so much.

    Last night we went to his school fundraiser. He FLIPPED OUT when he saw me dressed up (since I work from home I wear jeans/sweats all the time- if I’m dressed up, we must be doing something cool). The babysitter had to physically restrain him so we could get out of the house. It was awful. But then we came home and she said he was fine 5 minutes later.

  3. landismom replied:

    Leggy–HA! DH and I went to a wedding on Saturday night. We left the kids with my brother and SIL & their daughter. SP was fine when he thought we were leaving the BB and taking him with us. But when he realized that the plan was for HIM to stay there too, the screams split the air.

    Chip–I was reading something the other day where the writer was saying that the motto of parenting should be “this too shall pass.” It’s interesting to have your perspective on things–so many parenting blogs are written by people who have really young kids, and I think that your take on the issues benefits from years of experience.

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