Monday, February 8, 2010

Careful what you wish for...

Last week was...insane? Nope, not strong enough. Strenuous? Nah, too limp. Ri-flipping-diculous? Now we're getting warmer.

I remember when Stella was an infant - a shrieking, nurse-a-holic, non-sleeping infant - how I envied Dave his 9-5, Monday-Friday work schedule. How luxurious it seemed to slip on the subway with the paper, chat with people your own age and engage your mind, eat lunch at your own pace, sip coffees and munch apples, and just be yourself - nobody constantly needing you - for chunk of time each day.

And so, I found myself wishing on a star that I could go back to work and contribute financially, that I could have time alone, that I could remember the unique attributes that made Randi Randi again, and not just a woman who accidentally ran over people's feet with her stroller and had baby poop on her sweater.

And so, as has happened many times in my life, I was granted my wish, and promptly realized how naive I was.

Last week I worked my ass off. Don't get me wrong - I'm still one of the lucky, rare saps who LOVES her job and I'm so grateful to have money during what could be a very scary time for us. But...

I didn't realize how much I'd miss Stella. And how tired I'd be. And how guilty I'd feel every day when she cried as I said goodbye. And how much I'd crave sitting on the couch in my snuggie, watching episodes of The Jersey Shore on TV.

And I didn't realize that my immune system, so used to regular sleep (now that Stella is the uber-perfect-sleeping child) and relatively relaxing days, would FREAK OUT with my schedule.

Here was last week, in a nutshell:
Weekend: Two parties, I baked for each one.

Monday: 8:30 - 4:00, teach
4:15 - 6:30, two separate tutoring jobs, with a brisk jog between.
7:00 - 7:30, spend time with Stella, feel guilty

Tuesday: 8:30 - 4:00, substitute teach for a really challenging class
4:15 - 5:15, tutor
5:15 - 5:45, buy groceries
6:15 - 7:30, spend time with Stella, feel guilty
8:30 - 10:00, bake cupcakes for a Bklyn Bakes order

Wednesday: 8:30 - 4:00, teach
4:15 - 5:00, do more shopping with Dave
5:00 - 7:30, spend time with Stella, feel guilty
8:30 - 10:00, decorate cupcakes for a Bklyn Bakes order

Thursday: 7:30 - 9:00, sleep in, due to a night of coughing my lungs off
9:30, leave for Manhattan for a day I planned with my BFF weeks ago
10:00, deliver Bklyn Bakes order
10:30 - 4:00, hang out with my friend, have a great lunch, drink a glass of wine, feel INCREDIBLY GUILTY for spending my first day off without Stella
5:00 - 7:30, spend time with Stella, feel guilty.
9:00, crash in a heap.

Friday: sleep most of the day, due to incredible sickness, feel like a piece of sh*t for not spending more time with Stella
6:30, leave during Stella's dinner to go into Manhattan to perform, feel guilty

You get the idea, although I should report that the following weekend included more baking, more sickness, and an effort to visit in-laws and friends amidst the fog.

And today I'm back at work. Coughing my lungs out. Feeling guilty.

I know I'll figure this working mom thing out, and I know that most weeks won't be nearly as hectic as last week, but this is tough. The strangest thing is when I find myself really loving my jobs, really getting into the teaching/tutoring/baking groove, and realizing that I've forgotten, for a brief moment, that I'm a mom. And then I hate myself.

But, then again, the best thing is that, when I come home, Stella's face lights up like a sunrise, and I find that I have a new found abundance of energy and enthusiasm. She sits in my lap and I read and read and read to her, smelling her hair and relishing the weight of her on my body. I appreciate her.

I appreciate my life. My crazy, hectic, brimming with good stuff life.


Old School/New School Mom said...

I know exactly how you feel! I am subbing for NYC DOE now. And when I am working I am really focuses on just that. But when I get home to my 2 year old son, I just constantly feel the neverending wave of mama guilt. It's doubly awful because I have the Jewish guilt and the mother guilt and the two combined!

You go Randi! Just know that you are doing the best that you can! I'm sure you are an amazing mama!

Anne Stesney said...

Oh Randi, I so get it. I went through the same thing. All I can say is, it gets better. Stella seems like such a social, independent kid. I'm sure she's thriving. And I'm sure all she remembers is that her mommy was always happy to see her.

Plus there is more than one study that proves working moms actually spend more quality time with their children. Which studies, you ask? Um, I dunno. Maybe they're BS. But I'm going with it.

Alaina said...

As a working mom I too suffer from the guilt of being away from my daughter. But I also suffer from the guilt because I would not stop working and be a stay at home mom if I had the choice.

I love having a successful career. I love being a Mom, of course. I hate the guilt, but it is part of the "you can't have it all" scenario that plays itself out time and time again.

I believe that the time I spend with my daughter is quality time, to make up for the reality that we don't always have quantity time. Plus I am confident that she is well taken care of when I am not around.

I also think that being a working Mom and supporting your family financially is very important example that we are setting for our daughters. My Mother is still a working mom and I have an extreme amount of respect for her.

So don't let the guilt get you down!