December 9, 2011


I didn't mean to take a month off!

The truth is dawning on me: I blog to escape and/or analyze my life. Slow afternoon at work, but I need to stay on the computer and be available? Read some blogs. Something is itching at me mentally? Blog about it in order to process it. Feeling restless and wanting to skip to the end of whatever phase of life is passing by? Troll the internet so I feel like I'm going somewhere.

Well, now that all the family is gone and we have December with just the three of us, I don't have any of the above 'needs'. Somehow, being Brex's mother has stilled the restlessness in me. If I try to jump ahead to the 'next' phase, I'll miss the one he's in now, and I don't want to do that.

Each day feels like a gift to have him and have the chance to be on this side of the Mom line. In terms of crossing that line, I'd mostly given up (most of the time). My thread of hope was tattered and I didn't let myself picture what it would be like to be a Mom. In contrast to when I was younger and just assumed I'd spend most of my life mothering, I'd shifted to avoiding the kids' sections of stores, not cooing (too much) over baby shoes or hats, and tending towards friends who didn't have children.

It's strange and good now to be going to the '2011 playgroup' (went yesterday for the first time. Collection of very nice alpha Moms and fun kids.), to find out about the nursery at church, to gush over fat little baby feet and edible baby cheeks. I have a bone deep contentment that I'm finding surprising and very welcome.

Which leads to my current dilemma: daycare! Ugh.

I'm supposed to start work January 3rd. I haven't found an option that really works. There's one near the house that feels like a baby warehouse to me. Nothing terrible about it, but it didn't feel happy either. The workers looked like they were putting in time at a job. In the building next to Jrex's at UT, there's a daycare that felt a LOT happier, but that's a 20-minute drive. I hate the idea that if I'm doing the pickup/dropoff, I'll waste an hour and a half a day in driving. If Jrex takes him, I hate the idea that I wouldn't see Brex from 7 AM until 7 PM. That's unacceptable to me. There is a daycare at UT that only does admissions in August. That one is amazing, but we may or may not get in, and we need a solution in the meantime. My hope would be that by August, Jrex could come home a little earlier in the evenings and that I could do the morning drop off. I'm following up on one lead for a home-based daycare right down the street. I'll visit on Monday and see if it's a fit. She makes organic food for the kids and only takes 6 at a time. The review said that she's a great middle-ground between a nanny and a traditional day care.

I've reached out to a cool stay-at-home mom a block away and will see if that pans out. I would love to have someone like that bring my kid into her fold (I'd pay what I would to a daycare, but feel MUCH better about it). Obviously, I don't have much time yet, so I'm freaking out a little about that.

Of course the bigger question is whether I should jump on the mommy-track. The problem with being a designer and doing that, my computer skills would become obsolete VERY quickly. It seems a bit short-sighted to throw away years of amassing skills when it's unlikely I'd be able to get back into the job force as a 50-something graphic designer.

There's a teaching position I may apply for, but it's at a school that's a 50-minute drive from here. The position calls for teaching four classes on a tenure-track. As much as teaching sounds like a great fit with parenting, I'm not sure that particular job would be the right pick. I'll likely go through the application process just to get my portfolio up to speed, plus it will give me an idea if I'm at all competitive in the academic arena.

Other tidbits from the long silence:
  • OTRbro and OTRdad came for Thanksgiving and cranked out a bunch of home projects. OTRbro found out that he actually liked the blob phase (or at least Brex's version of it).
  • I've already ruined Brex. Due to his sleeping position, his head has flattened out on the right back side. Sigh. Now I have to wedge him with rolled up towels to make him sleep on his side (something a daycare is unlikely to do!) Those baby helmets cost thousands of dollars and aren't covered by most insurers. Ugh.
  • After the 2-month pediatrician visit, I became the mommy torture queen. Not only did I stop swaddling him to sleep, I had to do the towel bit AND give him lots of 'tummy time' (a.k.a. "baby-scream-his-lungs-out time"). All to try to give him a lifetime with a head he can shave without shame. Poor Mom K worked her butt off to keep Brex happy and content so he'll develop a good personality, only to have me come along and trash it all!


scarp said...

I'm so glad you are enjoying your baby and being his mom so much! It is pretty awesome, isn't it?

I'd wondered if you would consider staying home once the baby was born and you had this time at home with him. For me, being a mom was always more important than a career, so I am biased. But in contrast to your comment that it seems a set to have amassed your skills and then stop working now, I'd ask about the time you are going to miss having with him every day of his childhood. Does the career measure up against being there for all his firsts? Like I said, I'm biased towards staying home, so take in the thoughts of others from the bother side,too. But for me, staying home wins hands down, every time. Plus, think about the worldview/ religious training that goes on in the middle of all those day to day moments.

Ok, I'm gonna stop. I'll be praying you truly hear from the Lord on this one... And really, what's right for you. Not my personal opinion.

scarp said...

"that it seems a waste"

Lil'Sis said...

so happy for you, for Brex and the entire family!

Daycare is tough, I'd say usually tougher on mom than anyone else, having done it with my 3 as staying home wasn't an option I sympathize and will be praying for the right fit to cross your path, whether it's home/work/ work from home/ or a combo of all the above...knowing no fit will be "perfect" from a mom's perspective, but striving for the one that's as close to that as you can find is a good starting point...again, I'll be praying.

Also, the investment in tummy time is so worth it, he's not going to remember the crying, but he will see his head looking funny if you don't do it right, that's how I always balanced it, that and distraction...seriously I resorted to complete self mortification to entertain kids while on tummies, thank goodness they didn't have youtube access to film my antics that I employed to distract them!

Mizasiwa said...

Not sure how it would work for you but have you thought of the au pair option? perhaps for only the hours you need to work an a on call facility for those deadline days ;-) (yup i have learnt what the life of a Designer is about) It sounded like it worked really well for Snickollet not sure what your options/finances are but it seems like a good idea most of the time. We had an horific time with angel boy and daycare but i dont think that is the norm... as Brex gets older play groups can be a fun alternative but i too will pray that the right path crosses yours as it normally does. (I am praying that for myself too - job interview today!) Im so glad to see your post today iv been wondering about you for weeks (knowing it can be wild with a newborn but hoping you would come back with an update so thank you very much) Keep well and enjoy the festive season - your first as a mom SO,MUCH.FUN!

Anonymous said...

Mizasiwa made an excellent point -- an au pair. And I realized, that's what my parents did with me. Of course the term "au pair" hadn't entered the American vocabulary in the '30s, and even if it had been with us, the term would have been pretentious in Jonesville.

But our "au pairs" dealt with a recurring problem. The school bus system was curtailed due to the depression. Some girls, who wanted to go to high school, lived on farms beyond the range of the buses. So the solution for them was to live in town during their high school years. Result: A live-in nanny for the Towes.

I remember Agnes well. She not only looked after me, she also helped with the house cleaning and cooking. There was the time she made rum cake -- and used the real thing, rather than the flavoring.
Mom took one bite and told me sternly, "Don't eat any of this!" Dad lapped it up, and fed some of it to Toto, Aunt Marian's dog. I thought it was hilarious to see him wobble around the room and bump into the furniture.

Agnes was a good choice. She was the high school valedictorian. In contrast, we had another live-in gal when we moved to Ann Arbor. She was gorgeous, but not much of a student, and she flunked out.

The trick is to find someone who is desperate for housing and who can spend the day looking after Brex -- someone who is realiable, someone you can trust. Someone like Zonker? Only better.

Maybe someone who works evenings?

Mike Scudder said...

Note that the title should really be 'moms with part time jobs are healthier and happier'

Inkling said...

I wish I lived closer and could take your little guy in. I hear you on the dilemma about skills becoming obsolete.

Because of living in Canada and leaving my career behind (and not being properly certified or degreed to do the same job in my new home), working outside the home after Jonathan was born wasn't an option. But after being at home for almost three years, I have to admit that I feel like I've lost my touch, my skills, my abilities. I can talk poop and diapers and toddler-speak with the best of them, but I can no longer remember how to teach slope or how to diagram a sentence, and I definitely am rusty on Latin and logic. I do wish my story had included somehow getting to keep that part of my brain intact. And I have to say that not going in the red every month and having the opportunity to actually save some money for a house or something would be such a dream. ;)

I hope you find a perfect fit for you family and for your little guy. Speaking as somebody who has been a nanny twice, I can attest that there are people out there who will do their very best to love on your kiddo the way you would like.

Rachel said...

I'm happy to hear that you are enjoying motherhood. The home day care sounds good, and I also like the idea of an au pair. The baby will be fine; however, you should think about what you want/ need.

There are lots of different ways to make it all work. I'm sure you will figure it out.