Monday, February 7, 2011

Notes on Motherhood - Working Mom, Stay-at-Home Dad

I've been back to work for three weeks. It's interesting. At first it was surprisingly nice. Everyone kept asking me if I was okay on my first few days in the office, and I actually felt great. I knew I was coming home to Judah in the evening and although I checked in with Isaac several times, I wasn't worried about them and it was wonderful being productive in the adult world.

Three weeks out, I'm finding it much more difficult. When I leave the sleepy little man in the morning I just ache knowing I'll be away all day. I think about his little face and expressions and feel like... I should be there.

Isaac's had a similar experience the other way around. At first I think he thought, "Yeah, I can do this, no problem." He got into a rhythm with the feedings and was able to do a lot of his graduate school reading while Judah was feeding or napping.

Now, though, he's hit several rough days. When Judah has a rough day, whether it's being just fussy or maybe having trouble feeding... it means Isaac ends up taking on that frustration (that usually only the moms really feel) and losing time doing his homework. When he's trying to cook or clean at the same time, it's close to overwhelming.

There are great things about this whole arrangement. I love it when I hear Isaac say things like, "This is definitely a full-time job" because I know he'll have a lot more appreciation whem I'm the one at home in the future. Since I'll probably miss out on being the stay-at-home parent for Judah's first year, I'll count it as a huge privalege when hopefully one day I DO get to stay at home with babies.

In some ways it works out really well because I'm the restless one out of the two of us. I like to be out, exploring, getting things done, DOING. Isaac is quite happy being at home all day long most of the time, and so being at home all day long with Judah really doesn't phase him in terms of feeling trapped or sapped of his independance.

On the other hand, I tend to be the more patient one, at least with external circumstances like a baby's needs or fussiness, and so in those moments of stress I wish I was the one with the baby.


And yes, I'm tired and I find it much more difficult to keep things clean. We decided today that Monday through Wednesday we'll have to scrap the whole homecooked dinner idea. It just isn't working for either one of us to cook, though that's easier on the budget and the waistline.

But I am still really thankful for this arrangement. It means Isaac gets to finish school without slowing down. It means Judah doesn't have to be in childcare. It means we are doing this as a team, doing whatever it takes to get through this stage, and growing to appreciate each other more in the process.


Rach said...

I'm sure it is really tough to be gone during the day, but it seems like you have a really good outlook about your situation. Jason and I hope in the future to be in a place where we can both work part time and both spend a decent amount of time at home with the kid(s). Although I love being home with Judah, I really wish Jason could spend more time with him too. 1.5 jobs can be tough, but that's where we are right now. Anyway, I appreciate the honesty in this post.

That Married Couple said...

This is me cheering you all on! As you realize, it's going to be tough no matter what, and it really sounds like you two are doing great!

Hannah said...

Despite the little bumps like your husband getting frustrated, you seem to have the whole working mom/stay-home dad thing on lock!

Andrew and I are the exact opposites, he's the patient one and I'm the easily frustrated one... I don't do well with kids and I'm not sure this instinct will ever kick in, if I asked him to be a stay at home dad in future though I think he'd think I was joking haha.

Rae said...

I think that our culture simply isn't set up well and there is a lot of needless pain for parents of young kids as there aren't good options available for most people. That said, it sounds like you're really making the most of your current situation! Hopefully things will be even more to your liking soon when Isaac graduates.