Friday, September 10, 2010

Part Time Parenting

So I supposed I should talk about my short stint as a working mother.

It sucked. The end.

Ok there's more to it. I nannied full time throughout my pregnancy (and well before) and began nannying with my primary family again (whom I've been with for 3 years last month) when Milo was 2 weeks old for the occasional day and one night a week. Very part time. Milo came with me, and the kids are so wonderful (4 year old twins and 8 year old) that it was total cake.

I had been working on getting my daycare started (licencing & preparing the home/yard) when Eric got laid off. This isn't an uncommon occurrence, Eric is in construction and jobs simply end, but lately the time between jobs have been long, like five or six months. I knew I could pick up a full time nanny position fast and Eric could stay home with Milo, so we decided to do that.

I'm not particularly pro working mom. No one can care for your child like you will, so I think one parent should always be home with the kids. As a nanny, I've seen families where both parents work full time and I think it takes a serious toll on their ability to parent. I know this is not the case for everyone, I see some families make it work beautifully but it's just that, serious work! However, I think that if you can afford it, someone should stay home. Going back to work because you love your career doesn't cut it with me, you should love your kids more. End rant.

So, Eric signed up as Mr. Mom and I was hired by a family that only needed temporary care for their six month old as they'd be moving to the east coast soon. I was needed 6:30am-2:30pm five, sometimes six days a week. Plus I still worked a few evenings with my primary family. Brutal. However, I knew it would be temporary so I pushed through and looked at it as an interesting experiment to see if a mother working full time really could have the best of both worlds.

Well, I'm young (25), very organized, healthy, high energy and passionate about both my work as a nanny and my role as a mother and I came nowhere close to "having it all." As much as I adore my son, I saw myself doing EXACTLY what I've watched many working mothers do. I did a lot to appease him so he would be quiet and I could rest after a long day of work. I wanted to see him but often would pass him off to Eric so I could just have a minute to myself. I missed cute things he was doing. I'd come home and have no idea what he needed, when he ate last, when he napped last, where he was at in his day or even just how his day was. Even if Eric said "Oh, he needs to eat in an hour" I wasn't apart of the flow of my child's day. I had been very closely bonded to my child and now that bond was loosened.

I'm not trying to lay a guilt trip on moms who have to be the bread winner. Because of the state of our economy more and more women are working when their husbands are laid off. A big part of being a mother is sacrifice, and that's one a lot of us are having to make now. I knew Milo was getting great care because he was with his father who of course loves him as much as I do, so I don't think Milo was missing out, but I was.

Thank God Eric got work sooner than expected (after only 3 months) and I am now only working on the weekends (which will end in November) and one evening a week. My days are absolute heaven now that I'm a full time mom again and not merely a part time parent. Motherhood is not just one of many hats for me, it's who I am and what I'm passionate about, and being able to be fully present in that role is better than a pay check or a pat on the back any day.

1 comment:

  1. It really is hard to come home after an exasperating day at work and jump straight into the mommy role and really do it well. I'm often so frazzled and exhausted by the time I get home that It's difficult to deal with everything. I really wish I could stay at home with O, but like you said, in this economy, we need my job. It's secure, it pays well enough, and I've had it forEVER, and I know I'm not going to be laid off any minute, leaving us destitute. It was definitely not our plan, and remains not our ideal, but it's working as well as anything for now, and I'm grateful Olive is able to stay home with her dad instead of being in day care, especially with all the medical crap she's gone through. Always remember how fortunate you are!