Monday, April 30, 2012

Gut check

I honestly don't know how to articulate the frenzy of emotions I've been going through in recent weeks. The past two weeks were beyond rough for me, largely because I agreed to pick up some extra daytime shifts at work... but Ellie's recent attitude (i.e. her 2-year-old-ness) has also been wearing me down, as has the lack of sleep I'm enduring on the Katie end of things. Basically I'm a mess.
Depending on the day, or the hour, I alternately want to quit my job completely or go back full-time (just for a break!). The thing is, I remember how hard it was to go back to work when Ellie was little and how guilty I felt being away from her. As hard as it sometimes is to be at home with the girls — and it's not ALWAYS hard, but it does always take a lot of energy — I'm pretty sure I'd have that guilt piled right back on top of me if I was back working 40 hours a week. And I think I would be super frustrated knowing that most of my salary was going directly into the account of whatever day care center we signed them up for. So, once again, I land on the decision to be at home. So why am I having such a hard time with it?
I'm trying to sort it all out and hope to make heads-or-tails of my emotions as the work schedule returns to a more manageable level. I'm also going to make more of an effort to rest when possible during the day, to help clear the cobwebs from my head... but the girls are doing a pretty good job of trading off on nap times rather than coordinating, so there's not often time during the day when both are asleep. At least I've made peace (for the most part) with the imperfect breastfeeding reality.
[In Katie's first three months we've run a full spectrum of non-stop nursing sessions, nursing-plus-pumping, and now a weird combo of nursing sometimes and pumping sometimes. The nursing strike Katie started several weeks back never really subsided. I could get her to latch briefly during daytime sessions, but only after lots of fussing. And I'd still have to give her a supplemental bottle of pumped stuff or formula afterward. So about 10 days ago I stopped nursing her during the day. Katie is fine nursing in the middle of the night and first thing in the morning, when I have a higher supply and she's more sleepy/relaxed, but she's not having it later on. So I pump during the day and am able to get enough for more than half of Katie's bottles... and that's the way it is.]
Back to the daily grind stuff... Don't get me wrong, the girls and I have fun. I try to fill our days with games, laughter, trips to the library or gym or park. But I get frustrated by Ellie's antics, her refusal to listen to directions and constant testing of my limits. I know it's the age and I'm trying to be a good role model and teacher to her... but on a particularly bad day last week Ellie turned to me and shouted "stop yelling at me!" Wow, did that hurt. Yes, she was being overly dramatic about my umpteenth correction of whatever it was she was doing that she wasn't supposed to be doing... but it forced me to look at my own actions and whether I'm creating the nurturing environment that I want our girls to have.
(Big sigh)
I never thought it would be so much work to NOT work (at least outside the home...) I never thought I'd be in this position and be complaining so much and feeling so lost.
I'm sure I'll figure it all out, with Brian's help and support, but right now I'm a mess. As I try to keep all of these "problems" in perspective, given the friends we have facing much more intense situations like adoption uncertainty or loss of family, please send some good thoughts or long-distance hugs our way. Oh, and if you have any extra energy lying around I could use that, too.


  1. Love your openness. Hang in there. Being a stay at home mom has been my hardest challenge in life, but the great times make it all worth it! Your kids will be grateful...someday. :)

  2. Yeah, stay-at-home parenting is greatly underestimated! I never dreamed it would be as much work as it really is...especially with a toddler and a newborn. I'm sending good thoughts your way, and do the same for me because I could relate to almost everything you wrote about in this post!