I am a preschool teacher getting ready to go back to work full time after a blissful seven months of maternity leave. I love teaching, but at the same time wish I had more time to be at home. I am struggling with all of the feelings that go along with this, anticipating how much I will miss my baby, and being so sad that our special time together is coming to an end.
Now what’s the catch-22? Typically, the kids are so desperate for my attention when we are together that they resort to whining and crying and just generally being awful in order to get that attention. Surprising absolutely no one, that kind of behavior only annoys the shit out of me and makes me irritable. Which means I’m short-tempered. Which does absolutely nothing for my ability to properly deal with their whiny behavior. Which means it only gets worse. Which makes me tell them to just leavemealone! And the cycle starts again.
When my partner and I think about starting a family down the road, we know that as two women we will most likely choose to work with a sperm bank. I am positive that route makes the most sense for us and our future family, but I still can’t quite wrap my mind around the idea of a sperm bank. They seem so sci-fi!
Yes, I am part of the group that parents my daughter, but I am not the only one. I cannot imagine denying her the incredible formative experiences that she is getting now, and that she will continue to get. I am comfortable saying that I am not my child’s only parent. She has over a dozen! She has all these people who are equally invested in guiding her, loving her and seeing her grow into a responsible adult.
The upside of this situation is that we found out that my husband IS the better stay at home parent. This could be because he really didn’t enjoy his “on call” job very much, or it could be that he hasn’t spent the last 10 months 24/7 with a little baby happily suckling his nipples, but he is happier at home, gets more done than I ever did, and our baby is happier camper for him. Instead of me waiting for him to get home at question mark o’clock from his crummy job, he knows I will be back at lunch time for breastfeeding, then at 4:30 on the dot for more breastfeeding. We get supper on the table together, take a walk as a family, then both tackle bedtime together. Sometimes we even have time for sex.
Stay-at-home-dads are slowly making a cultural creep into relevance: we’re seeing more dads who either by choice or circumstance are finding themselves happily keeping up the homestead while their partners work outside the home. Here’s a recent piece from NPR with more.
You’ve heard about blogging conferences and events, right? Basically, a huge group of bloggers get together in a pre-determined location to do what people do at work conferences — network, hang out, and learn. Or, that’s what I’ve always assumed happens at work conferences, but according to this piece published by the Wall Street Journal, the only thing that happens when you gather a large group of mothers who blog together is a whole bunch of selfies and mini bar raiding.
Friends and family often wonder how I “do it all” but the truth is there isn’t any magic to it. I think of how much time I spend apart from my children, and launch into panic mode. I know I’m being a responsible parent by providing the health insurance, food, and security that my job affords my family, but I can’t help but feel that just as not every parent is meant to stay at home, not every parent is meant to be away.