Congratulations, Sabine. You have just won yourself a seat at the only child table. Any shred of feeling that I wanted another child – be it through IVF, embryo adoption or regular adoption – has just been tossed down the drain.
I know these days are supposed to be developmental and only a tiny blip on the parenting radar but holy fucking shit. I can’t take anymore. I just called my husband and told him he needs to come home as soon as possible. I’m at that breaking point. I can not be whined at, hit, tugged on or bit one more time. She is an absolute angel for everyone but me and I KNOW this is because she feels safe and blah blah blah but it is just too much.
For the record I would never, ever harm my child or myself. I just want my fellow
sufferers parents to know that even I, she who will always and forever be able to “do it for herself” has found the threshold of “I can’t.” I love you guys and thank you for your words of wisdom and encouragement yesterday. It is truly the only thing carrying me through at the moment.
For the past 14 months I have felt like while I was not bringing home any money, I was doing a rockstar job raising a kid. Sabine was such a fun baby and we had great times together at home and our with friends. She was a happy kid and in my eyes that meant I was doing a good job. I at least went to bed most nights feeling like I had kicked parenting in the ass.
Lately that is changing. Sabine is challenging. She is always under my feet and always fussing. I try to play with her and she crawls off and fusses. I read her books that she used to sit for and she crawls off and throws more books at me. She yells at me when I offer food, she yells at me when I try to put her down for a nap, she yells at me when I step into the bathroom. She gets angry at her toys and furious when she tries to walk and fails (she still is not walking.)
I know she is frustrated with not being able to do the things she sees her friends doing, like walking and talking. I know that part of this is the age we are at (14 months) and that it is not always a reflection on my parenting. But when Daddy comes home and she is an angel for him, sitting still and listening to books, playing nicely and giggling up a storm it makes me slink off to the bathroom and cry. Sabine is a delight for Daddy, the sitter, her friends and their moms but not for me. I see this and all I can think is that clearly she would be happier in daycare.
I hate feeling like a failure and I really hate the days that I am relieved to put my kid to bed. I try to talk to my husband about these feelings and he just blows them off and then coddles his cat (who is having some issues of her own adjusting to the baby – a post for a later date).
The guilt I am feeling over all of this, plus the returning to work stress, is eating me alive. Compounding the issue are the complex emotions that come with parenting after infertility – I fought so damn hard for this and waited so damn long and now what? Now I don’t like it? I am failing at it? Are you kidding me? It is one thing to go to personal training school and decide it is not the career for you. It is an entirely different thing to go through IVF, have a baby and then feel this way about parenting.
Sabine is finally napping after being up since 6 a.m. (it is 2 now) and I am going to take a few minutes for myself. I’ll have a cup of coffee, eat some chocolate coconut ice cream and wait for your pearly words of wisdom and encouragement. Dirty dishes and laundry can wait an hour…
I need to be honest with you guys – I am not in love with being a stay-at-home mom.
I feel horrible saying that. Yes, I am so lucky to get to be with Sabine during these precious days and yes I am relishing each and every one of them. Seriously relishing because I know I will not have a second chance to experience this. Sabine will be our only.
That said, I miss going to work. I was so pumped about being my own boss and being a part-time personal trainer when we moved here that I overlooked how much I actually like being part of a creative team and how much I enjoy going to work. I miss marketing more than I ever thought I would and find myself looking at job posting regularly and day dreaming about suits and button ups as I put on another navy or grey t-shirt and cargo shorts (my mom uniform as of late).
I have talked to the Professor about this and he is, um, not super stoked. We spent quite a lot of money to send me to school to be a personal trainer and I still have not prepared for and taken my certification exams. I passed the school portion with a 95% average, which is great. I was told I will be an excellent trainer and have what it takes. But, my heart just is not where I thought it was. Gym clothes 24-7 does not sound as yummy as it did when I thought I wanted to be home with Sabine until college do we part.
Childcare is a major issue with my going back to work full-time. We can’t afford childcare until I am working, but here you have to enroll your kids at least a year before you are ready to send them around here. Will I be able to find work to pay for the childcare if we enroll her? I will have been out of the field for two years by then. Will anyone hire me for a marketing gig???
We do agree that we are not ready to send our baby who can’t talk, and can’t walk, off to daycare in a big, crime ridden city. I know this sounds crazy and people do it all the time but we are worried sick about it. We both agree that we’ll be ready once she can come home and say, “Mama, something bad happened today.” and have some concept of “Stranger danger.”
We had a nanny one day a week while I was in school and it was lovely but… not for us. Nanny culture here is that they act as parent, arranging play dates at other kids’ homes and taking the kids out to run errands and such. The problem is that the nannies don’t tell the parent where they are going. I would have no idea where our nanny took Sabine during the day and I never knew the homes she took her into. Were they child-proofed? Were they clean? Did she eat something she should not have? I had no way of knowing.
Call me over protective or crazy or whatever, but I am not cool with this. The icing on the “no nanny cake” was when I realized our nanny was taking Sabine all the way down to Broadway to run her personal errands. Broadway is a busy street and not always the safest. I am only comfortable taking myself down there during business hours and am always careful when Sabine is with me. People drive like lunatics, accidents happen regularly and there is a good bit of riff raff.
We interviewed other nannies and were surprised to find a lot of push back when we said we were not comfortable with this. I am more than comfortable with walks in our neighborhood, visits to the park across the street and regularly scheduled activities at organized public events like library time but just don’t feel comfortable letting a nanny run free with my kiddo and take her to into homes I do not know. This kind of trust is built over time with a nanny and as your child grows and develops a shred of common sense. It is not ok when your 8 month-old is still trying to taste cat turds she dug out of the litter box (thank heavens we are passed that now!)
So the nanny is out as a childcare option.
Yesterday I decided I was done running in hypothetical circles with my husband and I went to tour a nursery school at the local Presbyterian Church and it was LOVELY. The school has a Parent/Toddler program for littles like Sabine and then at 2 they can enroll in their “2’s Program,” which has a slew of scheduling options at deliciously realistic prices (still high compared to Kentucky but very reasonable by NYC standards). The school was clean and adorable and all the teachers were delightful and clearly loved what they were doing.
I fell in love. It felt safe, secure and happy there. They offer an instructional based curriculum meaning the kids don’t just run free for 6 hours each day, which I think is really important. I want Sabine to be learning WHILE she plays. It feels like such a good fit for us!
Today I went back and registered her for the fall Parent/Toddler Program. Starting in October we will together for 75 minutes twice a week to play, learn and sing. It is a great way to warm her up to the school and check it out. Next week the Professor’s mother will be visiting (also known as “The Investor” and “She Who Kindly Paid for IVF”) and we will take a tour together and then sit down to discuss some options for enrolling Sabine when she turns 2.
My emotions are not where I thought they would be with this. I feel such peace knowing that I can stay with her one more year, until she can talk and walk and that there is part-time or full-time school for her at 2. I am excited to see her grow and gain a little independence next year and am really excited to look at returning to the work force myself. And I am SO relieved to not have to have another discussion with another nanny about my overbearing wishes, too. I am also a little afraid the Professor will not agree! But we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it. Until then, I am going to day dream about watching my lovely little Lamb grow up and start a special school.
How do my fellow stay-at-home mom’s feel about their new “role.” Anyone else surprised at how they feel? And my readers who went back to work, how do you feel? Has anyone started with a part-time 2’s program and then bumped to full-time preschool at 3?