Tuesday, April 25, 2006

I want to stay home with you on Wednesday, Mommy

Good God, does it never end? The guilt...the worry...the ever-increasing doubt?

For almost a year, I stayed home on Wednesdays with Sam. It started out as a self-preservation measure, as I wasn't at all mentally stable enough to deal with a full week of clients and co-workers. But it quickly morphed into something much more, when I realized that Sam needed it too. His little world had been rocked of its axis and he was struggling so very valiantly to try to regain his balance. Words like "hospital" and "dead" and "angel" popped into his three-year-old vocabulary much too soon and without any preparatory foundation. He tried to understand why mommy and daddy were crying. He tried to understand where Baby Alex went. He tried to figure out, in his own way, what this all meant for him. And in true Sam fashion, when the chips were down, he needed mommy.

So I gave him Wednesdays. We never did anything special. Mostly we hung around the house and played. Occasionally we would make an outing...but it was really just "our time" to hang out and just be together. He even started to understand the calendar in this routine. Wednesdays were days that he stayed home with Mommy.

I went back to full time at work last week. It was punctuated with a day off for funeral attendance...and resulted in extra time with Sam that I would have otherwise lost. This week, however, there are no funerals to attend and no reasons to take time off. I need to save up some cash for leave at the end of this summer...which we will optimistically refer to as maternity leave from now on. I need to earn up some extra vacation days so I don't have to spend so much time without pay on my maternity leave. There is no way around it. If we want to keep paying our bills for the six weeks after the Beast is born, I have to go back to work full time right now. And I hate it.

But what I hate even more is when Sam looks at me with that begging look and says, "I want to stay home with you on Wednesday, Mommy." I don't know how to make him understand things like vacation time and savings in the bank. I can only tell him that we're trying to make it so that Mommy can stay home on Wednesdays again in a few months. But I can see that it doesn't make sense to him. Hell...it barely makes sense to me. It's all so logical...not emotional...yeah right.

See, I'm not one of those moms who wants to stay home with her kids. Or, at least, I wasn't. I spent the first 15 months of Sam's life at home with him. And when I was offered a job, I jumped at it. Not only because the money meant we could keep our house, but because I was simply going stir crazy in that house with no adult interaction. I simply wasn't cut out for the stay-at-home bit. And when we saw how well Sam developed in daycare, we were convinced that it was the right choice for us.

And now I guess all that delayed guilt and whatnot is starting to catch up with me.

August Sam...can you please just hang in there with mommy until August?


Jill said...

You poor thing. They don't know how to deliver soft blows with their questions do they? Guess they have to make up for their size somehow:)

Of course now it has occurred to you, it will be hard not to start counting up the days of guilt you think you forgot to have over the years. But don't. Being a stay at home mother is no gold standard, particularly if it makes you resentful, angry and less able to deliver 'quality time'.

You have set a great example for Sam in helping him experience the most fulfilled mother possible. Of course Alex's death complicates that statement. Hey, and not to mention his future wife...she'll be grateful not to have married someone who needs looking after so much!!

You'd be spending everyday of your leave apologising for not doing this so you can't win ;-) You'll just have two people to feel badly for instead of only Sam. You know it's just part of the job :)

Sarah said...

I hope your wednesday is going ok at work... That was a tough one Sam threw at you! It sounds like you're doing the best thing possible, it's just hard to understnad when you're three.

kate said...

((((((hugs)))))) You know he will be okay...but it is hard and i am sorry. I'm not cut out for full SAH mom-hood either, but i do find that part-time (rather than full time) daycare is the ideal solution for us. It does cut down, somehow, on the mommy guilt factor. I am very thankful that my schedule & my job allow me to have this option. I hope you can get your wednesdays back, after the Beast is born!

Diana said...

oh, I went through the same thing when I came back to work. My son gets Wed.'s with my sister, who elected staying home from her job to be with him. Our's aren't the same as your circumstances, but it hurts just the same when your baby wants you. I hope you can make it to August with out missing him too much. I bet the hug he gives you when he sees you later will be extra tight.

msfitzita said...

(((((((HUGS))))))) for you and Sam. It's hard now, but he'll be overjoyed to be home with Mommy AND a new baby in the summer.

Hang in there. Both of you.

It's coming and it's going to be wonderful.


deadbabymama said...

Aw Sam, I know just how you feel little dude!

Catherine - thanks for posting the stuff about guilt. I know I'm not cut out for staying home full time for very long and am starting to get funny looks when I say I'm planning on going back part time in the fall. It is a HUGE issue that needs airing so thanks for being open about it.