Working Mother's Second Shift

I am used to walking in the door after work and Libby having a slight meltdown. I don't know why, but she cries in a little panicky way when she sees me after I've been gone all day. I try to offload my purse and pump bag, get the parts into the sink, the melted ice pack into the freezer and remove my jewelry and shoes in 1.5 seconds so I can scoop her up before she's pulling on my pant legs which prevents me from being able to move an inch! This afternoon, after work, I got home and Libby was even more clingy than usual (if you can imagine)! Like, I-cannot-even-change-out-of-my-work-clothes-or-use-the-bathroom-alone clingy. I chalk it up to the fact that she had mommy home for six whole days last week and then BAM! I was back at work (and even worked through lunch yesterday so I didn't have my usual lunch date with her).

Anyway, J had an extended day at school (since they anticipate closing tomorrow due to more snow) and my mom had two clients and some errands. I needed to get Libby fed and make dinner so that when J got home he'd be fed too. We played and nursed and I even managed to fold and put away two baskets of clean clothes. No small feat when your cute one-year-old's favorite game is opening the drawer you just filled and pulling all the clothes out onto the floor!  After that, I got her settled into her high chair with some food while I got our dinner going (usually we all eat the same meal together but Libby has to have dinner by 5 p.m. or she's a wreck and J wasn't due home until 6 p.m.).

Once she was finished eating, she started to fuss, so I cleaned her up and popped her on my back in the Ergo. I've only back-carried her once and had help getting her on so I wasn't even sure I could do it myself. But I did! And it allowed me another 30-minutes to finish what I needed to do, while keeping Libby close. I love that carrier! And so does she! She also loves pulling my hair when she's on my back, so I need to remember that my hair must be up and out of her reach before I put her back there!

Soon, J was home, we ate and then it was time to get Libby ready for bed. That's the downside to not being a SAHM. I basically get 3-4 hours a day with Libby. And that includes the 30-minutes I see her at lunchtime because I come home to nurse her. It does not include the 30-60 minutes in the middle of the night that I spend nursing/rocking her when she wakes up! Right now she only goes down for 4-5 hours at a stretch. Since she's been sleeping in her crib for about a month now, my next goal is to night wean her. But that means getting more calories into her by day because she's a bit of a reverse cycler. So that's the next step.

I've been reading different ways to do this, but I want it to be as gentle as possible. I don't want her to be hungry at night. Right now, when she wakes, I can hear her tummy growling and she does a full feed, not just a snack or comfort nursing. So, we'll start by trying to get more calories into her by day and see if that doesn't help the night waking a bit. My goal is to have her down from at least 11 p.m. until 5 a.m. without waking. Right now she goes down at 7 p.m. Wakes around 11 p.m. and nurses for about 10 minutes. Then sleeps until 3 a.m. and nurses again. And then stays asleep until 7:30-8 a.m. I'd love to drop that 3 a.m. feed and make it 5 a.m. when I get up for work anyway. And I hope if I do this she'll still want to go back to sleep until 8 a.m. or so, otherwise getting ready for work will be tough. If she's awake and I am home, she wants me and only me. She doesn't get that her mama has to get ready for work and out the door by 6:45 a.m. That said, If I can move the 3 a.m. feed to 5 a.m. and get her back down for another three hours or so, I'll be thrilled.

We're supposed to get another snow storm tonight and I anticipate that I'll be home from work tomorrow. I will enjoy my time home with family. The plus to all of this bad weather has been lots of quality time just playing and reading with Libby. Being home from work, I've gotten a small taste of what my life as a SAHM might be like. I don't know if I'd actually be cut out for it long-term. I find that I have way more patience for parenting when I've not been doing it 24/7. Is that awful? I watched the movie "Babies" last night and after seeing what the Namibian and Mongolian moms had to do all day, everyday, it made me feel like my life (and Libby's) is a cakewalk!

It also reminded me that babies and kids just need the basics to be and shelter...and LOTS of love from their family members and community.