I bring my baby to work with me every day.
Since my job involves helping refugee moms and their children, having Judah with me seems very natural. I love strapping him into the Ergo carrier on the way to work and having him close to me all day long. I love how he gets to be around people from different cultures and how he has gotten used to being passed around from person to person. On a typical work day, Judah is content playing next to me on the ground or sitting with me in my lap as I talk with the other women.
Today, however, was a little trickier. Today I needed to explain something more in-depth and needed to have both hands free. So, I passed my baby off to someone else. Judah cried and screamed and fussed for the entire 30 minutes and had to be taken out of my line-of-sight. As I sat there working with the women, my heart was tearing in two. I knew that the work I was doing was important, but I was also very aware that my child was in distress, and that I was currently choosing the women over him.
After I got home and fed him dinner, I let him stay up a little later than usual. I played with him, kissed his chubby cheeks, tickled his belly, and gazed into his big, brown eyes. I felt like I had betrayed him today.
This made me think more about our future. More about my personal goals and ambitions. I think part of the reason why today made me feel guilty was that we had just hired a nanny to watch Judah for 5 hours one day a week so I could get work done without him. I’ve felt like I’ve been running non-stop. Full-time mom, full-time job, wife, daughter, sister, friend. Oh, and I’m taking online classes for my masters in counseling. With my husband also working full-time both on and off the clock, I’ve really been struggling to do it all and not feel like a limp noodle at the end of each day.
Earlier, I thought the nanny was the epiphany I’d been waiting for. Five hours a week of solid ME TIME to do school/work prep/emails/meal planning or whatever I need to do. (We’d also heard that the nanny was in need of more work, so by hiring we’re also giving her an opportunity to make a little more cash.) However, when I got home tonight, the glorious-ness of that “me time” was replaced with sadness and mourning for those 5 hours a week I wouldn’t get to spend with my baby.
I know this probably isn’t normal.
I promise you, I am a normal person. But yes, he is my firstborn.
As I sat up with my baby tonight after dinner, all my dreams and career ambitions felt like nothing in comparison to having my baby on my hip for the rest of my life.
We’ve had other babysitters before to go on dates, but only like once or twice a month, and at nighttime when Judah’s sleeping. What feels different to me now is that I am making a conscious commitment to put work above my baby, when I’ve never had to make that decision before. I study and write papers only after he goes to bed at night, and during the day he’s with me on-site.
Five hours a week. It feels like an eternity without him. One of my biggest fears is that he’ll take his first steps or say his first word when I’m not there. However, I know that these five hours will give me time to be completely focused and crank stuff out, which will indeed make it easier for me to breath the other 93-ish hours of the week…
Yes, I counted the hours. Ok, so I get to spend 93 out of 98 hours with my baby? Now that doesn’t make me feel so bad. Maybe I should’ve done the math from the start…