Working stiff

Here I am, emerging from a pile of work-related paperwork with deadlines from last week, and emails from desperate Nigerians hoping that God will bless my family. When I'm able to leave that behind, it's all about finding a dinner my previously bordering-on-Prader-Willi-syndrome toddler will consume without the involvement of violence. Once we get Consumer of Large Quantities of Yoghurt to bed (an episode often fraught with emotions), it's time to do dishes. Once the dishes are done, it is bedtime for a very tired Pru and The Dude, resting their bodies for a moment so they can start it all again.

I misled you with my post about horrible mothering. P doesn't hate nursery. In fact, she rather loves it. I don't hate being back at work either. In fact, I rather love it. I thrive under work-related pressure and I'm quite happy to be back in that environment. Do I dig the collective overwhelming nature of my life at the moment? Not so much. I can handle work stress and household stress on their own, but throw them together and the days begin to blur.

P's main problem on the days she cries at drop off is that she is the first one there. At 8am. What the fuckfire do these parents do that enables them to not have to drop their kid off until 8.15-9am at the earliest? I need to be at work by 8.30am and an 8am drop-off is too late for me, not remotely too early. Additionally, she is one of the last to be collected when The Dude picks her up at 4.15pm. 4.15pm. I'll repeat that again. 4.15pm. I need to know where these men and women are all working 9am-4pm shifts and get my run down ass a job there.

P hates to nap at nursery as there are apparently too many madcap adventures going on around her to sleep. The daily P-centred journal kept by her caregivers say things like "today P dressed up as a watering can and sang songs about boats", or my personal favourite, "P very much enjoyed dancing, smiling, and playing with a cardboard box." No, seriously, it really said that. The sad part is that I can completely envision her sitting in a corner for an hour on her own studying the design intricacies and textural attributes of said cardboard box. This is a kid who thinks my mp3 headphones are a fascinating, interactive web of endless delight.

Eccentricity aside for a moment, such excitement makes her a very disagreeable girl come 6pm. Weekday interaction with her is largely a struggle of morning grumpiness and evening tiredness, so how fun for me. I desperately want this limited amount of time to be precious (shut up Statia), but it leads me to want to be back at work in the arms of last-minute university applications and melodramatic, hard done by academics. On the odd occasion that she has napped sufficiently, she is her usual delightful, amazing self. Tonight was one of those nights, and it made me feel so much lighter to be able to watch her doing her best Pru impression - toddling around with my purse on one arm and a wooden bangle of mine on the other arm, saying "bye bye ta ta bye bye" - rather than wrestling the screaming mulleteer into her high chair.

I have no interest in staying home again. The Dude has a week off for half turn in a month's time or so, and yesterday said, "You'll feel so jealous of me when I'm off and spending all that time with P." Dude, dude, I stayed home for almost 14 months and I'm finally an adult again, there's no way I'm jealous of you. I miss my Maury re-runs sometimes, but I do not miss feeling like I was chained to my child every hour of every waking day. I'm the mother those "why do you have babies if you just stick your kid in daycare?" bitches have nightmares about. My earlier Melancholia post would indicate there is some guilt there, and some days it's worse than others. However, I don't regret my decision to go back to work full-time. I'm a good, loving mother to my daughter and she still worships me even if I stick her in a prison full of other snotty nosed children, nursery rhymes, and trips to the seafront in a 9 baby stroller.

When I was walking to work on my first day back, the very last song on my creepy mind-reading mp3 player was Jeff Buckley's cover of The Smiths' "I Know it's Over", and I couldn't help but think as I walked through the doors of my building to work for the first time in over a year - thank sweet baby jesus it is over, because mama wouldn't have been able to take much more of life as a SAHM. I did it for 13 amazing, gut-wrenching, depressing, life changing months and now it's time for a new challenge. Bring on the simultaneous union of working and parenthood because I'm going to pretty much rock it like you know I can.

P.S. I got the hook up on the song mentioned above if anyone is a Buckley and/or Smiths fan. Not that any of you bastards will take me up on it, as my pleas to illegally supply you all with good music are largely ignored.


Anonymous said...

I am right there with you, and glad to know I'm not alone in my acceptance of the fact that if my life required me, for any reason, to stay at home for an extended period of time caring for my children, I would completely lose my mind. Not that I don't often wish, in the middle of a work day, that I could be with them......but a lifetime of that would make me go postal.

statia said...


That aside (I'll get back to it, I promise), dude, it's really fucking hard to stay home. It's harder than any forty hour a week job (*ahem*36ish, but you know, who's really keeping tabs) I've ever had. I got lots of fuck off time when I needed it with a job. With this one? I get very little.

My goal if I can is to stay at home with him at least until he goes off to school. That said, I am looking for some sort of career change, where I can work from home and contribute. As for us, we just don't want day care as an option for him. Your mileage may vary. But that said, if it has to be, then it has to be. And believe me, there are days when I drive past a center and contemplate dropping him off. I think you're damned if you do, damned if you don't. You want to be with them when you're not and you want to be away from them when you are.

Now where was I about making fun of you? Oh yes. My preeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeshuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuus.

Bittermama said...

Me too! Me too! I'm just so happy and normal and well-adjusted now that I'm out of the house at school and work 20-30 hours a week. I've been mulling over a big, deep post about it all, but I haven't had time because I'm too busy enjoying my life! It had been a while.

Anonymous said...

I'm one of the late drop offs - really late in fact. My boss gets in late too thank goodness - we work for the govt, in a boring area, where you would only work if you want good working conditions I'd say.

I do pick up late though (like 5.30). I used to panic that we were always so late, til I realised that the ones who are gone by 4.00 have older kids who they have to pick up from school at 3.30, so they come after that.

PiquantMolly said...

Oooo, is it on your Multiply? Might have to check it out.

Congrats on rejoining us working slobs. Does this mean you can't wear your sweatpants every day anymore?

May said...

I, too, often wonder how on earth these parents manage to drop their kids off at 9 and yet pick them up by 4. My husband and I are the first to drop-off, last to pick-up types.

Congrats on resuming your life as a grownup.

Anonymous said...

Can you see me nodding my head like a maniac throughout this post? I only lasted eight weeks. EIGHT WEEKS and I was running back into the office. I even forgot to pick her up the first day. I just went straight home like my old adult self with no worries, that's how fast I got back into the swing of things.

I have no guilt and no second thoughts. I provide for my child and myself, its win-win.

Welcome back!

Oh, and I too wonder where all those moms and dads work! Piper is one of the firsts and one of the lasts (I start at 8:30 too).

Anonymous said...

*swoon* Jeff Buckley AND James? Let's run off and get married. Or not. You could go out to work and I'll sit around the flat with the girls and watch British TV.

I'm in awe of anyone who WANTS to go back to work, because I am the exact opposite of that. I HAVE to go, now that we bought a nice actual house with a yard, and I am fighting it with every fiber of my body. Sigh.

Anonymous said...

I bet they're schoolteachers.

Glad you're enjoying being back, Pru. I imagine I'll feel much the same way in a few months time. As it is i drag jasper out to lunch nearly every day becasue I can't handle being stuck in the house.

DrSpouse said...

If they were teachers they'd need to be at school by 7.30. They have flexible working, and it's your legal right to request it.

Lut C. said...

Are that the same women who like to say it takes a village to raise a child? Or is that another bunch?

I'll have to get back to you on how much I enjoy being a SAHM. I only have 5 months to try it out though.
Hopefully the combination work/parenting will work itself out.