This morning I really didn't want to leave the kiddos. I didn't want to go to work and not see them all day. I sat on the couch with my oldest, thinking about freezing time still so I could just sit with him awhile longer. He curled up with me all lovey (an act he does less and less these days as he's a busy toddler with lots to do). I wished I didn't have to go get little brother ready, that I didn't have to gather all our things in the car and shuffle the boys out and off to grandma's.
I guess I just have phases like this. Sad and overwhelmed by life. I had one in the late summer of last year when I had been working five days a week instead of four. That took a toll on me. I missed my son so much that summer and I struggled a lot with working mom guilt.
This year I have two boys to miss. My littlest Eren is only four months old right now. It makes me jealous of moms in other countries who actually get decent maternity leave. I took eight weeks. And I used my vacation time, like 16 hours a week, I don't get actual paid maternity leave.
Breastfeeding, Working Mom
Sometimes I worry about my milk supply. I was consistent pumping at work for my oldest, Calvin, but I started running short around 11 months with him. I worry about the same thing happening with Eren. I pump 3x at work each day, but of course Eren's eating more than that. I just have to keep my fingers crossed it all evens out and I don't get behind because there are days in the office where I just can't get back to pump on time. There are busy days when half my coworkers are gone and I can't just remove myself. There are days when there are meetings in the conference room and no one lets me know so I can't schedule around them by pumping early or whatever. I have to pump before work some days just so I can make it to my first pumping session at work without engorgement.
I forgot to eat breakfast this morning. As I was loading the boys in the car, I even said to myself, "just go grab a banana from the counter," then I still forgot. I bring salads for lunch at work, very basic, nothing extravagant. Without breakfast, I'm going to be starving come dinnertime. But I can't run out to grab a lunch that would be more filling because I already take time out throughout the day for pumping.
And yes, I am very fortunate to have a great milk supply. And I am proud of myself for persevering through all the struggles I've had with both of my boys. It was not just a given. There were never any magical, perfect first latches like so many women talk about. It's hard, even the second time around, it may have been even harder than the first in some ways.
Working at Work, Working at Home
The work load of actually going to work and taking care of a house and family is overwhelming. I wake up, go to work, come home, do more work. Last night I was up later than I wanted to be just to wait for the dryer to finish our diaper laundry so I didn't have to fold it in the morning (and good thing I did because obviously I was running late this morning, I didn't even have time for breakfast).
I plan our entire month's dinners out at once, I go to the store, I go to the store again when I forgot an important ingredient, and again when we run out of milk and fruit and veggies. I cook dinner. I do some dishes (honestly my husband is really good about dishes). Laundry: the never-ending constant stream of laundry! Oh and speaking of never-ending; I feed the baby. When he is awake, he is perpetually attached to the boob, it seems. I come home to a cluttered kitchen and living room 5 of 7 days (Thursdays and Friday mornings I usually tidy up before I leave for work). Some weeks it feels like the whole house is in this impossible, messy limbo of toys and dishes. Seeing the clutter overwhelms me.
Many evenings when I get home with the children, our littlest wants to nurse and take a nap. If you've ever nursed a tired baby, you know full well that such a nursing session will take twice as long as a typical nursing session. He's not really drinking his milk, he just wants to be comforted to sleep. I understand and I do love it, knowing I'm the only one to comfort him in that way, and I try with all my might to enjoy those nursing sessions without worrying about the rest of the evening. But there are lots of things to do when I get home from work, like starting dinner. I like to start dinner when I get home with the boys. Justin gets home about 30 min after me, so I can have dinner ready as soon as he gets home. If I'm nursing Eren instead of making dinner, dinner is thrown off by 30 min, which throws off the entire night.
And on top of that, I try to get in some of my own mommy time, which is actually just more work: keeping up on my two YouTube channels. I have been putting out consistent content 3x per week for months now. I love the feeling of being consistent on my channels, but let me tell you, it's a whole 'nother work load altogether. I work on it in the evenings if I successfully get Eren to bed at the same time my husband is putting Calvin down. You know, after I worked all day at work, then came home, made dinner, probably did some laundry and cleaned up.
Just last night my husband was telling me that he felt sad lately. When I asked him why, I kind of already knew the answer because it's the same reason I've been feeling kind of sad lately too. He said it's because it's like every day is just a repeat of the day before. It's just this endless cycle of work at work, work at home, sleep, repeat. We're burnt out.
Maybe what we need is a vacation. Or maybe there’s nothing we can do about it and this is just life. I try to tell him it’s just a season. It’s hard when the babies are little. When Eren starts sleeping through the night, or moving around more, or eating solid food, or playing with his brother, maybe we’ll get more relaxation. But it hurts to even think such things. We wish away the baby months when we should just be enjoying our little ones in that moment.
Does it all come back around to the fact that I’m not able to take months of maternity leave? If I were at home all day with the children, all the household chores would be complete (well, let's just say mostly). We wouldn't have to spend every evening doing laundry. We wouldn't spend all weekend cleaning the bathrooms or grocery shopping. Would being a stay at home mom make any of this better? For either of us? Dinner would still need to be made. Dishes would still need to be done. The children would still need help going to bed. The baby would still wake in the middle of the night.
I don't have any solutions. I guess I just needed to vent. Moms have it tough. Working or not. But motherhood is truly the best job there is, if you ask me.
Oh, and get this, when I got home from this day of missing my babies, I learned that my mother in law saw Eren roll from back to front for the first time today.
I missed Calvin's first steps when he was little too.
Thanks for reading.
I love you guys!
I hope your day feels a little better than mine.