Duty Calls: Balancing work & family

We’ve been away every weekend this summer, we’ve been sick a lot making for a lot of missed daycare, and our daycare provider is on holidays this week. I haven’t been getting work done. Tonight, my wife is primary caregiver while I sit at a restaurant/lounge and do some work over a pint.

It feels different than it used to to sit at this place and work. When you’re a parent, part of your brain is always on your child(ren). I can’t get lost in my work like I used to. I know my wife will be totally fine with the full bedtime routine because she has been doing so well putting Avery to sleep since we weaned, but I feel shitty about the way I had to leave Avery tonight – I had to sneak out. I tried saying goodbye in a casual, non-chalant way – “see ya later, sweetie, I have to go do some work,” but she started screaming and clung to my legs begging to be picked up. So we got her distracted with some fun task and I snuck out.

She has been very sensitive about my absence lately. You can see her get nervous as bedtime approaches, not knowing if she’ll get me or her Mo. We have yet to settle into a new routine regarding which one of us puts her to bed. I’ve put her to sleep twice now, and it has gone fairly well both times. We’re going to settle into a two-nights-on two-nights-off schedule so that bath night (which happens every other night) isn’t always the same parent’s responsibility. The parent who gives her her bath and gets her ready for bed won’t be the same parent who reads her books in bed and lays with her till she falls asleep. She’ll get both of us every night. She just has to get used to the new normal.

I’m still in a “I miss breastfeeding” phase.I feel like I’ve lost a superpower. But I know it’s not a real regret, just nostalgia. And Avery only asks for milk once every other day or so now, and doesn’t get upset when I remind her that it’s all gone. She has been such a strong little person.

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30 Days of Blogging, Day 7

The word of the day is Freedom.

The freedom I’m talking about today isn’t anything extraordinary for an able bodied person – it is the freedom to move about my own home how and when I please. Freedom to take the garbage out, go to the bathroom, shower, move from one room to the next at my leisure. But I have a toddler, and thus, I don’t have this freedom.

Does anyone else have a toddler who clings to your legs and tries to climb you, red faced and screaming, when you do something so bold as to try walking into another room without them? When I’m holding my toddler and I say any of the following phrases, she clings to me like a spider monkey with a death grip:

I just have to go and…

I’m going to put you down for a second…

Can I just…

I’ll be right back…

I have to heat up the car before we leave for daycare in the mornings, and when I peel her off of me and walk out the front door she sounds like she is experiencing the worst heartache of her young life. Every time.

Doing the dishes and cooking dinner is a constant battle to keep her happy on the floor. I just can’t do these tasks while holding a 30 pound kid anymore.

I deal with this separation anxiety as the internet has told me to – with calmness, briefness, and always keeping my promise about coming back. But I think the only real solution is time. I know she’s securely attached, because she is completely happy to be left with people she trusts (her Mo, grandma, daycare provider), and her reaction to me when I return is a healthy amount of happiness (“You’re back! Let me tell you in baby gibberish about all the fun I had while you were gone!“) The problem is  not about me leaving her with other people, it’s about the anticipation of separating from me. 

If you can relate to how oppressive this can feel as a parent, please vent with me in the comments! It’s always nice to feel less alone.