Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Night Shift, My Hell

Well, David and I have both been back at work almost 2 weeks now.  Honestly, it feels like an eternity.  Those first 3.5 months where one of us was home with her full time were like a fantasy, and then we had to dive into a hell also known as “mommy and daddy both work full time and daddy is in the midst of night shift month.” 

The first few days were hectic, but bearable.  I changed my start time from 7:30 to 8 to accommodate our new schedule, woke up earlier, got home later, suffered through rush hour traffic, and never even had time to stop for Starbucks (the travesty)!  Our original plan was that L would only go to the babysitter’s on the days that JD went in for a night shift.  This meant that he could sleep during the day before his shift, but it also meant that on his “off days,” he would come home from working all night and then stay up to take care of her.  I always suspected this wouldn’t work out, but JD wanted to try.  Last Wednesday was the first test of this.  It did not go well.  JD texted me late morning to tell me he was so tired he felt sick, so I offered to come home early and relieve him of his duties (it was a beautiful day out, and I’m always happy to come home early and see my baby, so this wasn’t such a bad deal for me).

We worked out a new deal where David’s grandma would watch the baby on those extra few days of night shift months when JD came home from a shift and needed to sleep.  Our babysitter is flexible and I’m sure she would have picked up the days, but it will save us a bit of money and allow his grandma some bonding time with the baby, so everybody wins.  Things seemed to be back on track… until today.

Today was JD’s first day home with the baby where he was off last night and will be off again tonight.  He went to bed at 2am in an effort to get enough sleep to watch the baby today without messing up his sleep schedule too much.  It did not go well.  She woke up earlier than usual, was fussy all day, and didn’t want to take a nap.  He texted me throughout the day and I could tell he was getting progressively more tired and more frustrated. 

I sat at work, wishing I could come home and fix everything.  Wishing I didn’t have to work.  Aching for my baby.  Wanting to sway with her in the hammock and enjoy the late spring breeze.  Wanting the freedom of being home with her.  Wanting nothing more than to just take care of everyone- the baby, the house, the dogs, and my husband, who desperately needed to sleep.  Feeling helpless, I did the only thing I could do at the moment, I went into that little barren room called the “Mother’s Room” and pumped.   I listened to the rhythmic noise of the pump and the drip of my milk into the bottles.  Then, for the very first time since I’ve been back at work, I cried.

No one can prepare you for how hard it is.  I spent 9 months convincing myself that I wanted to continue working because I knew I didn’t have much choice.   I’m still not sure if, given the choice, I would even choose to stay home.  There are definitely pros and cons, but I hate that I don’t have that choice.  In a lot of ways, I hate that it has to be a choice at all- that we can’t have the best of both worlds. 

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