Daycare Dilemma

…let me begin by retracting the title of this post.

It’s not so much a dilemma. I’m really, really comfortable with the daycare we found. It’s owned by friends from high school and lots of people I know send their kids there.

With that said, as my time to return to work draws closer, I find myself wondering how I’ll feel driving away, even if I’m working at home. I look forward to working, to mental stimulation, to challenges beyond trying to keep the toilets clean and the garbage emptied (which have become my hell in my stay-at-home world lately). I’d be lying if I said that I don’t relish the thought of being able to stay home and spend my days with Elle and see what comes.

Unfortunately, there is not a paycheck that I can deposit at PNC that comes with that job. Soooo, back to work it is, in just another 3 1/2 weeks (ugh, gut punch).

However, as I find myself caring for Elle day to day, I wonder how it is that the 1-to-4 (one caregiver to four infants) ratio can work. I mean, I don’t know how you can give the proper attention to a baby when you are caring for three others at the same time. I am certain that mothers of multiples struggle with this too. But, I’m NOT one of those, so I’m really struggling.

Don’t get me wrong, I think daycare is a great invention. I think the socialization skills she’ll learn, the other children and families we’ll meet, will be invaluable both to her and to us. I think the relationships you build with your caregivers when you are small are terribly important. But, how will it be enough for ME (I know, it’s not really about ME, but…I want it to be enough for ME to feel comfortable with).

I struggle, too, with the fact that my job carries with it a significant amount of travel. I chose to move back to Michigan of my own accord, but I couldn’t possibly have a child on my own in Chicago, because I would never have any overnight care for her, so I couldn’t travel at all. That was my trade off. Well, that and my happiness and sanity, that I didn’t WANT to be living in Chicagoland.

Anyway, I was going to try really, really hard to find a job that was more my-life-friendly while I was on maternity leave. And I did, for a minute. And I had a few (totally crap) interviews. So, I don’t have a new job, I don’t know what my job will look like heading back into it. But, I don’t really have an alternative. I’ve created a lifestyle for myself that requires my paycheck to survive, so I closed the stay-at-home-mom door on myself.

That was dumb.

I THINK my employer and job may be flexible enough to allow me to maintain my sanity as Elle’s Mom while also giving to my job and employer what it needs…but who knows.

I just keep trying SO SO hard not to dwell on the pit in my stomach, in the dread that fills me at the thought of being away from Elle overnight for WORK…of missing something cool…of having to hear about what she did today OVER THE PHONE! Uck. Not cool.

So, anyway, my dread is getting the best of me right now. I want to cherish the next three weeks, the holidays and the time I do have left with my baby girl, Jon and our little idyllic solitude that we’ve fallen into the last few weeks.

I seriously think the U.S. has to find a way to be more like Europe in allowing mothers the time to spend with and raise their children…but that would require a healthcare system that wasn’t completely defunct and expensive.

I digress…but…I’m just pissed I have to go back to work and be away from my girl strictly for the paycheck.

Ugh.

Baby for Butler U!

Go Bulldogs!

That’s what Minnie’s newest onesie has in store for her!

I’m at Butler today working and the director here, Stacey, and the management team got me a fun little baby gift! Totally, totally unexpected and so thoughtful!! They got her a lovey/blankie and a pink Butler onesie.

Isn’t it too cute?!

Week 29(ish)

Well, I felt like I liked the color shirt I was wearing this morning and when I looked in the mirror didn’t hate my appearance, so I snapped this photo of me and the baby belly today, July 27, 2011. Based on the original due date the doctor gave me, today would be the official “Three Months To Go” date. But – as we all know – my fact-based approach to negotiating has got the due date to October 20, 2011. That means — 11 weeks to go my friends!!

Somewhere around 29 weeks!

 
Anyway, not much new to report. Sleeping is still going well. The water intake I definitely need to increase. I’ve gained just 7 pounds total during this pregnancy. Not bad, all the way around.
 
It’s surreal (I keep using that word to describe this pregnancy journey) to know that in just 11 weeks or so, we’ll have a real, live baby living at our house!! Holy crap. How did it get to be just 11 weeks?
 
I need to get a new bra. Not that you care about this, but the boobs keep growing, outpacing the belly for sure. I was a 36C, solid, before this adventure began. I’m now wearing a 38D and it is UN comfortable. Need to go tonight and see what I can find in the way of a more comfortable bra. Heck, even my sports bras are beginning to get tight (at least the older ones…the newer ones I bought a little bigger).
 
I continue to be relatively conflicted about the breastfeeding route I want to take. I know ‘they’ say it’s good (again, who are they?? Oprah’s people, I think). But — then everyone says they don’t know why exactly it’s good. So, if you don’t know what’s good about it, how do you know it’s good? I guess I’m just not passionate about breastfeeding the way some women are. I believe that there are a lot of paths towards getting the baby the nutrients she needs. And the whole thought of being the sole person to be able to feed the baby bothers me a lot. I know this is an adventure that is not meant to be done all alone — so I don’t want to do it alone. I don’t have to, Jon’s there, so I feel like he should be involved in the feeding requirements as well. And seeing’s how that’s the only thing that babies need, other than a warm bed and diaper changes, I just don’t see how that all works out anywhere other than in his favor, if I’m the sole provider of nourishment.
 
I need to educate myself a bit more I guess and see how I feel about it. I guess I’m envious, frankly, of the women who know, vehemently, one way or another what they want to do. Some women are ‘No, not breastfeeding’ and others are ‘Absolutely breastfeeding, pumping, etc.’. I don’t fall in either of those categories.
 
Take, for example, the conversations of the last several days. My aunts (Mom’s sisters) whom I love dearly have said the alluded to the following things:
“Don’t feel guilty if you don’t want to breastfeed. I didn’t. I wore two bras and taped them up and bottle fed from the beginning.”
 
“You’re going to breastfeed, right?” When I responded I didn’t think I was, I got a “Oh, please do it just for the first month or so”.
 
Here’s where I stand as of today on the topic: I have just 8-12 weeks of leave for maternity. I want to truly enjoy and savor those moments with my child. I will not get the time back, I will not ge the opportunity to truly enjoy this baby, with no other distractions (like work) ever again. I don’t want to be struggling (or even not struggling) with breast feeding. I don’t want to be chained to a breast pump throughout the holiday season. I don’t want to breastfeed for one month, begin the weaning process, and battle through that process until I return to work. I want to enjoy my baby, one on one, with Jon, with my family. I want all of the people I love to enjoy the baby and bond with her. I want to enjoy the holidays that will fast approach after her arrival. I want to concentrate on nothing more than loving my baby — and to me, breastfeeding gets in the way of that. I know that for countless others they will feel exactly the opposite. But today, that’s how I feel…and that’s how I have felt. So now, I’m just trying to reconcile that with the feelings of guilt that the rest of the world (billboards, well-meaning family and friends, etc., websites, books) seems to put on me.
 
I’m sure in 11 weeks we’ll know a lot better how I truly feel about it…but for now, I’m just not convinced it’s the way I want to go.
 
L

A First for The Day…

Well, today I was asked by some employees at one of my accounts if there wasn’t something I wanted to tell them… They are some of my favorite employees at one of my best accounts (hello, Decatur, Illinois!) and it was just really cute/funny the way they did it. It’s the shirt I’m wearing today. When I choose it out of the bag I packed this a.m., I did not realize that it has the forbidden preggo tie-back thing. My Mom & Dad picked up the top for me when they were in Mexico…and it’s SUCH a pregoo shirt…can’t believe I didn’t change, but I was committed this morning.

Anyway, they asked if there was something I wanted to tell them…so I said yes, I was having a baby and she’s a girl! and I showed them her picture on my phone (she really is so cute).

It was a moment that totally caught me off guard but it was so nice. As some of you know, I tend to get down on the fact that I don’t have an office or real co-workers these days (for the last two years, really) because I work alone a lot. It just really meant a lot to me that these employees thought enough of me to be involved in my life and to be so happy for me. That was a cool moment. It didn’t hurt that when I told them I was almost six months (22 weeks, 3 days) they couldn’t believe it (yeah, me either).

In honor of the folks here, here’s a shot of campus I took walking in the morning:

One of my favorite campuses to visit - the staff and the program at Millikin are great!