In General, Today

Just a few thoughts top of head…

Valentine’s Day has come and gone. I was not here on the actual day to celebrate with Elle, but…such is my life right now. However, I got home today and started going through Elle’s lunchpail (it’s the thermal tote from thirtyone with her name on it, a gift from Molly). There’s a whole little white lunch sack folded up in the bottom of her lunchpail and I realize: IT CONTAINS VALENTINE’S.

Shit.

I saw the signs at the daycare when I was dropping off/picking up in the lead up to Valentine’s Day. I even thought ‘that’s nice that they do that for the bigger kids’ and went on my way. I got Valentine’s Day cards printed and mailed them (real mail!) to her friends and relatives. But I did NOT purchase the cliche box of Valentine’s and give them to the kids in the infant room.

So, I’ve been trying to decide if I feel like an asshole mother for not doing this. Will the other mothers judge me that their kid didn’t get the same amount of Valentine’s as they gave? Will their kid even know the freaking difference?! I guess I felt that I really was ahead of the game by sending out real live Valentine’s early…and then I return from the road today and just feel like a giganto-turd-Mom.

Oh well.

There’s always next year, I suppose.

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I kid you not – I began thinking of things to do for Elle’s first birthday party (mark your calendars friends and family, October 13, 2012 is right around the corner). [Elle’s birthday is definitely the 14th, but I already evaluated dates and the 13th is it].

Seriously?

Seriously.

And then I tried to minimize my own judgement on myself by thinking ‘well, if I decide on a theme NOW I can pick up items on sale/clearance as I find them’. Which sounds good IN THEORY but I’m not a huge bargain shopper and have a tendency to change my mind. So it’s much more likely that I’ll just wind up with party decor for three different first birthday parties.

I even went so far as to Google the football schedules for Michigan/Michigan State to see if Elle’s birthday could have a football rivalry theme (nope – Michigan play Illinois; Michigan State plays Iowa).

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I get to meet Holden this weekend (I’m hoping!). A fresh, new, cuddly little guy. So excited to meet him!

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Last night, my Mom was watching Elle because Jon had a meeting to go to. Jon had called my Mom earlier in the week to coordinate this plan – which I was so proud/glad that he had done.

I called my Mom earlier in the day while she was still at work and asked her if she would call me later, when she was with Elle, so I could talk to Elle before she went to bed.

My Mom called me on her way home from work to catch up and say she was on her way to see Elle (who was with my Dad and Grandma) and have dinner. I asked her again to call me later on and she says she will.

I watch the clock. It’s 7 p.m. so I go to the gym at the hotel. I get in a 30 minute work out and figure that I’ll hear from my Mom any time. I wait. I text ‘hey don’t forget to call me and let me talk to elle’.

Nothing.

I think, well, they did go to my Grandma’s for dinner, so they must just be hanging out…can’t believe that Elle’s not cranky for them.

Finally, at 9 p.m. (which is about an hour after Elle’s bedtime) I call my Mom.

She reports that Elle got a bath, got her medicine, is sleeping soundly…and I’m in tears on the other end of the phone, in a Homewood Suites in Indianapolis, hundreds of miles from my baby for the second night in a row.

I finally manage to collect myself enough to remind my Mom that she was supposed to call me and let me talk to Elle.

Silence.

She had TOTALLY forgotten.

I made my Mom feel bad (which was not the point, but it did make me feel better since I felt so rotten, at least I had someone else in the rotten trenches with me…) but I was so disappointed.

It’s SO FREAKING HARD to be away on all these over nights. I need to find a job that doesn’t require me to travel each week; find a way to be home, develop a consistent schedule for our family. But, I also need to pay the bills and this is the way. This is what it is. I have to do it. And it SUCKS friends. It totally SUCKS. I cry every night when I’m gone. I cry as soon as I get home and see my happy, smiling girl.

I forget that it’s only been about five weeks since I returned to work and I’m still working out exactly how this will play out…but it’s hard to be optimistic when I’m spending SO MUCH time away from my girl.

And then, you read those dumb baby websites and the emails you sign up for from them and they’re talking about perhaps the best way to celebrate your baby’s first birthday is with your FIRST OVERNIGHT away from your child.

HA!

If only.

If only.

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That’s all – good night.

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Work Travel Expense Report Baby

Does anyone out there reading know of anyone out there blogging who has SOME answer for how to be a Mom who travels for work and has an infant at home?

Because I. Am. Struggling.

Not so much when I’m on the road for work, but in the miles as I inch closer to home. That’s when it – f rankly – sucks the most.

This week was my first two nights in a row away from Elle and I HATED it. Again, not while I was living it, but as the days wound their way into night and as I found myself with nothing to fill the balance of my days. Space that’s taken up by Elle, vacant when I’m on my own out in the big cruel world.

Ok. Stop the pity party.

I seriously just need to know how someone else makes it work. And I feel like there’s no one else out there that’s like me…I need to find someone, so I at least have a kindred spirit.

I can’t get a schedule or routine together very well, because I’m not home consistently to do that.

I got home tonight from three days on the road, left before Elle was awake Monday morning and forced Jon to keep her awake until I got home tonight. I made him save bath time (B-A-T-H, bath time is the song I sing…) for me, so that I got that time with my girl.

And as I got ever closer to home, I wondered if she’d recognize me or not; would she smile or pout or cry when I saw her.

As it worked out, I didn’t see her, because I couldn’t through my tears.

This economy, sucks.

This job – it is what is is and I need it, whether I want it or not. And I do enjoy the work when I’m doing it, but it’s the times in between, the overnights away that are killing me softly (don’t know what is about me and song titles and lyrics tonight…just humor me).

Jon’s laid off, mine is the primary, reliable income. But, because he’s laid off and home, worrying about who’s watching Elle, taking her and picking her up from school is lessĀ  of a worry. Jon’s a great stay-at-home Dad…but sometime soon, when winter is finally spring, he’ll be back to work (fingers crossed) and so will I and…

I know we’ll make it work.

Of course we will.

But this just totally stinks.

Either way, she was TOTALLY pumped to see me, smiled through her binky and felt so little and so much bigger than she did three days ago.

Ugh.

Gut punch.

So, we enjoyed B-A-T-H bathtime and sang songs and kicked and splashed, and did the normal bedtime routine, and she’s sleeping now and has been for just over an hour.

I’m home for longer than I was on the road now, thankfully, but it makes tomorrow night’s outing for my Mom’s birthday seem like ANOTHER time I’m leaving her. And Saturday morning’s 5K down the road is ANOTHER time I’m leaving her (can I take her in the jogging stroller, I’ve wondered…except, it’s winter in Michigan, remember). And what about Friday and my getting-the-taxes-done appointment.

Yeah, I have to find a way to make it work…or…

But either way, I need to find a kindred spirit out there who’s traveling and working and mothering an infant remotely.

Not my idea of fun and not something I would encourage other mothers to do.

Between work and work travel and expense reports…there I am, being Elle’s Mom.