Showing posts with label working mother. Show all posts
Showing posts with label working mother. Show all posts

Sunday, January 25, 2009

I am a SHAM...uh, SAHM.

Boy, I just clicked on my Blogger Login Icon and it felt strange. Not strange-peculiar, but strange-unusual. It's been too long. The trouble is not that I've been at a loss for words. The trouble is that I've had a surplus of them. Whenever that happens, they tend to come out all a-jumble. Read on if you dare...

Early in December (the 3rd? who knows), I got a call at work from C, the woman who was watching Little G. He's fine, she said, don't worry. It's just that I've had a sort of family emergency and I need you to come pick up Little G asap. I did. Turns out that her dad went into the hospital with what he thought was bronchitis, but upon further investigation, he had terminal lung cancer. C called us later that night and told us that with caring for her father and watching her own two children, she didn't think that she could give Little G the care he needed and she was giving us her notice. She would watch him until our agreed upon break at Christmas, and that was it. I completely understood.

So we set about looking for a new care situation for Little G. I called daycares. I phoned home care agencies. No one had spots for infants. I trawled Craigslist, Kijiji, Daycare Bear and Go Daycare and followed up on any leads I could find. You read about those results if you read my recent post "The Daycare Game". I looked on notice boards in local stores, libraries and drop-in centres. I tried everything I could think of, and no dice. I even interviewed a potential nanny, eventhough financially that's not the best option for us, and eventhough I have been less than impressed with the Nanny Mafia that I have seen carousing our neighbourhood.

Just before Christmas, I went to my boss and told him what had happened. I asked him to consider a leave of absence - unpaid - because we could get Little G into Big C's daycare in March. It wasn't an absolute guarantee, but we are on the priority list since Big C has been there forever, they love him and they knew that we were desperate. My boss checked with Human Resources, and they said NO. However, my boss said I could take some vacation time in January to see if we would have any luck finding someone. It was difficult getting in contact with people over the holidays.

I took a week's vacation - found one nice home care lady who said that she didn't have room, but she could watch Little G for a month till we found something more permanent. That wouldn't get us till March, though.

Then we interviewed a fabulous, wonderful, amazing nanny. A nanny who changed my mind about what nannies could be like. One that was worth taking every penny of my salary to employ. We extended her an offer. I sent my boss an email saying that we had found a possible solution, and that I would be back at work on Monday. Monday morning, she sent us an email saying NO. She couldn't commit the time right now.

So, instead of going back to work victorious, I had to go in and tell my boss that we thought we had a nanny, but we didn't and would he reconsider a leave of absence? At this point, the leave would be about a month and a half, with luck. More, without. He came back from HR with an unequivocal NO. A Leave of Absence was simply not on the table, he said. So I resigned from my job.

Although it may seem like a precipitous decision, it was not. Mr Earth would support any decision I made - to stay home or to keep working. We had come to the conclusion that even if we found another home care situation, it wouldn't work. A nanny was the only realistic solution, and this was the only nanny I had found that met my expectations. I could, of course, find another with time, I am sure, but time is not something I had left.

You see, the double drop-off, and double pick up - two different daycares, two different children and only one me, was making me sick. Literally sick. I would leave work early every day (when I really shouldn't) and take off at a run for the subway. I ran from the subway, and got Big C dressed and shoved him in the stroller. I ran with the stroller to Little G's daycare. Got Big C out and up the stairs, got Little G dressed and both of them down in the stroller to walk home.

Mr Earth, in the meantime, left for work in the wee hours and had to leave work early (when he really couldn't) and go home to make sure that dinner was ready so that the natives wouldn't scream because they hadn't been fed soon enough and they were too tired to wait. We put them to bed, got everything ready for the next day, and it started all over again.

I was sick. I was nauseous all day long, for weeks on end. It got so bad, that I took a pregnancy test. A week after I had my period. And I hadn't had sex since. Does that make sense to you? It didn't to me either. But what else would explain it? It may have been the flu. But would it last so long? Would it magically disappear at Christmas break? And would it magically reappear just after New Year's, when I was supposed to be back at work? I thought I was made of sterner stuff. I thought I could handle this without making up imaginary illnesses. But I guess I couldn't, and there comes a point where you reassess and say - is this really worth it???

Many people have said that I should have fought for my job. Maybe. I was union. I am not a litigious person. I have also never loved my job. It was easy. It allowed me to do theatre in my spare time. When I became a parent, it allowed me to work, but not have that work spill over into my family time. But I have never loved it. I've never really even liked it. Why should I fight for a job that I don't love, in a company that very obviously does not love me?? Cause if they really valued the SEVEN YEARS that I had been a loyal - and exemplary (if I do say so myself) - employee, then they could find a way to make a leave of absence work.

Oh, yes, I am not litigious, but I am angry. I don't think I was treated well. I think that they could have shown more lenience to a working parent who was in a difficult situation. After all, it's not like I was asking for time off because I missed being with my kids (which of course I did, what working parent doesn't?). I asked for it because I saw no other workable solution. I wasn't going to leave my kid with someone I don't like. Not for any job. How could I work?

The last day of my job, I worked until the very end, waiting for something to happen. A chance to say my piece. An exit interview, or something. I finally asked my boss if there was something I was supposed to do. He said he had forwarded the necessary info to HR and asked them if there was something I was supposed to do, and they hadn't gotten back to him. I still don't know if they have. I don't yet have a record of employment or any sort of closure. Thanks for ...nothing.

I am hurt, and angry, and kind of embarrassed. I'm also kind of relieved. And I haven't been nauseous since I left.

I'm still trying to get my head around the fact that I don't have a job anymore. It kind of seems like I'm on mat leave, and that's kind of fun. That will surely change once the money runs out. Now that I don't have to look for care anymore, I can focus my attention on all the things I can do now that I'm at home. All the things I won't miss because I was at work. The future is blasted wide open, and it's kind of... exciting. And very, very scary. I am a person who thrives on structure. I'm not sure just what to do with all this freedom. I need to make some decisions. I need to come up with a plan.

This may be the best thing that could ever have happened to me. Or, it may be just something that happened to me. I won't know for sure until I start moving in a forward direction. One thing is for sure, I won't regret having more time to spend with the boys.

They may regret having more time to spend with me.

We shall see, shan't we?

Thursday, November 27, 2008

I Am What I Am

Hi, my name is NoMo and I have a confession: I don't like to cook.

I don't like it. I don't derive any pleasure from doing it. In fact, it stresses me out. Timing everything so that it's all hot at the same time. But not too hot or it will burn the mouths of babes. Worrying if you're going to make people sick by undercooking the chicken. Worrying if you overcook the chicken that no one will eat it. Angry because you spent a lot of time making food and a certain somebody won't eat it because it's not grilled cheese. This is not fun for me.

I DO, however, love to bake. But you can't just bake goodies all the time. Brownies for breakfast, lunch and dinner is not cool. Especially when you have two little mouths to feed. (I'm pretty sure an all chocolate diet for kids is frowned upon. I'm not 100% positive though - I didn't read the handbook.)

I was reading Domestic Goddess Kgirl's post at Playdate about a working mother's meal planning, and I was just floored by how she's got her act together. I swear, one of the toughest things about going back to work is not rushing to get the kids out the door and to two different daycares, not rushing through a backlog of work, not rushing through lunch doing Christmas errands with less time than usual because you have to leave early, not rushing to get to two different daycares to pick up the kids and get them home before their mouths and there stomachs complain too loudly - it's that after all this, I then have to find something for dinner. And find it fast. This week I've foisted the dinner-making on Mr Earth, and have been much less stressed because of it.

This past year on mat leave, I have tried and tried to better myself in this arena. Once a week, I would make a healthy, balanced dinner from scratch. Not reheated, not defrosted, not from a can or a mix. From scratch. (And yes, I'm aware that once a week is abysmal, but remember, I am The UnChef). The boys and would go to the local markets and get fresh meat, fresh produce everything. I had some help from this awesome book that my friend at Random House sent me: The Good Food for Families cookbook. It's pretty great - it has lots of easy to follow recipes, advice about what to serve with the main dish, how to make the family meal kid-friendly and stuff about the Canada Food Guide. It's so user-friendly that I actually came to enjoy cooking a meal. The kids still didn't eat it, but oh well. The Boy doesn't venture far off the grains section of the Pyramid, and the Little Guy was just starting solids. I felt pretty good about myself. The quintessential Family Dinner. We even went around the table and shared our "three (favourite) things" of the day.

Needless to say, that has fallen by the wayside since going back to work. It actually fell by the wayside earlier than that, who am I kidding? And now that the Little Guy is turning out to be such an adventurous eater (beets! parsnips! salmon! bok choy!), I want to get some of that back. I feel so pressed for time, though. At the end of the day, I'm just happy if the four food groups re represented. I already spend so much of my evenings prepping for the next day so that I can get out the door and to work on time, if I add prepping a meal, I fear that I will lose any "me" time that I've scrounged for myself. Ack! Get out the world's smallest violins and play a sad song for me will you? Parenting is hard and I should suck it up.

Cooking is not my talent. No sir. I am good at many things, and that is not one of them. I need one of those doohickies from Star Trek where you just tell it what food you want and it appears. OH! That reminds me - something I AM good at: spotting the hotties. Get yourself on over to Playdate and see what Hollywood hotties made Mama Drama's list. You'll be surprised.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

One Day More

Wow, this week has been rough. If you're wondering why I've not been around more when I'm finally back in front of the computer most of the day, it's because I can barely keep my eyes open.

The Little Guy has decided that sleep is for the birds, and he's just going to forego naps and bedtimes in favour of staying awake and screaming. He screams on the way home from daycare, too. He wants to be held, and I just can't push the stroller and carry him at the same time. Not for that distance, and not with the Boy in the stroller. He also screams and crawls away when I try to clothe or diaper him (But that's old hat around here. You'd think I was torturing him, instead of trying to put on a onesie.)

The Little Guy now spends his days with a local mom and her two kids. She's studying to be a nutrionist, so she's a very good match for our second son, whom we fondly call "The Mouth". He'll eat almost anything. He does seem to like it there, though. In fact, the only time he's not screaming lately is when I drop him off in her arms in the morning. (I'm a little insulted, actually. The only time I expect him to scream and he turns mute and just watches me leave.)

The other day, Mr Earth was blowing raspberries on the Little Guy's tummy before bathtime and the Little Guy was chuckling away to himself, and I felt so lighthearted. I realized that it had been quite some time since I'd heard that sound. That made me a little sad. Okay, a lot sad.

On the plus side, I don't look as sloptastic as I usually do. Every few years, I go through this metamorphosis in the grooming department where I decide Everything! Must! Go! and this time around it happened to coincide with my going back to work. I've decided that if I'm going to work in an office, I should look like I work in an office, not like some student fresh out of university who cobbles together a sad little outfit that is woefully unacceptable. I've tried to apply the rules from my favourite show What Not to Wear. (I always laugh at the people who complain about having to shop on the show, but it IS actually very tiring! I should stop laughing). I've written about my new rules for what not to wear at the office when you're a mother newly back to work over at Playdate. Go have a read. Laugh at my blighted fashion attempts. Give me some wardrobe advice. I obviously need it..

Must sleep now. So very tired. And so very glad tomorrow is Friday.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

And on the second day, it all went to sh!t...

Instant replay of my morning (or night...or morning...not sure which):

3am Mr Earth up with Little G
4:50 Mr Earth up with Little G (and, yes, Mr Earth rocks)
5:20 Nomo up with Little G
5:22 Nomo changes large stinky poo
5:25 Nomo puts Little G back to sleep
5:27 Nomo changes small stinky poo
5:30 Nomo sits in chair with Little G till Little G falls back asleep
5:45 Nomo puts Little G back in crib
5:47 Nomo disposes of stinky poos
5:50 Nomo goes back to bed
6:01 Nomo's alarm goes off
6:50 Nomo changes large stinky poo (this time from the Boy)

7:00 Nomo wakes up Little G
7:15 Little G poos again! (Mm, blueberries and sweet potato. I may never eat
again)


So, I had time to get ready without being screamed at, which was really nice. I smell like poo, which is not nice. The house smells like poo, which is even less nice. I did make it to work on time, but just barely. I had to run with the stroller most of the way. (Did I mention that Boy and Little G are in two DIFFERENT daycares?)

I am only now am drinking coffee.

[Side Note: Blogging at work is bad. Very, very bad. Bad, Nomo, Bad! But what a day Nomo had!]