Monday, March 3, 2014

out of sorts

Today was the day, after 54 weeks* at home, that I was expected to returned to work. And so, that's what I did. I was looking forward to it, in all honesty. I needed a break. Adult conversations. Psychology conversations. Case conversations. All things I get to have at work.

The day was off to a good start. Getting ready, playing with Gummy, having breakfast together. The goodbye went well.

People at work were sweet. There were flowers waiting for me on my desk, with cards signed by my colleagues, chocolates, tea. Oh, my colleagues are great! What a way to welcome me back.

It was mentioned that I looked very relaxed, and when I said that Gummy was with her dad, they understood why. I wasn't stressing about a rough transition to daycare because that's not happening right now.

I drove home feeling like my first day had been a success. Very much unlike me, I hadn't cried once.

Then I got home. I was told Gummy cried on and off all day. That she had a hard time eating. She seemed exhausted, but still ate her supper and had her bath, however cranky she was at various stages of the evening routine (including one random and very intense burst of wailing and tears while eating supper).

It seemed clear that I would be the one putting her to bed tonight, which is usually something Mr. A and I discuss or coin toss (because we both want to). But she would not have it. She was so out of sorts, the poor thing. She wailed and thrashed in my arms and insisted that dad put her to bed. That was a first.

It was hard, but I know she's just out of sorts. Of course, I cried a little after that. It's really hard on her and what is hard is my absence. An absence I even enjoyed.

So, yeah. Let's just say I was ready to throw away this career in a heartbeat. But I went out for a walk in the %&# cold night, and it helped cool off my thoughts.

She's just out of sorts.

How can she learn distress tolerance without distress. How can she learn to regulate her emotions without being faced with emotion-producing situations (beyond 'the cat won't let me pull her ears off').

still, I learned something deeper about mother guilt tonight.




* 52 weeks of parental week + 2 weeks short-term disability last February

20 comments:

  1. That's rough. But, I so envy your 54weeks. Here in california as an govt employee (we don't get SDI) I get 0 paid maternity leave (only annual leave I scrimped and saved).

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    1. I feel incredibly grateful to live in a country where mothers, babies, families are supported in this way. I often don't understand why the US is lagging so far behind on this issue.

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  2. So interesting to read how you finished that... the value of learning to cope with these somewhat difficult situations. I guess we, as parents, often undervalue/avoid these.
    I've experienced this too-- but after a week or so, it went much more smoothly. Here's hoping the rest of the week goes a bit easier on you and your little Gummy.

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    1. Thanks Martha. I guess that's from my psychologist lens. It doesn't make that much easier to watch my kid be distressed in the moment, it just helps me understand and cope with it afterwards.
      Thanks for sharing your experience. I hope that by next week, Gummy and I will feel better about this big transition.

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  3. Warmest hugs to you, dear Augusta. You're doing such a good job of keeping a balanced perspective and reminding yourself that this transition is only temporary. Sending love and good wishes for the coming days. xo

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  4. Oh, but you are delightfully wise. I just nodded along and felt for you, for Gummy, for why this is important for both of you. You'll both grow as women for it.

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    1. Thank you, SRB. I quote you to me in the car this morning as I drove down the 401 away from Gummy: "We will both grow as women. We will both grow as women"
      Thank you for that

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  5. Oh, it's hard and I feel for you. The "routine" is such a delicate thing, and it's also inevitable that other factors will intrude. But I DO wholeheartedly agree about the importance of learning to roll with it...a lesson that can be kind of hard (on everyone) in the beginning. So hard. Do you know, I didn't go back to work (and that only part-time) until O was ten months. He's nearly 2.5 and there is never a day that I drive away and don't have a pang, thinking that it feels somehow wrong. But I also think I'm a better mother for those hours I spend working, even beyond the financial nuts-and-bolts aspect of it. And I think he's happier, too, maybe because I am. Hang in there, and may you all find your equilibrium in this new situation quickly. x o

    (PS: I know I rarely comment anymore but I AM here, thinking of you and cheering you on. I wanted to comment on Gummy's birthday photo in your last post - it's so wonderful. But way always seems to lead onto way and I always miss the window!)

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    1. So excited to see your comment, Adele. I have MISSED YOU!
      Thank you so very much for reading, my friend. Know that I think of you so often, and even if I can't follow along on your journey (for reasons I understand) I still hold you in my thoughts so often.

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  6. oh man. I am sure this is tough. thanks for sharing honestly with us! you will both grow from it, no doubt!

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  7. Sigh..and I'm sure it is harder for her because the poor thing has no way to process her emotions. Still, all of us are programmed to adapt to new routines or things incredibly quickly. The transitions always suck though.

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  8. That sounds hard. I'd feel sad too! On the other hand, I have seen parents who try to protect their children from every difficulty on the grounds that 'life is difficult enough' - and I'm not talking about really bad stuff, but about 'morning transition to preschool is hard so I will stay there with my kid'. I don't think those children are best served by being wrapped in cotton wool. I think it is hard but worthwhile to consider what's best for everyone in the long term, not just what the child wants or needs at that very moment (many situations excepted of course), and you're doing hard work! And so is Gummy, in her little one-year-old way. That said, I cried my eyes out my first day back at work even though Bug was with my spouse.

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  9. Oh, Augusta. Change and transitions, however necessary and positive, are hard. . . for us as much as for our little ones.

    I think that, overall, your country's year-long maternity leave is a positive thing, but when I read a post like yours of a Canadian mom's return to work, I always reflect on my own return to full-time work, when my twin sons were 10 weeks old (4 weeks adjusted age). I am not sure which would be more difficult.

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    1. I think about that often because I have American mama friends. I also don't really know whether it would be more difficult to leave 10-week-old babies or a 1-year-old? I think it's hard either way.

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  10. That sounds so rough. I love how you come to the wise conclusion of having to learn to handle distress, but I'm sure it was hard to be in that situation regardless. Hoping things get better day by day.

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  11. Working from home meant I had very little issues along this line. On the other hand, I feel guilt about not being as productive if I did work away from the house.

    E is just in the middle of swinging back to mama after months of dada only comfort. Knowing it is normal doesn't make it feel like I am less worthy. My thoughts are with you. The transitions are hard.

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  12. Wise words Momma! It will take time as any adjustment in life does but I'm sure everyone will get into a routine soon. Hope that the transition goes as smoothly as it can, stay strong wonderful woman and know we're always here to support & encourage you on this parenting journey!

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  13. Oooof. I know it's taken me soooo long to comment on this that all is now perfect and happy, but I've been thinking of you guys. I wish it had gone better, and that she'd get to learn her regulation skills somewhere else, perhaps in a way that would make someone else feel guilty. But I'm so impressed that you were able to regulate YOUR emotions! You may recall my telling you about Bun Bun coming back from a trip with her dad and just HATING me, and how much that broke my heart...Not the same situation, of course, as I had nothing to feel guilty about, but the rejecting behavior sounds painfully familiar.

    Some assorted thoughts: a big HELL YEAH on knowing you're stretching her, making her stronger. And being a loving, successful, self-valuing model for her. Something I learned during that Bun Bun rejection episode: If we take a bath together, she will transform pretty quickly back into her normal self. She loves the bath, and it's like a toddler equivalent of skin to skin that we both find soothing and re-connecting. There are two reliably happy moments in my work day: The moment when I walk out of the house and wave goodby to the babies at the window, and the moment I come home. I am hoping this will be the pattern for you guys...

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