During both jobs, Naama was in daycare. She loves playing with babies her own age, so I knew she was happy there. She was so happy that when I would go to kiss her goodbye, she was already playing with other kids...so much for my goodbye kiss!
With Naama happily settled, I'd buckle down and get some work done, but I always had this empty ache inside. I missed my baby. I tried putting my feelings aside and concentrating on work. For awhile I had wanted to go back to work and actually use my brain again. I thought I'd be fulfilled and happy working again, but my heart just wasn't in it. Each day when I'd pick Naama up from daycare, it was like gray clouds cleared the way to a beautiful sunny sky. I was happy, fulfilled. I realized I WANTED to be a stay at home mom...And then I got my reality check.
There are only so many activities we can do at home every day before Naama gets bored. Also, putting Naama in her crib for naps is a struggle if she decides she doesn't want to nap.As far as going outdoors with Naama, I can't slide her down the park slides the way she likes, or crawl through the tube slides with her. Now that she's more active, I can't take her to the main part of the park on my own at all because she can easily walk out of the park. I may not always be able to catch her in time if she walks out, so why chance it?
If I was a fully able- bodied, I'd get on the bus and take Naama to the mall, where she could ride the kiddie rides and watch the kiddie shows. She even loves going up and down the escalator! And she has a ball at the new gymboree whenever we take her.
Getting out with Naama on my own is impossible. The buses say they are handicap accessible,but they totally aren't! The ramps are manual, which means I'd have to ask the driver to pull them out for me so I could wheel Naama's stroller on. Yes by law the driver is supposed to pull out the ramps for me, but just knowing how rushed bus drivers are and knowing that I'd probably get a disapproving look turns me off to the whole idea of taking a bus anywhere with Naama. The most frustrating part about the public transportation in this city is that one of the bus lines was just outfitted with brand new buses. I was so excited when I saw the buses, because they had handicapped labels and buttons along the outside of the bus. I totally thought that meant they finally made buses with automatic ramps! My problem was solved! My world just got a lot brighter. I could go out alone with Naama!
One day I got on one of the new buses to go to a doctor's appointment. The new things I noticed were a huge talking monitor so you could see and hear upcoming stops and the stop buttons were now between opposite seats, so you didn't have to perform acrobatics just to reach the stop button anymore.I glanced at the ramp, it looked manual. I asked the driver about the ramps and he confirmed my suspicions. My heart sank and then I got a little angry. They made a beautiful new bus line with a huge talking monitor for the blind, but they didn't think about an automatic ramp!! DUH!!
So with a mother's helper, we got on the bus and took Naama to the mall for an afternoon of fun. There was a special kids concert going on that day, so the bus was packed with mothers, kids and babies. When we all got to the mall, I followed them because I didn't know where to go, and I have to admit I was very jealous and very sad seeing all these moms effortlessly take their kids around on their own. As much as I love my mother's helper, I wanted to be alone with Naama, but I can't, so I put on a smile and forged ahead, but I'd give anything to take Naama out for a day of fun on my own. Maybe when she's older I'll finally be able to, but for now I have to deal with what is.
Having all these factors stacked against me being a stay at home mom, I kept Naama in daycare and I accepted a 3 day a week job about an hour away. I enjoyed the job and being around adults, but I wasn't happy. I had that empty aching feeling again. I missed my baby.
Getting home each day in rush hour traffic took nearly 2 hours, so Mary Poppins had to pick Naama up from daycare because I never made it home on time. As soon as I walked through the front door, Naama would squeal with delight and throw her arms around me. I lived for those moments. One day, Naama made her feelings very clear that she wanted me home when she got there. Like every other day when I finally got home, Naama gave me a big, long hug, except this time she didn't even let me go to the bathroom! After convincing her I was going to come right back, Naama let me go to the bathroom. When I came out, I sat back in my chair and I felt Naama's little hands undoing my sandals!! She wanted to make sure I wasn't going anywhere else!! I got the message loud and clear. I HAD to be home when Naama got home from daycare.
My boss could see my heart wasn't in my work, so as good as my writing was, he fired me. I wasn't exactly sad. No more running for early morning buses and feeling sad I couldn't pick Naama up from daycare!
Now I am looking for work from home, which would be having the best of both worlds. As one mom put it, some mothers feel that by having time apart from their babies they can be better mothers. It's a little different in my case, but I do feel I can be a better mother with Naama in daycare part time. I think keeping that in mind will help me with missing her so much during the day. With Naama in daycare I don't have to struggle physically to entertain her and she will get the social interaction she loves. Working from home means I wouldn't have to schlep on buses and trains to work and I can be here to make Naama fresh food and pick her up from daycare.
Being around to see Naama's beautiful smiling face at the end of her day is all that matters.