Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Rant: I am NOT a stay at home mom

Since this blog is supposed to be my outlet for thoughts, feelings and frustrations, I'm going to write this post and let caution be damned.  If I don't get these thoughts out of my head, I won't be able to focus on what I have to do...and I have too much to do not to be able to afford not to focus.

Let me preface this by saying that: This is, beyond the shadow of a doubt, the most self-involved, possibly narcissistic post I have ever written. I apologize for that in advance. But it's a post written out of a desperate need for self-preservation...I'm at a point where I can only think about myself and my family for a few weeks. 

 I have a beef to pick- and unfortunately, it concerns a lot of my friends and loved ones.

Contrary to popular belief, I am not a stay-at-home mom.  

That's right. Though I don't get up, get showered and head off to work like many other working moms I know, I nonetheless juggle a full time work schedule that usually winds up being closer to 50 hours per week than it is to 40.  

I do this without childcare.

I do this without an office or dedicated hours of operation. 

I do this whenever and however I can, finding hours before Sammie wakes up, while he naps and after he goes to bed.  

I do this, often before the sun rises and continue until long after the moon is hanging up in the sky. 

I do this so that I can maximize the time I spend with my child. Some days, this works better than others. 

I do this, often at the expense of my health and sanity. 

I do this, generally leaving myself almost no free time for social. Which means that any social time I do take, generally results in me working at 5am or until 1am the next day. 

I do this, grateful and happy for the opportunity to do so. I do not resent or regret the fact that I have to work. I enjoy what I do, and I enjoy doing it.  I enjoy the fact that I can spend that extra hour sneaking in cuddles in the morning, and make up for it by working an hour later at night. I love being able to step away from my computer to give my sad baby a hug.  I love being able to schedule my work around my family's needs. 

Aside from the occasional insane work week, or the few times when Sammie and/or I are under the weather, this is a pretty awesome arrangement for both of us. 

There is only really one thing about this life that makes it challenging, and it is trying to manage OTHER people's expectations. 

I have given this rant before, but in the past two days, having received six (yes, six in less than 24 hours) requests to do coffee/playdate/hang out/etc. this week, I feel like I'm actually going to snap. 

I love my friends. Truly, I do. You all know that I do. 

But I also know that almost every one of you knows that I am under the gun right now. 

You follow my facebook/twitter/bbm actively. You've seen that Sammie has been sick. You've seen that I've been sick. You know that it's the last two weeks of the market, and I'm to my neck in work there. You are aware that I'm at crunch time for ECM. 

You've noticed that I haven't been "around" as much. You're aware that my online presence is practically non-existent. 

How...HOW does this strike you as the opportune time to reach out and say "Hey, you seem overwhelmingly busy...you should find time to hang out with me"?

Anyone who is close to me knows that I have an extremely difficult time saying "no", especially to my friends.  It kills me inside to say that I can't see you. Or even worse, to make plans to see you and then have to cancel because I know that I just can't swing my schedule for that day. I have genuinely spent hours in the past month crying over the guilt of just not being able to be there for everyone that I want to be there for. 

Forget being "mom enough"...Lately, I'm not sure I can even be "friend enough".

Don't get me wrong. I love seeing you, and trust me: I've been lonely as hell

I understand that you are all trying to show me love, friendship and kindness in the best way you know how to. You are amazing friends and people and I am eternally grateful to have each and every one of you in my life. 

I also understand that I have not always been clear about my capacity issues, and that I have been silently letting all of this pile up for weeks...maybe even months. 

Trust me, I am taking the lion's share of the blame here. I have not been clear with you about my needs. I am trying to fix this with this post. 

So I am begging you...truly begging you...if you love me at all...please, please, please cut me some slack. 

In about six to eight weeks, my body is going to start breaking down because of my struggles with pre-eclampsia and the practically inevitable arrival of HELLP syndrome.  My organs, including my heart, will soon stop operating at full capacity and my body will slowly start shutting down for the remainder of my pregnancy.  I will be at home, likely on bedrest for the the final 10-15 weeks, until the baby is born (probably prematurely). 

I will need all the company, support and friendship you can spare at that point. Trust me. My calendar will be nothing but open for visits and well-wishes.

Once the baby is born, I will have a full 50 weeks of maternity leave, during which I will be looking forward to returning the favours to each of you by investing as much of my time and energy into our friendship as I can spare between the sleepless newborn nights.

Trust me, you're going to get a lot of Zita-time in the next little while. 

However, in the meanwhile...I only have a few short weeks to get everything I need to get done done. 

And, there's a LOT to do. 

And, I'm totally overwhelmed and not entirely sure I can pull it all off.

So, if you want to support me during this time, I am begging you...please do not ask me to schedule anything more into my already overflowing life. I am not always able to say no, and I am not able to find the balance that I need to keep my head above the water. 

Instead of saying "When can I see you?", I would love for you to say "I'm thinking of you and looking forward to things being less stressful for you!".  

Instead of saying "Can we have coffee?", I would love for you to say "How are things going? Do you need anything? Can I help?" (The answers to that usually being no, but it's always nice to have someone offer...)

And if you are like me, and your schedule gets booked ridiculously quickly, I'd be happy to schedule in some face to face time...ideally a week or two in advance so that I can really work around it. 

So on that note: I'm laying off the social calendar until after November 15th. After that, things will ease off. But if we don't already have something scheduled for before then, please know that I unfortunately may not be able to add anything in (unless it's an emergency, at which time of course please call me...I will always be there when you need me). 

Jason and I will be determining how to best allocate what little free social time we have. We have some friends that we've been pushing off for months, and we will be finding time to see them as soon as possible. But, as for day-time focused activities, most will probably be on a hiatus for about a month.

Thank you for your understanding.


1 comment:

  1. Awesome post...sometimes the best gift of all is a bit of space.