Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Dear "anonymous"

In response to the blog entry I wrote last week about taking a day off, someone left the following comment:

You're always talking about wanting to be a stay at home mom, and how you want more time with your kids. But you sure jumped at the chance to send them off to daycare and stay home alone!

This comment bothered me so much, that I feel compelled to defend myself. First and foremost, I do love my children. And, given the choice I would want to be a stay at home mom. They are definitely the most important thing to me. I do feel guilty though that my kids have to go to daycare. In fact, when I'm not at work I'm with them about 99% of the time. They have never had a babysitter, other than the occasional time that Grandma watches them. But those times are not very often.

I also try and spend as quality one-on-one time with my kids as much as possible. I read to them every day. I also try to teach them something new every day. My girls love to color, so we also try to have creative time. We sing and dance while we make dinner and do chores so that they are having fun. I feed my kids healthy meals, and make sure they're getting physical activity on a daily basis. I actually think I'm a great mom, and my children are very kind, well-behaved (as much as a 1 and 3-year old can be), intelligent, and well-adjusted.

That being said, I am human. And right now, I am under an inordinate amount of stress. There's so much to do that I'm averaging 5 hours of sleep per night. I'm the primary bread-winner right now, which is a huge burden. I'm also the only one who does any cooking, cleaning, laundry, etc. around the house. I am the primary care-giver. My husband does help out with the kids, but a good portion of their care also falls upon me. I do all of the budgeting and finances. I do all of the grocery shopping and meal planning. And I'm sure I could add about 20 other things to this list, but I think you get the point. There just isn't enough time in the day to get done all the things that I need to do.

I'm not trying to create a pity-party for myself, nor am I trying to say that I'm any busier or any better than the next person. What I am trying to say is that I am just about stretched as far as I can go, and some days the stress is almost more than I can handle.

I suppose I have been selfish lately though, because I do try to run or do some other form of physical exercise every day. I see this as "my time", and its something I cherish. Usually it means either working out on my lunch break from work, exercising after everyone else has gone to bed, or getting up at 4:15 am to fit it all in. The only real sacrifice has been my own sleep, although daddy has helped out occasionally when I've needed to fit a long run in.

But I'm exhausted - physically and emotionally. So, last week when I took my kids to daycare so I could have a "me" day, it really was something I needed. I needed to have some alone time, and not have to focus on the 1 million things that needed my attention. I needed to take a bath and a nap. I just needed a break from my life for a few hours. Is that too much to ask?

I don't feel guilty. Not one bit. This is the first time in my life that I have ever taken my kids to daycare to just go home and do something by myself. Before you judge me, please take the time to understand who I am. I do not work because I want to - I work because I have to. Maybe sometimes I act like I want to work (and honestly I do like my job so it isn't all bad). But I do not have the luxury of being married to a man who can support his family. In the 6 years that I've been married to him, he's held 9 different jobs. Sometimes I focus on the positive (like thinking that I choose to work) instead of wallowing in my own self-pity for the fact that I simply cannot be what I truly want to be - a stay at home mommy.

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

I want to apologize. I didn't mean to insinuate that you're not a good mother - I didn't think that at all. I just get frustrated because, as a stay-at-home mom myself, sometimes working mothers think that we have it SO easy compared to them. The truth is, WE never get lunch breaks and we don't have the option of leaving our children at a daycare for 8 hours to get some "me" time. I will admit that I'm jealous, in a strange way - it's been about 5 years since I've had any "me" time during the day. I'm happy I get to stay home, although we can barely afford our mortgage every month, but I get tired of working moms thinking that SAHMs have the best deal going. It's hard work and some of us never get time off. I didn't mean to insult you in any way - I just hate reading about any working parent who then takes an entire day for themself - you already don't see your kids for 40+ hours a week, is it really fair to take the extra 8 hours? I used to work in a daycare center where parents would take a weeks' vacation and drop their kid off all week long. It made me so upset. So again - a lot of this is my own frustration and I truly should not be taking it out on you. That post just rubbed me the wrong way, that's all.

Christie said...

I never said that being a stay at home mom would be easier than what I have now. But it is what I want. I miss my kids. Yesterday when I picked Bryn up, she had a bruise/scratch under her eye, terrible diaper rash, and strange bruising on her inner thighs. No one there could even tell me what happened. She was up whimpering 10 times in the night, and it killed me to take her back there today. But I don't have anyone else who can watch her. Both grandmas work, and I really don't have any other extended family who is able or willing to watch them.

Being a mommy is hard - whether you're a stay at home mommy or a work at home mommy.

I do have to ask though: if reading posts from a working mommy annoy you, then why are you reading a blog entitled "tales from a working mommy?"

Anonymous said...

I don't think there is anything wrong with you taking a day to be by yourself. I'm sure that most mom's SAH or working would love to take a day to themselves.

Megan said...

Christie - Without getting into it much with the 2 of you.. I do have a few things I need to say. First, I think it's great that you took a mental health day & ALL mom's (working or SAH) should find a way to do that, even if it's just a few hours away being selfish! It would make us happier people & we would probably be better moms & wives.

Second - Your comment above about Bryn remdinded me of a previous post concerning some bruises that she came home with you. I personally think you either need to do surprise drop-in visits to see what is going on there during the day &/or call & make a report & have the city (or whoever it would be) do some drop-in visits. I mean, I know that kids get hurt. Hannah has had a bruise or 2 that I wasn't 100% sure where it came from... but I usually have a general idea, & they have been on her legs which is common place for a stumbling kiddo that runs too fast for her little legs. I just want to say that I wouldn't let anything else slide with that daycare!

Kristina said...

You don't have to explain, Christie- it sounds like Anonymous has her own issues and is projecting them onto you.

Everyone deserves a day off, but it's up to the individual to make use of whatever resources they have available to get that time away. It doesn't just happen- no matter what you're working situation is.

As for Bryn... I'd do some spot checks too. Lochlan ends up with some scratches too- I suspect it's from either his fingernails which get too long, or from another kids fingernails or zipper or whatever. But the bruising sounds a bit weird... a few spot checks to make sure she's okay is probably not a bad thing.

(((HUGS))) Your girls are lucky- and I suspect they know that :). TTYL

LisserB said...

I need to add my two cents. I applaud you for taking your mental health day Christie. You knew you needed it, and you did it. Recharging yourself probably did you, and your girls, a world of good.

The "me time" working comment from annonymous got to me. When I was working full time, prior to being a mom, I never once woke up in the morning to go to work thinking it was "me" time. Now that I have a child, and am a SAHM, I still wouldn't consider working out of the home to be "me" time. Yes, it might be time away from the daily monotony that is caring for children, but it most certainly isn't time for yourself to do what you want.

Being a SAHM mom is still work, but I definitely feel that I have it easier than you do Christie. I can do my laundry during the day, when my daughter is playing or sleeping. I can do my dishes and put them away, and start my dinner in the afternoon. I don't have to rush around to get it on the table right at dinner time when everyone is already hungry. I don't have to use the end of the day (though I still do) when everyone is in bed to fold and put away the laundry.

While entertaining a toddler can be exhausting to do all day long, I don't have to do it after I've spend my energy being "on" at work all day.

No, I don't get days off, or scheduled lunch breaks, or get to leave "work" at work when I come home, but a lot of outside jobs don't offer the time for that either. My "job" is 24/7, but it is still the only thing I need to focus my attention and energy on. I don't need to worry about spending 40 hours a week making sure someone else's needs are taken care of before I get to worry about my family's needs.

You have 2 full-time jobs Christie, with both leaving you next to no time for yourself. I think you should take your "mental health" days when you get the chance, recharge yourself, and be a better person for it afterwards.

*hugs*

Anonymous said...

I will admit, I AM JEALOUS of your personal day. I was happy for you while reading about your day to yourself, but man I am jealous, LOL! You really do not need to explain your need for a day to yourself, we ALL need this. I stay home with my kids and can afford to put them in daycare once a week and cannot get myself to do it out of guilt. Good for you. I think the commenter is like me, jealous, longing, and perhaps projecting a little. If I knew her I would go to her house and give her a day to herself. ALL moms need it. Love your blog by the way! -Jamie

Amy said...

Christie, you are such a good mom you don't need to explain yourself at all. I have always been in awe of what you do and keep it all together. You are amazing and it's a privilage to call myself your friend. You are better than comments by someone who is to afraid to even identify herself. Lots of love, Amy

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Kristina said...

Hey! Just wanted to let you know that I posted a link to some photos of the house in my blog. Since you wanted to have a peek :).

TTYL-Kristina

Erin said...

I am glad that you took the time to stand up for yourself. And sorry that the comment from anonymous upset you. After reading the post about your husband and job issues, I found myself thinking-"man, that girl needs a vacation!" So I was super excited when you took one--albeit a mini one. So yay for you for knowing when you are at your breaking point and taking charge of what needs to be done to keep you from breaking. And boo for people who comment without taking the time to figure out that your situation is much different from theirs and to respect that. I am "encouraged" (by my husband) to get a sitter any time I need a break. I may do it this week--let someone else deal with the thumb-sucking breaking and the teething for a while. You are a great mom! How is hubby's job going?

Angie said...

It's ridiculous that you would need to defend yourself or explain why you took a "me" day. EVERYBODY needs those days and it has nothing to do with how much you love your children.

As a working mommy, I miss my son all the time and would love to have the opportunity to stay at home with him. At the same time, I can completely understand how wonderful it would be to take a day to just be YOU. It's so important to have time to de-stress because ultimately, it'll make you a much better mother.

I think you are a great mom and I admire you so much for your work out/running routine. Keep up the awesome work!

Jess T said...

Chris-

EVERYONE needs a break sometimes. We all have our loads to carry. The important thing is to recognize that you are overwhelmed and do something about it. :) I think exercising is definitely great for you. Studies have shown that it not only does amazing things for your body, but your mind also.

I would also go with the other moms that said to drop in on your sitter. You can never be too careful.

Take care,
Jess

Kristin said...

Christie,

I think that taking time for yourself whether it is your daily run or a much deserved "mental health" day is so important. Moms (let's face it we all work even if we don't get paid in currency) cannot give what we don't have. We need to recharge our batteries from time to time, and to not feel guilty while we are taking care of ourselves. I have been reading your journal/blog since the old TLOL days and I felt compelled to write and give you my support. I work part-time outside the home and it puts me in a very interesting dilemma...that is to say sometimes I feel like I am in limbo caught between SAH and working moms. I don't really fit in with either group. I think you are a great mom to your two beautiful daughters and I thank you for your ongoing honesty and candor.