Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Halving it All

Today's post is about the trials and tribulations of being a work-at-home mommy. Ask me how I feel about working from home and, depending on the day, you'll get entirely different answers. During deadline, I'm a raving lunatic. I spend most of the time in my office crying in frustration because Jack won't stop fussing and I have a limited amount of time to turn in my columns.
On non-deadline weeks, such as this week, working from home, or in the office with Jack, really isn't so bad. Today, for example, I drove the hour to work, worked for 2.5 hours, and drove an hour home. Jack hung out in his pack n' play, and when he started to get really fussy, my boss (a retired Marine colonel) told me to put Jack in his stroller and then proceeded to take him out for a 30 minute walk. While this was semi-mortifying, it was also very helpful. I got home by 2:15, Jack had napped during both drives so I assumed he was relatively well rested, and I figured I'd be able to do some book-work this afternoon.
That's when things went totally downhill, of course. Ever since our trip, Jack's been eating the solid food like a champ and slacking on the nursing. He slept really late today (still adjusting to the time change I guess) and nursed fine then, but when I tried to feed him again at 11:30, he wouldn't focus on the task at hand. I figured he'd be starving by the time he got home, but instead of nursing, Jack went into a screaming rage that lasted a good forty minutes. Nothing helped - the three attempts I made at nursing him resulted in him biting me, which caused me to scream, which in turn caused him to scream louder. I finally gave him his pacifier and stuck him in his crib so I could pump, and he eventually calmed down and took his bottle like a champ. I'd been toying with the idea of switching to bottles during the day and I'm starting to think I might not have any alternative. He went through a weird nursing strike a couple of months ago and I'm wondering if it's related to teething. I guess I won't know till the teeth come in.
So where is all this going? Well, most of the time taking care of Jack is the "easy" part and it's the work thing that makes me crazy. Apparently things are flip-flopped this week, which leads me to the title of this post, "halving it all." I really believed that I'd be able to work AND raise an infant on my own (not sure where I got that from), but so far I find that I'm either half-assing my job as a writer or half-assing my job as a mom. Even as I type, Jack is fussing in his exercauser and I'm feeling guilty for taking the time to print out an agent list (what I'm going to do when I finish this post, which I'm sort of considering "work" because I feel like it's a good thing to write every day, even if it's not fiction). While work today was relatively stress-free, I personally do not think it's acceptable to have my boss walking my son around in his stroller so I can get my work done. I know at some point (probably around when Jack learns to crawl, which is going to be pretty soon judging by the fact that he's up on all fours now) I'm going to have to decide: put Jack in day care so I can get my work done, or quit my job.
Which reminds me - the reason I thought I'd be able to work AND raise an infant was because I promised myself that I'd quit the job once I got an agent. And of course I had really hoped that would be oh, 6 months ago. Now I feel like I can't quit the job because I don't have an agent, but I'm not sure I can keep going the way I am. Some days I really wish my cares were as simple as Jack's: twirl the purple bug on my exercauser, or bang on the keyboard. Oh, to be seven months old again. Sigh.

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