I’m confused about a lot of things lately. My mind is constantly whirling around trying to answer MORE questions than I used to ask myself. The majority of them were about my baby when I was at home alone with her – but the more baby books and articles I read, the better I felt about what I was doing and how competently I was handling the task. Now that I’m back at work – all that knowledge has been turned on it’s ear because…. I’m not there all the time to implement all of these wonderful things to make her life better / happier / more fulfilling / more productive.
When I was growing up, through the majority of the child hood I could remember, my mother held two jobs to make the ends meet (daddy worked one job himself). In the daytime – a nurse’s aide at a private hospital in Jackson Heights. At night, a cleaning lady for an office building in the city (round abouts 48th street and Madison or so). So her schedule from what I could tell and what I remember was as follows:
6:00AM – wake up / get dressed / eat / get mind right
6:45AM – get out the house to walk or take the bus or occasionally get a ride from dad to work
7:15AM – report to ICU for work
12:00PM – Lunch time / call kids / get food / rest feet
3:00PM – quitting time / walk home / catch bus / get a cab
3:30PM – eat / nap / watch General Hospital
4:30PM – get up / shower / change
5:00PM – get out the door / train to the city
5:30PM – report to office building and begin cleaning
12:00AM – quitting time / train home / get ride home from husband (sometimes with / sometimes without kids)
12:45AM – get home / eat / sleep
The only time I was home and sentinent was uring that 3:30 – 5:00 period. I was home from elementary school so I got to see her for a few moments while she was awake; had to be quiet when she watched her stories; watched her sleep and followed her around the house while she prepared for the next job, catching whiffs of Yves Saint Laurent or L’Air Du Temps wafting in her wake as I did what I did best then – worshiped her and being in her presence. Then 5:00PM would come and I’d do everything in my power to try to convince her to stay home. I wanted her to think that being home with me was the best thing she could possibly choose at that time. Could I pretend to be sick? Could I tell her we had really fun stuff lined up if she decided to stay home? When all else failed I’d resort to crying. Painful, terrible sobs. The “i will literally die if you leave” style crying. And when she walked out the door, I would crawl under a table so I didn’t have to see her go and finish my crying there. Strange that as I type this, I tear up. You’d think 30 years later – this would be a non issue. I HATED to see her leave. I always did. But somehow – in those 2 1/2 hours per weekday and random weekends she had free – she was MOM. No one could take her place. She was my primary caregiver and my idol. Stars in my eyes for her. Even to this day at her memory. Grandma pitched in 100% to raise us and she held an extremely high place in my heart. 2nd mother. She was there when we got home from school – meals prepared – occupied house so we wouldn’t have to latchkey. She couldn’t help us with homework really because she spoke MUCH more French and Kreyol than she did English. And I have extremely fond memories of her. She was Granny. My favorite girl. But Mom? was MOMMY. Period.
So why can’t this translate for me with my little girl? I’m reading a book about sleep training that recommends that she gets 14 – 15 hours of sleep a day. a 1 hour nap in the morning; a 2hour nap early afternoon and then putting her down for the night from 7P – 7A (or 8P – 8A / 9P – 9A). And I stopped reading right then. Most nights? I don’t get home till 7P on a good day from work. If I put her down at 8… i get one hour of her? In the morning it’s all hustle and bustle to get to work. So would I only get the 1 – 2 hours to actually get to interact with her per weekday that my mom did? The whole day she will be with Grandma. And let me disclaim: I know I am EXTREMELY LUCKY that E’s mom is retired and extremely spry for 72 years old – PLUS? has an insatiable love for her only grandchild as it stands. So much so that she’s willing to watch her every day while we are at work for as long as we’ll let her. I realize there are new moms out there SCRAMBLING to find daycare and hating it and in that aspect I am sincerely blessed. I had that growing up – a Grandmother whenever I needed her. I feel poorly that my dearest only has on grandparent that she’ll ever actually have met (at least I had 3 and met all of them). But as the fates show it – this Grandmother will be her everything if she lets her. I know I will work in tandem with Ma Cora to get Theeny to where she needs to be – developmentally, spiritually, emotionally. I just hate that I feel like I’m doing it remotely. I hate that it’s kind of a toss of the coin whether she’ll be happy to see me at the end of the day or if I’ll be left asking myself “does she even recognize me?” I feel so distant from her that the bonding hours we do currently have are the ones where she is the most cranky and fussy. I get a tiny glimpse of my sweet happy little girl in the morning before I have to rush off to work. I just don’t know what to do. This is normal, I suppose… every mom goes through this – right?
How do I get THROUGH – because I am really stuck on this and I’m not sure where the light will come from. Maybe after this move, things will even out for me and I’ll feel better but as for right now? I am pretty much all the way miserable. Miserable at work because I miss her so much. Miserable when I come home because she doesn’t seem to want to be bothered with me and I get to watch her have a better conversation with the ceiling fan than she would like to have with me.
I wish my mom was here so I could ask her how she did it.
I wish i didn’t have to figure that out.