Moms, I Need Your Help.

“Aren’t you glad you’re past that stage?” Someone asked me this yesterday. She was referring to Carter being a bit older and past the whole newborn/infant part of his life. She asked this because just minutes before, my brand new pink shiny niece had been born in to this world, and I was gleefully counting down the hours until I could leave work and go visit her.

Truth? I’m not glad. I’ve had a heavy heart since yesterday. I envy my sister in law. A fresh mom, drugged up and in a love coma. Those 4 days in hospital are some of the greatest memories I have with Carter. It was 4 days of chaos, of people, of snuggles and of learning all about my brand new baby. What then followed was 4 blissful but hard months of being a stay at home mom. 4 months of the most quality time that I will ever have with my son. Nowadays I see him for an hour in the morning and an hour in the evening. Weekends actually feel long in comparison – I feel like I’ve forgotten how to be a great mom – and it’s breaking my heart.

My Niece, Lea.
My Niece, Lea.

The thing is, I want to work. Coming back here has rejuvenated my soul. Adult conversation, healthy lunches, Excel! (Look, I’m still using a calculator to work out simple maths, but they do say one the mommy brain hits, it never goes away.)

I started writing this piece, with no answer in mind. For once, I’m at a loss for ideas. How can I utilise my time better with my baby? I don’t want to think back on his infant years and only remember the mundane; wiping drool from his chin, mixing up bottles and buying nappies. I want to remember the play, the laughs and the learning.

So, I need your help. How have you mastered the art of a work/baby balance? How do you counteract the guilt? Do you spend less time socialising and more time at home? Do you attend mommy baby classes, or are you too just trying to fit everything in, while trying not to panic at time wasted.

(While you have a think, browse through the latest selection of Carter photos. because hes cute as fuck, and because, as MD, owner and director of this blog, I’m allowed a little shameless self promotion.) 

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  1. I have an 11 year old and 9 month old, I know how quickly time flies, my oldest baby years went by in a blur, and I was just not prepared to give all my time to work this second time round.
    I have cut my working hours down to 6 hours a day, this way I get to spend lots of time with the little person. I am also lucky I only live about 5 minutes from work so we don’t spend time in traffic at all. I also co sleep ( I know this is not for everyone ) but I love it, I get snuggle my sweet boy all night and waking up with him is possible the best part of my day! You have to do what works for you though, if shorting working days are not an option then you just have to make the most of the weekend and holidays! Ps. you doing a great job. no more mom guilt

    1. Thanks Janice – you seem to have made some small changes which have in turn made a huge difference. A lot of my bug bear is traffic (2-3 hours per day) which is time wasted in my books. Shorter working hours or even flexi time is a great solution – sadly not viable for me right now. Making the most of weekends and holidays is exactly what I plan on doing! 🙂

  2. My Kate. As you know James is 9 and I get sad and almost go into a panic how fast it all goes. I work, lucky have shorter hours and yet I still feel guilty. Just last night I was trying to sort out who can have him today as he did not go to school and I mentioned a friend of mine and he says – Mum does Aunty Mel not work. OMW I felt so bad. But in saying this we do our best as mums in the circumstances we find ourselves in. I have also learnt to not sweat the small fry anymore. I actually dont make my bed in the morning anymore (an example) as I get a chance to eat breakfast with James. You will find your groove and believe me you are the best mum Carter has and he loves you!!!

    1. I love your idea of not making the bed… I think I may adopt that approach! At the end of the day – eating breakfast with your kid vs a neat bedroom is a no brainer. Thanks Sally x

  3. You don’t need any help! Simply admitting that you wanting to figure out how to have more time with carter makes you the most amazing mom. The years do fly by and all you can do is make the time you do share together quality time! Laugh, paint, eat ice creams, run through sprinklers you name it have fun and make memories with the time you have. I struggled too when Jamie was born and I had to go back to work! I decided to find a new business opportunities which allowed me to work my own hours and be with the kids. But it’s tough, I work a lot at night and money is not guaranteed so always a stress. But what I can say is it works for me and I’ve loved having my afternoon fun with the kids while I can!!

    1. More money = imbalance or less money = quality time. I guess everything about being a mom (or a human) is about sacrifice. I’m really looking forward to doing what you mentioned above – sprinklers, ice creams and memories. I guess for now I will use my weekends wisely and keep hoping traffic will die a sudden death 🙂

  4. Honestly, there is no answer. I have 3 kids, the eldest will be 10 soon and from my own experiences the whole balance thing is a falacy. Best advice I have for you is take each day as it comes and enjoy every single waking minute with him instead of focusing on the time you can’t be with him.

  5. Two things, really.

    1) I only have time for work, family and sleep. Every single hour of my day is allocated to one of those three categories. There is no “go out to dinner with friends category” or “learn how to crochet” category. There is not even an “enjoy a shower alone” category. As my boys are getting older, I am slowing finding time for outside interests again. It really does get better, promise.

    2) There is no way I’m wasting hours of my day in traffic when I could be with my kids. Of course, finding an employer that agrees is near impossible. So I started working for myself. Motherhood is often the catalyst for big changes at work, be it less hours or saying goodbye to cubicle land forever. This usually comes with a financial impact, but did I mention it really does get better?

    1. Oh Stacey, cue all the tears! I agree with both points so much, but will be miserable if I don’t socialise, so I plan on being smarter and doing activities that get me out with my baby and seeing people at the same time. As for working closer to home… that is a huge dream for me and hopefully I can one day fulfill that.

      PS – starting your own thing is terrifying… I take my hat off to you!

  6. I cannot even begin to imagine how you are feeling! I am sure you have considered this already. Maybe one work from home day a week? My fondest memories of my childhood are not about getting the best Christmas presents (I can only remember the new face cloth each year) or how much time I spent with my parents, they are of tiny special snippets of time where my parents took time to listen to my achievements / worries or news. Who cares if the bed isn’t made or the clothes aren’t ironed properly. Be selfish with your time with Carter and steal every second you want.

    1. I love your memories! Mine were also about quality time spent and not necessarily Christmas Presents. I’m definitely going to adopt a ‘listening session’ when he’s a bit older – perhaps I’ll enforce dinner time at the table X times a week. Thanks Sarah!

      and PS – OF COURSE you’re entitled to comment. Sometimes a non moms perspective makes more sense x

  7. Do not feel guilty about anything, Carter has the most wonderful parents, and extended family that dotes on him and a crèche where he is cared for and cherished. Spend your weekends with him, friends can take second place at this stage of your life and just enjoy every minute you spend with him.

  8. Kate I have two kids – 9 (and he also went by in a blur) and 5 – I learnt that as they get older, spending time with them gets easier as they stay up later – bedtime reading to both of them is not negotiable and this can happen now for you already. It is our special time together and has enormous benefits to their learning and vocabulary – I can’t stress enough how important it is as I can now see the effects of reading the same book a gazillion times over every night without fail. I try to spend one on one time with each and help them do arts & crafts, lego or play cars or whatever – even 20 minutes a day of this makes a huge difference to them but that all comes much later on and you have plenty of time for that. Also as a working mom to try force quality time in the week when they are tired, you are tired and you just need to get stuff done just results in meltdowns and guilt. It’s not necessary to be the perfect mom 100% of the time all the time. Right now – when he is still so little, all he really wants is food, love, comfort and routine – you have many years together (even though they do go fast) and you are the best mom for him right now.

  9. Hi Kate,

    My son Ethan is 7 months old now and yes, the first four months were really hectic! I’m very lucky to have a job that’s only 6 hours a day and I take him to work with me three times a week. We can only afford a nanny twice a week at the moment but she will be full-time next year thanks to my MIL who will help us to pay her. I was really looking forward to next year as it’s so hard to get any work done with a baby in tow but you have made me realise how lucky I am to see him so much. A friend of mine has her own business working from home and she has a nanny as well. I would guess that that’s the ideal situation, but I don’t know. It’s a catch 22 whatever you do I think. I wouldn’t be able to be a stay-at-home mom, I don’t think I would cope with the constant work pressure and no time off!!!!

    1. Roz, I completely agree. You’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t. As lucky as you are having him work with you, I can only imagine how hard it is to get anything done. We need to stop beating ourselves up and realise we are doing the best we can xx

  10. Having balance between home and work is such a difficult thing for me. I am rushing in the morning to work, running around at work and rushing back to baby. Then another set of running around to get everything done at home. I think most working mothers can relate.

    I realized my situation is not going to change soon, so I have to make the best with what I have. I try to make every moment with him count. I try to do little thing’s to break the constant rush, walking through a park after work on my way home. Just to come out and breathe.

    1. I agree – the rushing at home means that even when you are with your baby things are stressed! I like the park walk idea – I try to take carter for walks often, but he ends up falling asleep and then I ruin his routine 😉

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