Epiphanies: Hate 'Em.

Sometimes you have a moment of clarity. In cartoonland it's indicated by a lightbulb over the head. In the real world it's usually indicated by a total breakdown in your shrink's office. Or maybe that's just New York City, where the "realness" of said world is up for debate.

For me the epiphany was marked by an onslaught of unexpected tears after a string of events, any one of which would have been manageable on its own.

Yesterday at work, one of the more lovely women there, a grandmotherly type, made the comment, "you're back here again? That baby of yours isn't going to recognize you!"

I stopped, stunned. I stammered a moment, and babbled something about having a webcam.

Then I called Nate who was at the playground with the baby. He tried to put the phone to her ear but instead of the usual she's smiling at the phone, or she's cooing at the phone, or she's eating the phone, he told me she seemed more interested in watching the other children on the swings. (And who could blame her.)

And then Nate called me at 10 pm New York time, screaming about how a friend's late night phone call woke the baby and how this is NOT ACCEPTABLE and how I need to call her RIGHT THIS INSTANT and yell at her about it. A few moments later he called back and apologized, informing me it had been a difficult day with Thalia since she had spiked a low fever--her first--after her shots that morning.

Her first fever.

Then this morning, as soon as I woke up, I raced to set up the webcam but I couldn't find the usb connector for it. Then I found the connector but my ichat wasn't working. Then Nate's ichat wasn't working. Then it was time for the baby's nap so we tabled the whole thing until later today.

But that's not why my world came crashing down.

I suggested that Nate call the doctor about Thalia's fever, which was apparently the worst thing I could have possibly said in the whole world. Far worse than your mother wears combat boots while sucking on donkey balls and voting republican.

Because my suggestion was met with the response, don't tell me how to do my job.

Which sounds to me a whole lot like, that's not your job.

Which sounds a whole lot like, your job is there, in LA. Your job is writing commercials and flying around the country and going to meetings and ordering room service and being glued to your laptop and did you hear the phrase "take care of your baby" in that list? Yeah, that's what I thought.

And then I cried.

Because I really don't care about my hotel. I don't care that the soap is smelly or the sheets are ugly or that valet is incompetent. I'm not some sort of high-maintenance corporate bitch diva, although I think I've been doing a reasonably good impression of one this week.

But it's easy to be angry with a hotel. It's hard to be angry with yourself.


Blogger Liz said...

Do you love your job? Do you love your family? If so, then I believe there is a way you can make this work. Although there will be times when one will suffer, but it will most likely be your sanity than Thalia.

My solution: Hire to me to be your high-maintenance corporate bitch back-up to fly around and stay at crappy hotels. I'd be very good at that. :)

4/26/06, 12:01 PM  
Blogger Perstephone said...

I'm sorry. That pull of mother and career woman is tough and I can imagine how it feels. For me it is like a huge anvil sitting on my chest.

I'm going back to work full-time in a few weeks, leaving my 7 month old. This is the type of thing I worry about, exactly.

4/26/06, 12:04 PM  
Blogger Movin Mom said...

If you write commercials as well as you BLOG then you are very good at what you do because I feel like I am hearing all the things that a baby does from you from a mom who loves her baby very much! We don't even know each other. Meaning that you are also a very "HANDSONMOM" pun intended!

You know how I feel??? if you gave all of that up and stayed home then the question would be "Could you be the best mom you could be?"
You could continue working and ask yourself "Could you be the best mom you could be?"
Either way you will question yourself, just like every time you will discipline her you will know that she will be in therapy as an adult (but like you said thats a New York gimme) I question all that you do, but from a SAHM standpoint.

You definitely need to set those guidelines with Nate that no co-parent is allowed to hit below the belt EVER!
although my hubby and i have done it a million times.....perhaps I should have said Welcome to parenthood it's a lovely place to be isn't it?

4/26/06, 12:12 PM  
Blogger Jenn said...

I know how you feel. Although my job is slightly less demanding (not as much travel at all) but it's full time for SURE! The other day my cousin's teacher (long story I'll post on my blog laster) told me that we were doing a great job at working on my daughter's development and she was advanced. Before I could say anything, my mom said...."Thank You! I try" me - *blank stare* *blink* *blink* guess I got nothin to do with that...except maybe a gene or two. =\

4/26/06, 12:17 PM  
Blogger Julie Marsh said...

I don't care how lovely that woman may be (and I may have missed sarcasm on your part), she's a bitch. I really want to use a much more offensive word. Actually, I really want to beat the shit out of her and scream at her that there are very few things she could have said that would have been more cruel.

Thalia is a baby. It's OK that she's not interested in the phone every time you call. It's not a reflection on you at all.

Your friends are probably still getting used to the fact that they cannot call at the hours that they used to. I know it took Kyle's family a while to get that idea, especially given the 3 hour time difference.

Nate is with Thalia all day, every day. It's stressful - for a mommy, for a daddy, for a paid caregiver - to deal with little people for hours upon hours. It messes with your head. I've done it - as a mommy and as a paid caregiver. I know.

You and Nate are doing the best that you can. Maybe it's time to take a look at making some changes, or maybe it's just time to remind yourself of the undoubtedly good reasons that you have for the course of action you're pursuing.

I support you wholeheartedly regardless. I know how hard it is, no matter what course of action you pursue.

4/26/06, 12:19 PM  
Blogger toyfoto said...

It's hard to be away, it's hard to be there all the time. Being a mom isn't an easy thing. Keep your chin up and try and take long, deep breaths when these storms kick up. ;)

4/26/06, 12:26 PM  
Blogger Tara's World said...

I agree with the others, that woman was very insensitive. That being said Give yourself a break and take it one day at a time. tell friends to only call the cell, You need to have a heart to heart with Nate, and basically say "you can go back to work and ill stay home" Im sure he will change his tune.

4/26/06, 12:32 PM  
Blogger J said...

My heart goes out to you...this kind of stuff totally blows. And really, the thing is that there is no perfect answer. If there were, we'd all be doing it.

Is most of your work in LA? Or is it just that right now it's in LA? Cause, you know, maybe moving to LA would be an answer.

But really, yeah, be mad at the hotel. Tip big when you leave, and they'll forgive you.

Good luck. Hope things get better very soon.

4/26/06, 12:39 PM  
Blogger mamatulip said...

There's no easy answer when it comes to this. Working is hard. Raising a family is hard. Being away is hard; being there all the time is hard. It's difficult to strike a balance.

Chin up. You're doing a great job.

4/26/06, 12:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tough day for sure. Hard on him because he's dealing with a sick babe (and btw, not unusual for a wee one to have a little temper after shots) and hard on you to be apart from the ones you love.

Unfortunately, "we always hurt the ones we love" is around for a reason. They are the the most convenient target. And you feel safe and comfortable to the point where you don't put the filter in there that you do for most of the rest of the world.

You get through it the best way you can. He has to understand how difficult it is for you to be away and you have to understand how much he misses you and how difficult it is for him to feel he's holding down the fort. You're both doing important jobs right now.

Hang tough, kiddo. Hope crying it out made you feel a little better.

4/26/06, 12:56 PM  
Blogger Wendy Boucher said...

Sometimes it's just a matter of perspective. Sometimes it's just a matter of PMS. Whatever it is for you, just remember that you are FAR better off in the world having someone to love and miss as much as you do Thalia. She's a lucky, lucky bunny to have you as a mom and Nate as a dad. (By the way, my Hubby's name is Tate. I don't suppose your name rhymes with Wendy?)

4/26/06, 12:58 PM  
Blogger Amy said...

We had that argument here back when my husband was a SAHD. It sucks. Big hugs to you.

4/26/06, 1:04 PM  
Blogger DaniGirl said...

Awww, that sucks. In so many ways, that sucks. I have *so* been there, and giving up control of doctor's appointments for the boys was one of the very last straws for me. So very hard, because I have control issues to begin with, and they're my babies, dammit, and yes you may be their father but I'm their MOTHER. Oh yes.

Will you throw something at me if I tell you it gets easier? I'll duck, just in case. But it does - get easier, I mean.

4/26/06, 1:06 PM  
Blogger Stacy said...

Oh sweetie, I know how you feel. It's hard to be away from your family, but you are doing the best you can. You are still Thalia's mom and no one can ever take away that bond, even if dad stays home with her. Don't beat yourself up so much. A happy mommy is a happy baby is a happy family!!

4/26/06, 1:11 PM  
Blogger ms blue said...

That was one thing on top of the other and you were bound to reach your breaking point. Distance is hard for communication no matter how many ways we do it. I am sure you a great mom!

To cheer you up, I put a commercial on my site today. Not a good one. (Gee I hope you didn't work on it or I'll feel like a real heel.)

4/26/06, 1:52 PM  
Blogger gingajoy said...

liz, let me reassure you that whatever your (or his) work status, you would be having this conversation--we seriously ALL DO. "suggestions" at certain times (i.e. when you have dealt with a crabbyish infant all day) will be taken as "you don't know what you're doing.."

take solace from the fact that (like all of us struggling through this parent thing) you guys are as normal as the rest of us.

and i wish you guys lived closer (actually, i wish *I* lived closer) so you could witness the same dynamic at chez ginga, and then get sloshed comparing notes.

don't be so hard on yourself.

4/26/06, 1:58 PM  
Blogger Miguelita said...

I am not taking sides here, but I have been you and I have been Nate and both sides suck.

I know when I was the "Nate", I would freak when my husband would say "Dont you think we should call the doctor?" because it made me feel like I was a failure at the parenting job, which is the most important thing I do. It didnt help that his saying it just verbalzed what I was already thinking, making me want to say, "I was already thinking that because I already knew that was what he needed because I am the MOTHER AND I AM SUPPOSED TO KNOW WHAT TO DO AND I DO, OK???"

I have mellowed, somewhat, after alomost 10 months back at work, but I still second guess myself every day.

4/26/06, 2:11 PM  
Blogger IHF said...

When I have my moments of weakness in parenting, they sound an awful lot like what your husband said to you today. When I am feeling uncertain about something, and my husband makes a suggestion, it turns into, "I don't tell you how to do your job" type language only when I am feeling attacked for not having thought of the idea myself. I'm not proud of it, but I know it happens. This is probably more about him feeling worried and insecure than him feeling you don't have a place in Thalia's life. There is no perfect answer in the spectrum of options in work/babycare, and we've got to stop thinking that we can all do it all. Hang in there.

So basically, what michele said. ;)

4/26/06, 3:14 PM  
Blogger Chaotic Mom said...

I am AT HOME with my kids and still feel like a failure as a mom, on a regular basis.

My mom was the only working mom on the block when I was growing up, and she was GOOD at her job. She took a lot of crap from the other moms on the street, but did well as a nursing instructor at a local college.

I am SO HAPPY she stuck with it, even if it meant we spent a lot of time at the babysitter's house, getting beat up upon by her kids. We still turned out okay, and my mom is still working, even after her retirement. She LOVES what she does.

Now I'm sitting here, dreaming about working. I've HAD to stick at home with my boys, their special needs have made it a little harder for me to do other things. It's hard for me to even find babysitters for them, people I trust.

My hubby and I have a dream, though. That when he retires from the army in three years that I could go back to work and HE stay home with the boys. I think he'd do a better job at parenting than I have, too. I'm not kidding about that, either. I just have NO CLUE what I would do for actual pay after being out of work for so long.

This has to be very frustrating for you. I don't fully understand, but I sympathize with your feelings. Parenting is NOT an easy job, nothing like what I read in those books I have long since thrown away. UGH!

Hang in there. I absolutely LOVE coming to check out your blog. You are an amazing person. I have fun checking out your blog, reading about a life so totally different from my own. ;)

4/26/06, 3:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm sure that once you're "back home" you will feel better. Everything is intensified with the distance. Your feelings are normal, which doesn't make them easier, but you're not alone.

4/26/06, 3:23 PM  
Blogger Jaelithe said...

I have totally done to my husband what Nate did to you regarding the doctor-- the "Don't try to tell me what to do here because I work my butt off taking care of this kid all day and this is my job and I've read up on these things and I know way more about our child than you do and you're almost never here anyway so you have no idea what you are talking about and so I WILL DECIDE what is best because I KNOW, okay?" thing.

It's awful and I feel awful now just thinking about doing that to him, about undermining his confidence as a father.

(When Isaac was very small my husband really was almost never here-- he worked three jobs so I could stay home until he finally got a better full-time position-- I felt like a single parent. Only I got to stay home and all my bills were getting paid by a fairy godperson).

And of course when I had that reaction to his advice, it was just because I really was worried all the time about whether I really was making the right decisions and whether I was being a good parent, and because I missed my husband, and no matter how much I told myself that he was making major sacrifices and doing a great thing for our family by working so hard, it was still hard not to resent his absence.

It's hard work caring for a baby; it's even harder when day in and day out you don't have any adults around to give you a bathroom break once in a while, or even just talk to you for five minutes to help you keep your sanity.

But it's just as hard having to stay away from the people you love most in order to take care of them.

My advice is: just remind yourself over and over again how good Thalia really does have it in this family. She has two parents who love her and love each other. She has enough to eat, plenty of clothes, books, and toys, and a solid roof over her head. And one of her parents gets to stay home with her full time.

She has all of these things because of you. You are making this possible.

How many babies have all of those things anymore?

4/26/06, 3:23 PM  
Blogger Mel said...

Oh, don't, don't, DON'T cry! I have sympathetic tear ducts.
Whoops, too late.
I can't say it any better than those before me have said it. So I'll settle for giving you a cyber-hug:
and telling you that whatever role you play in Thalia's life is an important one. If it's the stay-home-and-physically-tend-her role, it's important. If it's the go-out-and-make-the-much-needed-money-to-keep-her-in-diapers role, it's important.
And to her, whatever you choose will be her normal life. You are telling her what is normal. And BTW, you are a hell of a mom; the reason being that you think about this stuff, nay, agonize over this stuff, that it matters to you so much.
That's mothering.
Also, amen to the heart-to-heart with Nate about hitting below the belt. That was harsh.

4/26/06, 3:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh shit girl, I feel for you. The joys of being a working mom. Just know he's probably frustrated too. And it's ok to cry about it. But know that she will always know you, no matter what some old lady says. Hugs.

4/26/06, 3:47 PM  
Blogger tracey clark said...

I'm feelin' for you big time.

4/26/06, 4:03 PM  
Blogger Binky said...

Well, if it's any consolation, you guys are definitely doing something right, as Thalia said "cat" like, how many months ago, and Tolby is still limping by with "da...da...da...da...da" and the occasional "ga"--none of which refer to an actual real-world object. So I hope you feel all the pride that is due to you as part of the mother/father team that is raising Thalia TOGETHER.

4/26/06, 4:11 PM  
Blogger The Domesticator said...

Working is hard. Staying home is hard...full time, part time, whatever. We have all been there in some capacity. Guilt just sucks. I'm sure once you are home, you will feel better. I sympathize with you. I really do.

4/26/06, 4:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I always feel so sad when I read your posts about missing time with Thalia. You are so honest in your writing and I think that we all feel your pain.

Clearly you are a wonderful woman with a great head on your shoulders. Clearly you LOVE your daughter. Clearly you love Nate. Clearly you are excellent at your job.

Sometimes it is really hard to juggle, but it is so abundantly obvious that you do it with grace and charm.

You are an amazing Mom whose daughter will grow up to be strong and charming and intelligent and loved. And I would bet the house that her she will tell anyone who will listen that she has the greatest Mom around.

4/26/06, 4:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hey mom101, you've had a bad day. Hope tomorrow is a better one, that the creative juices flow and that you speed home to your family.
Cyber knid thoughts coming your way.

4/26/06, 4:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

you can choose to take things personally, or remember that sometimes shit happens and people bitch, and sometimes... they bitch at you. and that's okay... i'm guessing nate was less focused on criticizing you/challenging your rights as a mother than you were focused on your guilt for not being there to attend to thalia in the first place.

you're not a terrible wife. you're not a terrible mom. you are loving, giving, and, from what i can tell, pretty fucking talented, which is why you're the one criss-crossing the country to keep food on the table! my god, woman, go back and re-read your wonderful posts about "feminism". you and nate decided upon a course that made excellent sense for your family--sometimes he's gonna resent you, sometimes you're gonna resent him. and that's okay.

stop blaming yourself and/or feeling sorry for yourself. you kids will have lots of arguments over who should be doing what... and when they should be doing it. that's part of the fun of marriage/raising children. i guess the bottom line is this: would you really be happy/fulfilled if things were the other way around? my guess is...no. and that's okay, too. : D

4/26/06, 4:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

that was supposed to be a "happy face", but apparantly i messed that up, sorry! : D

(seriously, i hope you don't let this keep ya down for too long... and that you remember that as soon as you get back home, you really will feel better! and, nate will, too... and, for the record? none of this ever mattered to thalia in the first place!) ^_^

4/26/06, 4:45 PM  
Blogger Sandra said...

I am feeling you through your post. I am so sorry to hear about that day. Fever's suck and Nate is just being territorial - he's likely having a bad day too. No matter how many trips or shoots or meetings or time apart from beautiful Thalia, one thing will not change ... YOU are her mom. You are the one who brought her into the world and you are the one she loves like only a child can love their mother. There is no easy solution and I bet there will be other "rotten days" but she is lucky to have a mom who loves her so fiercely and who can be a role model for humour, intelligence, creativity, resilance and so much more. Hang in there.

4/26/06, 5:28 PM  
Blogger Cristina said...

Oh man. I'm sorry that you're going through this. Balancing work and children is so hard. I had similar feelings when I went back to work. It's awful. I ended up cutting back to part-time because I couldn't take it. I hope you feel better soon.

4/26/06, 6:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

When I was working and husband was home with kid, this scenario happened MANY times. I finally screamed at him: DON'T YOU KNOW THAT MAKING SUGGESTIONS LIKE THAT MAKES ME FEEL LIKE I'M PART OF THIS PARENTING AND NOT JUST THE WALKING PAYCHECK?

Usually he'd apologize and let me make all the obvious suggestions I could for about 24 hours.

I feel for you, lady. But know this: Thalia will NEVER forget what you look like. You are burned on her brain forever. She even knows what you smell like. There's nobody like Mommy.

4/26/06, 6:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tomorrow will be a better day - for all of you. Be gentle with yourself.

4/26/06, 6:37 PM  
Blogger Her Bad Mother said...

I'm so sorry for your crap crappy day. I can't pretend to know how you feel, because my random stabs at work only take me away from WonderBaby for a few hours at a time, but I can imagine, viscerally imagine, and gah, ick, blech.

So, although I wish that I had something more profound to offer, the only thing that I can think to say is this: your day, those feelings, all of it - it just sucks. No way around it. It just does. And I'm sorry for that, and I hope that it makes a teeny smidge of difference in the level of bleak ickness of the day to know that people out here *are* sorry for that and wish that it weren't so.

4/26/06, 6:54 PM  
Blogger j.sterling said...

ah sweetheart.. it's okay!! you'll be fine and you rock at your job and you DO love it, right? what more could you ask for than loving what you do for work? your kid WILL recognize you and smack that bitch for saying otherwise. i'm sorry you had a rough day. so sorry. but thank you for sharing it with us, so we could make you feel better. lol

4/26/06, 7:35 PM  
Blogger Sam, Problem-Child-Bride said...

Hell, Liz, you sound miserable and I'm sorry. I just want to add my thoughts to that of all these other women who have already been so eloquent here. I'm not up to eloquence right at the moment but it is a universally acknowledged truth that we are often hardest on ourselves. I don't know what the remedy is for that but try and force to the front of your mind the fact that you are doing things for your child in the way that works best for your family circumstances. Rare is the woman who isn't, but we aren't often constant in our realization of that. Scoring own goals and all that.

You are Thalia's mother and are irreplaceable to her.

I hope you feel better reading all these comments. There are so many wise voices here and I wish I had something useful to add. I don't, but I hope they your heart is lightened in some way by them. I'm sorry you've been feeling low.

4/26/06, 7:42 PM  
Blogger MrsFortune said...

Oh, Liz. *hugs*

That is all.

4/26/06, 8:17 PM  
Blogger Blog Antagonist said...

Ahem...and I quote..."There is no confusing who the Mommy is, no matter where she works. I promise."

Hugs to you. I've never been in your shoes, so I can't say that I can relate. But if it's half as difficult as I imagine, you get a medal for Mom bravery.

Seriously...the grass is always greener. Yeah, staying home is good. I'm glad I chose it. But there are days that I would give my left arm to be you. KWIM?

Don't take what Nate said to heart. My husband and I have had similar arguments, and usually a reaction like that from me was due to worry and uncertainty about my ability to handle whatever situation was in question. He didn't mean it. I promise.

4/26/06, 8:52 PM  
Blogger SuzanH said...

I'm so sorry you're having such a bad time.

4/26/06, 9:24 PM  
Blogger Chicky Chicky Baby said...

I'm going to ditto what BA said. My husband and I have had very similar arguments... but that doesn't make him any less of a wonderful and caring father. Just like how you, providing for your family, doesn't make you any less of a wonderful and caring mother.

4/26/06, 9:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ahhhh... hang in there! Really-- it was a bad day, right? It'll get better.

And hey, you could be writing computer manuals. ;-)

4/26/06, 10:05 PM  
Blogger nonlineargirl said...

I am so sorry you had one of those days.

4/26/06, 10:09 PM  
Blogger Kristi said...

You know that is not the case at all. You are providing for your family and that is just as important as having a parent there for the first fever, the first tooth. I'm sorry you are feeling conflicted, but you are doing your best and that is all anyone expects. You'll make it through this day and the others that follow it!

4/26/06, 10:14 PM  
Blogger noncommon said...

hang in there mama.

4/26/06, 11:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

oh, i'm so sorry. (and i'm mad at that tactless woman at work who COULD NOT POSSIBLY be one of the more lovely women there.)

4/26/06, 11:44 PM  
Blogger Lisa said...

Some days you get the bear and some days the bear gets you. Looks like the bear got cha. Sorry to hear that though. Hope tomorrow is a better day.

4/26/06, 11:56 PM  
Blogger Catherine said...

If nothing else, my take-home message is this: think before you speak. I'm sure if that woman you work with had any idea how her words slapped you, she'd be moritifed right now.

As the 47th shard of brilliance out there, I say keep trusting yourself. You know you're doing the best you can, and no one can ask for more than that.

4/27/06, 12:11 AM  
Blogger Kristin said...

i'm sorry, that is just an all around suck-o-matic day... i wish i had pearls of wisdom...

4/27/06, 1:36 AM  
Blogger Romancing Simplicity said...

Hey there, I sent an email so I hope it gets there in one piece. Sorry about it, because I didn't really edit or anything like maybe I should have, I was trying to be encouraging but the words just tripped over each other.

But in the meantime, keep your head up and don't be too angry with yourself. You're a brilliant mother who loves her daughter, a caring wife who loves her husband, a thoughtful employee who is devoted to her job, and you're doing a good job. You're doing your best and you love your daughter endlessly and that's what people will remember later.

4/27/06, 6:58 AM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

I'm sorry. On days like that you definitely start feeling like you got the short end of the stick. Makes me appreciate my husband's sacrifices so much more.

Your baby will recognize you! You're her mom, she knows who you are and will one day love what you're doing for her.

4/27/06, 7:26 AM  
Blogger Christina said...

I'm so sorry you're feeling like this. I wish I could give you advice to make it all better, but I don't have any. It seems mommy guilt is something we can never shake, no matter what choices we make.

But be sure that Thalia knows you're mommy. Kids don't forget that.

4/27/06, 8:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i work days and my wife nights...it's not easy as we spend little time together usually...but we both have our share of baby time...however, she still feels like she's missing everything...it's part of being a mother, at least from a father's perspective....wanting to see it all.

of course, that's all good parents...always feeling like they could do more for their children, be there more, spend more time with, and more importantly WANT to do those things...

- Jon
- Daddy Detective
- www.daddydetective.com

4/27/06, 8:55 AM  
Blogger kim said...

If you were male you would never suffer this guilt. My husband loves his children and is a great dad. He never feels guilty for being away on a business trip or if we've gone for pleasure. He knows that his kids know he loves them and that's all that matters. Sometimes I hate him for being so reasonable. It's difficult to escape the expectations of our sex.

4/27/06, 9:03 AM  
Blogger Carolyn S. said...

My heart goes out to you. Days spent like this take a toll on your spirit. I've been there, far too many times than I'd like to recount. I hope your computer starts functioning soon so you can reconnect with your precious girl. In the mean time, take out your aggression by trashing your hotel room and expensing lots of room service.

4/27/06, 9:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm very sorry that you are feeling like this. Although, I really don't know what you are going through as I have never experienced being away from my boys since I work from home, the thought of it hurts me.
I'm sure you are a great mom and you are doing this all for her and you are doing the best you can.

4/27/06, 10:06 AM  
Blogger Kari said...

Oh dear, I'm sorry. But you know what? MommyGuilt runs through us all and even if you were home and devoting every second to your child, you'd be feeling guilty about something else.

4/27/06, 10:13 AM  
Blogger Marcie said...

My mother was the breadwinner in our family and traveled a lot for her job when I was growing up. There were times that I missed her, but honestly that was our life and I was used to it. I never resented her for it.

4/27/06, 10:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don't be so tough on yourself, my friend. We all have those rough days where we feel like every decision we've chosen in life is completely wrong...for ourself, our spouse, and our kids. I guess it's part of modern-day parenting. Due to the fact that I trave a lot for work but am the primary caretaker when I am home, I fully empathize with both you and Nate. When things are going shitty, it's hard to put yourself in the other spouse's shoes. I think it's part of working out how the whole spousal relationship changes when kids come along. It's a constant adjustment.

Hope you get home soon and can spend the whole weekend playing with Thalia and hugging her endlessly. Supposed to be a beautiful weekend here in the city. Enjoy yourself. You deserve it!

All the best!

4/27/06, 10:51 AM  
Blogger Redneck Mommy said...

I have no pearls of wisdom to dispense, and after 60 comments, what hasn't been said?

Hang in there, being a mommy is hard. Whether you are the bread winner or the diaper changer. Just love your Thalia, Nate and don't forget to love yourself too.

4/27/06, 11:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maybe it's been said before.........but why not just get a job where you can stay home? I don't mean to sound harsh......I mean, I feel your pain. If I had your job, it would *kill* me. I can't imagine. I just can't. It must be really hard.

4/27/06, 11:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't mean that to sound harsh......in just the short time I've been reading your stuff, it just seems like this travel stuff takes a really hard toll on you and you seem like such a dedicated mama.

4/27/06, 11:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ohhhhhh. I wish I could give you a hug and tell you it'll all be ok. Because it will be ok.

For the at-home parent, any comment--be it from the other parent, a stranger, their mother, etc---can elicit a whole lot of insecurity and defensiveness. And, there are days when John gets home from work and I forget that he has been working---it's almost like I think he has been at a spa all day or, at least, a bar drinking with his friends while I toil away at home cleaning up snot and urine. It always looks greener on the other side.

I just got an email from a SAHM who is homeschooling her two kids and she said she feels guilty that she isn't spending enough time with her girls (!); guilt is everywhere and we all wonder if we are doing 'enough'. You guys have made major sacrifices so that one of you can be home; try to give yourself a break and realize that so many of us would call what you are doing heroic, unselfish and really, really hard.

Oh, and I'm so happy I wasn't the one who called you at 10pm! : )

4/27/06, 11:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What Madge and Blog Antagonist said. You are always the momma, that will always be your job. Bad days, unintentionally hurtful comments, or crappy hotels nonwithstanding.

4/27/06, 12:04 PM  
Blogger Mom101 said...

I'm busy composing an adequate response to all of this warmth and compassion and (sometimes) tough love and insight. I don't know if it's possible, but I will attempt it.

But to smarmymama (smarmama? smarma?) - Easier said than done my friend! I don't have a job, I have a career. I am also fortunate that part of the time, I do work from home, which is pretty much unheard of in my field. In fact it's been said that I have the best job in the business. I run the NY office (ie my apartment) of an LA based firm.

The downside of that is, well, it's an LA based firm. Which requires me at times to be there. I also have to shoot commercials, because well, that's what I do. And most commercials shoot in LA or in my case, in Florida. There is no way around this unless someone can contact Karl Rove who controls the weather, and tell him to bring more 70 degree cloudless days to the greater New York area year-round. I am lucky that Nate brings her on the longer trips. But the short ones are tough.

I'm just learning here. Thus, the 101 part of the whole Mom101 thing. I'll get it eventually. I generally do. Bear with me in the meantime.

4/27/06, 12:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mom101- Hang in there! It's so over simplistic to state, but being a mom is SO hard and if it wasn't this it would be something else that was on your mind or blowing up. I have a career too
(point taken) and as one commenter pointed out, these are storms that blow up then quietly go away and life feels as if it is going more smoothly again. Clearly you and Nate have a good thing going on. You'll all be together and feeling better soon. As much as we think differently, I've had professionals tell me its harder on us moms to be away from our kids than it is on them. Hope this makes you feel a tiny bit better.

4/27/06, 12:45 PM  
Blogger Erin M said...

Someone has to do your job, if you werent wrestling with this issue Nate would be.. only poeple would be giving him weird looks over it. I know it must be hard having to travel frequently and being seperated from your family ((((cyber hugs))))

4/27/06, 12:49 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Balancing a career (not a job but a real career) is so hard when you are also a mom. While I dont travel quite as much as you do, I know how you feel. The short 2 day trips are fine but anything longer and I feel guilty too....does my baby miss me? Will she remember me when I get home? And I even admit that I sometimes get jealous b/c the hubby seems to have such an easy time of it when I am gone.

Just remember, each and every mother in the world must make decisions that are best for her family. It seems that you and Nate have a good thing going and, even though there are tough days, you are making it work. GOOD FOR YOU!

Now, go find that lazy conceirge at the hotel and tell him to bring you a glass of wine and then soak in a hot bath with your wine and call the family at home for a good night kiss. (I am an event planner so I know EXACTLY what you mean about the hotel!)

4/27/06, 1:13 PM  
Blogger GIRL'S GONE CHILD said...

You are an amazing mother, truly and i'm sure nate didn't mean it. (my hub when he is stressed says the shittiest things, he goes straight for the jugular.)

When I saw you with Thalia I saw an amazing bond. She is so well adjusted and that is a reflection of both of you.

I admire you so much. If you need a hug, call me.

4/27/06, 1:32 PM  
Blogger Diana said...

There's nothing I can say that someone else already didn't, so I'll just send you a ***HUG*** because I understand. It's hard being away from them...and it's hard dealing with them when they've got a fever...

4/27/06, 1:47 PM  
Blogger the stefanie formerly known as stefanierj said...

Oh shit, I think I've said something just like this to Daddymatic when he was (in his mind) trying to have a conversation about what to do (our sitches are reversed from your and Nate's). I went all over him, bascially saying what Nate said--or at least the way he said it--because all I heard was "blah blah blah all you have to do is stay at home all day and you can't even get this right." It was totally unfair, totally borne out of my own depression and frustration and tiredness of only talking to The Small One, but I did it. Suckerific. I was sorry, and Nate is, too.

I agree with everyone else. You are mama. Forever. She knows you better than she knows herself at this point, and when she sees you, I know she looks at you like she's seeing the face of God. There's no mistaking that, baby.

Feel better. Treat yourself like your favorite elderly relative today (I'm not making a comment about age, I only said it that way because we make special efforts to be nice to our older rellies even when they make us crazy)

4/27/06, 2:22 PM  
Blogger Movin Mom said...

Well now...Haven't you struck a cord with many a blogger ? 71 comments??? I just read this yesterday and could not believe all the extra responses you acquired since then. And in no way am I trying to imply that you & I think alike --even though that would be a compliment for me but maybe not so much for you-- but if I were to have chosen a post to reply to; it would have also been one smarmymama (did I spell that correctly?)

I guess it's good that she tried to back pedal with her not trying to "sound so harsh" comment but I'm sorry her comment wasn't received well by me and I do stay at home!! Excellent Response!!

4/27/06, 3:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

holy shit. I'm fucking #73? WTH is this craziness?

They love you Mom-101 - they really love you.

As do I. That sucks. Your perspective on this is fascinating with the whole SAHD/WOHM thing going on. But really, it just plain sucks.

So much for getting hits off this post. I'll need to post earlier, I see.

4/27/06, 3:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm sorry I wish I had some brilliant words of wisdom but as usual I come up empty handed. I'm sorry, it's sucky but you don't have anything to be angry at yourself about.

4/27/06, 3:35 PM  
Blogger Dawn said...

Oh Honey. I would make you a big mojito if you were here. I hope you feel better after your cry, I know I always do. But I am sorry that the pain has to be there too.

4/27/06, 3:42 PM  
Blogger toyfoto said...

See, I think balancing a career is one of those important things that we must support. Exactly the way we should support stay-at-home moms. Women don't become scientists, and engineers and other professions that require time away from the family. When they do they are villified. Stay-at-home moms get attacked for just the opposite reasons. The fact is, we NEED to be on the same page and realize that anger and frustration, irritation and feelings of innadequacy are bound to affect us and the job we do as parents. We are not perfect, anyone. Occasionally we are going to project our own feelings of inadequacy onto the thoughts and words of others, and twist them into some semblance of selfhatred. We'll redirect it and bite right back. It's normal, it will pass. You will always do the right thing, whatever it is. Even if you make mistakes, you will make different choices and they will be right ... until they aren't. And so the story goes.

4/27/06, 5:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've been on the giving end of the "...do my job" comment. I'm not sure if this helps, but I know for me it was never meant to hurt, but said in a more "I'm kind of drowning here and I don't want to call attention to it" sort of way.

It's so obvious that you are both wonderful parents. So sorry you had a bad day.

4/27/06, 7:10 PM  
Blogger josetteplank.com said...

Come sit next to me while I tell you something:

You're fabulous.

And, you're human.

And we're all trying to work it all out, no matter where we are, what we are doing, and who is currently watching the kid.

From the book I'm currently reading about motherhood and evolution and the misunderstood definitions of and expectations surrounding "maternal instinct":

"What does it mean for a woman to have descended from ancestors who spent the Pleistocene (the time span between 1.6 million and ten thousand years agao) trying to gather enough food to stay fed and also obtain enough help from others so that her offspring would survive and prosper? What does it mean to be all these things embodied in one ambitious woman? To be a semicontinously sexually receptive, hairless biped, filled with conflicting aspirations and struggling to maintain her balance in a rapidly changing world?"

It ain't easy. For any of us. And trust me, we all have days - if not excatly like yours - then days painted in the same palette.

4/27/06, 8:00 PM  
Blogger Gina said...

Ohhhh, I should have read this post first! Dumb scrolling downwards behavior!

I don't even know you, but if I can tell you're a good mom, I know your daughter and your husband think so, too. I'm sure of it.

You know what you need? Have you ever heard that song, "You Had a Bad Day?" Just keeding.


4/28/06, 7:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm not reading all the comments so sorry if this is just a duplicate comment- Why should you be angry with yourself? For working?

So frustrating. Mom101, right now I am tempted to say that it is compltetly absurd for you to be angry at yourself for working. That money will pay for all the things your baby needs. That is important.

But, I get it. I can understand how you feel. I am all wrecked up inside about having to go back to work in September because like yourself I have a career, one that I like, and that tends to consumes me.

Maybe by then you'll have this all figured out and you can come over and console me...

But at this point, all I have to offer to you is that the money is important. You are doing something important.

4/29/06, 6:50 AM  
Blogger wordgirl said...

Why-oh-why didn't I comment on this particular post? It wasn't because I didn't have something to say. It was mostly because I find myself in a different place. Although I have a hands-on-dad of a husband, I've always been the primary caregiver. And though I chose to stay home and do freelance from there while doing the "kid thing", I dreamed of making the $$ and having my husband take over the kid rearing responsibilities. It seemed ideal.

Your post showed ever so poignantly that nothing is ideal when it comes to raising kids and not losing your identity. No one walks away guilt free and no one stays home without a tiny bit of resentment.

As thought-provoking as your post was, I felt I could not adequately comment in a way that could be helpful to you. And that's a writer's deepest regret...the inability to change a situation through her/his own words.

I think you're doing the best you can. Both of you. Keep on plugging. As long as both of you (you and Nate) are aware of the sacrifices the other is making on behalf of the family and the baby, no one will slip through the cracks. I don't know why I didn't say it before, but it's been a big week for funerals here at Half House and my brain is fried.

4/29/06, 1:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah, I know I'm late and probably have nothing new to add here except to say that the stay at-home parents feel like shit about stuff all the time, too. Parenthood is a tough game no matter which angle you approach it from. But I promise you that what you do is equally important in your child's life just like what my husband does is important in his children's lives. Life costs money. You're earning it and supporting a family. Your daughter will grow up with an amazing role-model for a mother. And if you care to know, I grapple with that particular issue myself.

4/29/06, 2:50 PM  

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