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Working Mothers

post #1 of 222
Thread Starter 
I am a mother to a 14 month old and I work part time. I breastfeed and practice AP. I love Mothering magazine and the discussion boards on the website. Despite wishing I could stay home full time right now it is just not my reality. I would love to rant and rave with other working mothers about the challenges we face with child care issues, work/family balance, guilt etc.

So my first issue is with my day care center. My son just transfered up to the toddler room and I have been having so many issues since his move. The caregivers have not been giving him the food I send him with every day. I mean come on - It is bad enough to have to put him in day care I only hope that he gets love and good food while he is there. The other issue is that he has gotten bitten three times the past three weeks. I am not angry with the child or the parents. In fact I fully support keeping this child there and working with them. It makes me sad to see my child get hurt. I think this issue is a reminder for me that I do not feel good about having him in daycare and it makes me feel a bit guilty that he is there getting hurt.

So there are my two issues of the week. I would love to hear back from anyone who can relate or maybe has their own issues they are struggling with. I don't think I am the only working mom on these message boards and I would love to hear from more.
post #2 of 222
Hi! NO, you are not the only working mom...I'm at work right now!
I struggled with childcare, until quite recently...I've only been working since January...and have gone thru 3 different day cares, before settling on a private child care giver, she sometimes has another little boy, but mostly, it's just her and Soleil.
Personally, I like this, because Soleil has a home away from home, they do errands together, bake together, play together, they go to the toy library...it's only a couple of dollars extra/day too.
It was really difficult for me, but I now feel really good about it, especially when Soleil told me about the baking...cause I'm not a baking kind of person...and they also make their own playdoh every couple of days...
Oh, and this woman has 3 daughters, 7, 9, 11, they come home at 315 from school, and Soleil LOVES older kids, so she's in heaven...
Alright...I would definitely say something about the food...the only thing, is, they may have difficulty with that if the other toddlers want the same food too...
And as far as the biting thing, I would just ask how the situation in handled...
It is really hard to feel comfortable with someone else caring for your child, and My advice to you, is if you're not comfortable, then keep looking...

post #3 of 222
I'm a working (outside the home) mom, too! I'll post more later.
post #4 of 222
Another working mama.

What I want to know is: will the guilt ever go away??? I find myself feeling guilty every single day for taking V to daycare--even though we have found a great place and she LOVES it.

My other concern is that after giving of myself all day to my students, I often find I have a hard time having enough energy for Violet--I am also 31 weeks pregnant so I'm *sure* that has something to do with it. Even though I am very happy to see her, sometimes the nights drag on because I am so tired. Dh is in a show right now, so I am on my own.

As far as the food is concerned: either they don't know how important it is to you or there is some problem with having it around the other kids (I am assuming that the daycare provides food and you don't want him eating it). In either case, they need to know how you feel. Perhaps it is as simple as a misunderstanding.

As for the biting: I really admire your take on the whole thing--ie, the biter and family are not terrible people and the biter should stay in the daycare. My dd was a terrible biter. It is a hard thing for all involved. At Violets old daycare (she's on her second after being expelled for biting at the other one), they lead me to believe that all of the parents were pissed at me and Violet--which wasn't the case. They didn't deal with it well at all and I left feeling so terrible. Perhaps a talk with the parents of the biter would help you both. It must be hard to be in your shoes.

Unfortunately, nothing we tried really worked. DD just had to grow out of it.

Any ideas on what we should do for V's daycare provider?

Anyone want to share how much they pay for daycare? I can't believe how much it is a month. Dh is quitting his job and becoming a bartender after Zoe is born because it does not make financial sense to have them both in daycare full time. I am so excited for him to be a SAHD!!
post #5 of 222
I pay 33$/day...luckily, we don't always need outside help, as dh goes thru spells where he is at home (he's a carpenter, and there isn't much going on right now)...I almost want to tell him to permenantly stay home...cause I make more money...but then I'm scared I would resent him!!!:

Indiegirl, I'm newly pg, the tiredness hasn't fully kicked in yet...but I hear what you are saying...My job is shift work, I get it all over with in 4 days, then I have 4 days off...I love this schedule, I'm going to attempt to homeschool too...
post #6 of 222
Hi everyone ~

I feel fortunate to have been a sahm for about 14 months, and I wish I could still, but as I am sure you all know the need for a supplemental income made it kind of necessary to work..
I do feel lucky that we don't have to send Phineas to daycare, or a sitter's (That would take all of my income anyway, thus defeating the purpose!).. dh works days, and I work evenings, so usually about a half hour after he gets home I am out the door.. This does make me sad though too, because we rarely get any family time.
I think that this works best for us though, because I like it that Phineas is always with one of us. I have noticed that since I started working they have bonded a lot more, which is great to see! It is so nice to call home when I am at work and hear all the fun things they are doing together! Makes me wish I was there though..
I have been working more hours lately because of Christmas time (I work at a discount retail store) and I am hoping to go back to just 4 days a week or so after the holidays..
We are going to homeschool too. I am hoping sometime in the near-ish future to go to school myself for computer programming and/or web design so eventually I can earn an income from (or mostly from) home.

rockergirrl ~ I have no advice, but I really hope you are able to get something worked out with your daycare center, that must be such a tough situation for you, I can't imagine.. (((hugs for you)))
post #7 of 222

It's nice to see this thread. I also work parttime and I have to confess that I have NEVER felt guilty about it! My first child was happiest being held, 24 hours a day, which I was happy to do. But after a few weeks I felt like a symbiont more than a parent. I was lucky to find a reasonably priced daycare with an older woman who was happy to hold Claudia all morning. So I knew she was getting the care she needed and I got to go to the bathroom by myself.

I now have 2 kids and since September work at their pre-school. I am very happy with this situation because my kids' tuition is free, I have many social outlets with other teachers, my kids' love their school, and I get to drop in on their classes often to check in with them - something I could never do at my old job, even though I only worked 4 blocks away from the school before.

About the bitting... my son has several times bitten others - so embarrassing - and the way that it was eventually nipped in the bud was that the teachers watched him like a hawk to see what was triggering the behaviour. I don't want to knock your daycare (or make you feel more guilt over it), but if your child is still being bitten then the caregivers may not be watching close enough.

And I would definately find out what's up with the food situation. Maybe you could ask how to make it more convenient for to remember your son's food.
post #8 of 222
Originally posted by Corriander
About the bitting... my son has several times bitten others - so embarrassing - and the way that it was eventually nipped in the bud was that the teachers watched him like a hawk to see what was triggering the behaviour. I don't want to knock your daycare (or make you feel more guilt over it), but if your child is still being bitten then the caregivers may not be watching close enough.
ITA. With Violet's old daycare, there were only four kids on her side (the toddler side). The daycare is privately run but is on the grounds of the high school where I teach. Even with four kids, the teacher said she couldn't do anything to stop V's biting--and this was with three assistants so the kids were one-on-one most of the time. I didn't buy it and pulled V when she got a two-week warning. I think V was biting cause she disliked the woman and never really bonded with her--and didn't like the environment. This was her way of telling me.

BTW, the biting stopped right away after pulling her from daycare. We didn't put her into another daycare for several months, but she was around lots of other kids and her cousins and didn't try to bite them at all.

and I wanted to answer my own question: we pay $28 a day. I can't believe how expensive good care is. I don't mind paying it with just one kid, but there is no way we could afford sending two kids there. It would be over $1000 a month.
post #9 of 222
Should we lobby for a "Working Mother" board?

I hear ya' on the guilt and on being tired!!
post #10 of 222
Do those of you that work ever feel like you are missing out on your kids growing up? I was at home w/ ds for a full year, doing nothing but parenting. Then I started taking one University class per semester. Gradually I filled up more and more time with various projects. But with dd, just three weeks old, I've already taken her to three meetings of the campus community radio station of which I'm President of the BOD. Part of me is considering taking on a management position instead, which would take even more time. I could bring my daughter, but then, do I really want her crawling around the grubby radio station while I work? And will I be too distracted to really be there for her? As the position is volunteer, I sometimes think I'm crazy to bother. But then another part of me sees the work needing doing and feels obligated. Plus it would be great experience.
I do plan on having a career other than parenting one day.

I guess as I probably won't have any more kids, I sometimes feel like dd will grow up so fast and I'll never experience baby again. I get all sentimental and want to put my life on hold to just stare into her face. But then another part of me is just moving forward with things I started before she was born.

hmmm... life.
post #11 of 222
Originally posted by mamajulie
Should we lobby for a "Working Mother" board?

I hear ya' on the guilt and on being tired!!
YES YES YES. But if we do that, we should also lobby for a SAHM board so that no one can claim we are exclusive.
post #12 of 222
Originally posted by indiegirl

YES YES YES. But if we do that, we should also lobby for a SAHM board so that no one can claim we are exclusive.
I second!

Another working mom here. I'm lucky enough to have a huge family, so daycare has never been an issue for us. We are often watching each other's kids. Right now my sister in law is watching my son. Luckily, she's somewhat AP, but doesn't really know it. She's always apologizing for "holding" my son too much!

As far as the biting....I agree with everyone here, there should be something triggering the biting. A closer look is definately in order. My nephew was a biter and my SIL nipped it right away by observing he was jealous of the new kids in the home. She did what she needed to reassure him and it stopped. Another one of my nieces was a biter and when she went to my SIL's for daycare, she addressed it with her mom as trying to find out what would trigger it. As it was, the mom was scolding my niece and that made her always defensive. SIL helped out mom to gently talk to toddler rather than scold and all was fixed.

Food.....either she provides sufficient food, or she gives yours. I'm not sure what up here, but definately an issue I'd address. From what SIL tells me, she has to follow a guide of what to serve her kids.....like healthy snacks, a balanced meal, etc. Not sure if this is because she's licensed. Is yours? Even if she weren't, she needs to feed the child. I have strict guidelines for SIL on what to give DS, and she follows them. She's not doing it just because she's my SIL because I've seen her do it for other kids she's watched and are not family.
post #13 of 222
Me, too. Will write more later.
post #14 of 222
I work part-time too. I have to say I would have never returned to work if she didn't stay with my mom. I just couldn't handle the added stress of worrying about daycare.

I am tired when I get off work. My job requires a lot of standing and moving around and by day's end I'm bushed... then I have to make dinner and spend time with dh (who is on third shift) and dd.

I'll be a sahm after March I hope... for now I just do the best I can. My job is for financial reasons, not a career! :
post #15 of 222
I totally relate! First the guilt is absolutely horrible. The funny thing is I run to work, and then absolutely sprint to pick the munchkin up. I've been at home (went absolutely crazy), worked part time (went absolutely crazy), full time (went absolutely crazy), and now am part time at work/part time at home (and still going crazy). And it's so unfair that dh feels guilty about having ds in day care, but he's not feeling guilty that he's working. He feels guilty cause I'm working. ARGHHGHHGHGH!!!!(*&(%F*%(*&)(

It's hard to balance what you think is the best for your family, yourself, and your child. Sometimes they don't always agree.

Can I just ask where those who get good home care actually find providers? I've looked so hard, it makes me exhausted just thinking about it. I have ds in a day care, and while I'm fairly happy with the care he receives, I would prefer him to be in a more low key home.

We actually went through a whole biting fiasco about two months ago at ds's day care. It was horrible. In two weeks, ds was bitten six times!!!! Thankfully, they addressed it, as it had obviously gotten way out of control. It's a tricky issue as it's not always possible to prevent a child from biting another child. However, there are things they can do to help like minimizing free play time, keeping the kids broken up into smaller groups with more one on one activities, maybe new toys in the room. It was really simple things ( as well as other individual items with the biters) my day care did that really helped just break up the whole pattern. I'd be sure to express your concern and talk to them about what they think may be precipitating this or what they're going to do to address it.

And the whole food thing: Honestly that would really steam me, but make sure you're really clear about what you want. I know I was caught in that as I can be pretty mousy sometimes, and it wasn't clear to the providers; hence Max was served food/drink I didn't want him to have. They should however, be the UTMOST respectful of your choices.
If it's an issue of your ds wanting what everybody else has, maybe just try mimicking their menu with more wholesome alternatives? I know we had some of these issues with ds, as he wants what everybody else wants. He's done this from day 1.. never ate "baby food." Don't know why I thought it'd be any different in day care. He's only 2 and the effects of Peer pressure... YIKES!

Also, if you don't think the transition is going smoothly, maybe he's not ready to move to the toddler room? They often transition kids based more on availability, so don't be afraid to speak up.

There are just so many issues I now want to start spewing on... we definitely need a board!
post #16 of 222
Wow! I can't believe I stumbled onto this post. I am a working momma of one ds! He is exclusively bfing. (No bottles ever)
I am blessed enough to be able to leave work and go to nurse on my full days now @ 3 times and in my half days (3.5 hrs) I nurse just as I leave him and as soon as I get home. I could not do it if wasn't for my husband and a great sitter/in home day care provider. She has 3 of her own (10weeks, 2 yrs, 3+yrs) and one other 4 yr old girl. Plus a drop in or two once or twice a week. She is really good. THe older 3-4yr olds do crafts, play outide when it is not freezing, and they all read books several times per day. NO TV. Nap times are different and it is not all that uncommon for her to be rocking and snuggling my little guy when I run up to nurse.
We had a curve ball a few weeks ago though. My dh got laid off. We could not pull baby completely from day care because we would lose our spot and when he goes back to work we would be out of luck. But she is willing to work with us. So we are going half time with her. She just had a vacation Thanksgiving plus one week and ds and dh hung out the entire time. It was so nice to run home from the office to my own house and nurse and snack and throw in a load of laundry etc. I felt connected to my home like I haven't felt since I went back to work. I was amazed at how well baby and Daddy did together. Prior I have always been the primary parent. He nurses, I sling him etc. It has also helped pass this time for dh. He really likes to work and needs to for lots of reasons. Hopefully he will find something after Jan 1.

I think you just have to be very specific with your provider. What is OK and what is not. This is your child afterall. If they don't want to play by your rules look elsewhere. How about someone in your church? or Moms group?

Either waay good luck!

K: BabyE's Momma
post #17 of 222
I just posted a big huge reply, and it got lost. I hate that

Anyway, I just wanted to say that I would love to see a working moms board here. I think that it is needed as working and practicing AP present a unique set of challenges.

post #18 of 222
So great to see this post!!

I am a fulltime WOHM and I can relate to all you. The guilt, the constant second-guessing myself (Am I doing the right thing? Should we completely trade down on everything so I can stay at home? Is it better to have to work and be close to family or to move to a cheaper area and be far away?). However a big piece of me loves my job, feels what I am gaining personally from it will only benefit my son and my husband...

We have a lovely woman who comes to our home everyday. She is in her late 50's, was with one family for 10 years and another for 5. She still is in contact with those children (now all pre teen and teenagers) and they write her and send her cards. She also has 1 grandchild and 2 more on the way. She is extremely nurturing and very "AP" in her own way. We pay her $12 hour plus 2 weeks paid vacation, 8 paid sick days and all major holidays. We also paid for her CPR re-certification and last year a big bonus plus she’ll get another this year-end.

We went thru an agency. I interviewed about 5 women. My nanny was the first I interviewed and I just knew she was right. But I still went ahead and interviewed them all just to be sure. The thing I loved best about the agency was they did all the background checks. I still followed up on all her references but it was so much easier than having to do the criminal, driving, and financial checks myself.

What I love the most about having someone in our home is that our son is completely on his own schedule. I never have to wake him up early or rush around getting breakfast and things organized. There is no long drive home with a tired and hungry child. When I get home it is just bonding time. I control the food he eats which is especially important to me. He gets total one on one attention and that was great when he was just a wee one! Of course there is also the huge benefit of his rarely being sick. Of course that will change once he get to school!

The thing I like least about it is the lack of real social interaction. He doesn't have a lot of "friends" and the only play groups in my area are organized by SAHM's who are not receptive to having an non-parent take part. I live in an area of predominantly SAHM's. And frankly we can't afford gymboree, etc on top of our nanny. While my nanny is very nurturing she is not the type to get down and rollaround on the floor with him! We are trying to find enough WOHM’s in our area who would be willing to have a Saturday playgroup, so far I have only one within a 15 mile radius. Or find a way to balance our finances so we could afford a paid one like gymboree, tumbletots or kindermusic once a week.

Wow! I didn’t mean to jabber on like this! I would love to see SAHM and WOHM sections on the boards. My only reservations would be the perpetuation of the “Mommy Wars”. I have all ready seen a lot of that on these boards and it really makes me upset and sad. As every child is different so is every family situation and I hate to see people pass judgement one way or another.
post #19 of 222
I would love to see a "working Mom's" board!

So often a WOHM/WAHM posts a concern for other working moms to offer advice, and the SAHM's put there own thoughts in and often times makes the WOHM/WAHM feel guilty with their bashing *you cant be AP, you work! *. mothers have enough to deal with without the added bull. Staying at home doesnt make you a better mother, and neither does working. either you are good, or you arent. my sister in law has been home for 16 yrs, and both her kids are total mental midgets, my niece being a little sleeze and smokes heroin, and my nephew being a complete emotional and intellectual midget. she is a perfect example of what not to do. and yet, i have seen examples on the other side...WOHM kids who are left to their own devices, sometimes only find disaster.

I work parttime out of the home as an ER nurse. i love it, and i dont feel guilty for a second. i often work at night when everyone is asleep, and am home and available all day to my three kids. i sleep when my little guy is in nursery school, or when my teenager comes home from school, i rest. About the guilt, i dont think there is a mom alive that hasnt felt that way, be it SAHM or WOHM. i think it comes with the territory. Alot of it, i feel, is felt because of conflicting and ambivalent feelings. meaning, if you really want to be at home and cant, you feel guilty, if you are at home and want to work, you might feel guilty. if you are *happy* with either choice you might feel guilty!

I had a biting incident when my middle chilkd was at great grandmas. my cousins little girl was terribly jealous of my infant son, and would bite him visciously. i wanted to kill her. here he was in his little seat, minding his own business, and my cousins 2 year old would bite him all over his neck and chest, drawing blood. i finally called my cousin and told her. it was tense, but i couldnt allow it to happen. my poor grandma, who was never without my babe in her arms felt awful. my cousins child also had a specch delay, i fell adding to her frustration. it finally stopped, but man, was i pissed. i wouldnt be as graceful as you!!

right now, i am not using childcare. i do not count the 2 1/2 hrs 3x a week as daycare. 4 years ago when the sh*t hit the fan for us financially, we used child care 2 days a week, every other week, for a toltal of 4 days a month. it cost me $80 per day. But tis woman was amazing, onky had my child, her 4 year old and another toddler. she always had nicholas in her arms, adn even used a sling! i loved her so, and i slept peacefully for the 5 hours baby nick was in her care. ultimately, we sold our too expensive home, and moved to CO where i didnt have to work nearly as much. i am now in school full time (one night a week) with the hopes of becoming a Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP).

any time you want to vent, go ahead! i am here along with all the other devoted, loving and thoughtful working moms!!!

post #20 of 222
What a great thread! I'd love to see a working mom's board!
I work outside of the home full time (4 days per week, approx 12 hrs per day), and I both love it and hate it. I, too, feel a bit guilty about my time away from dd, although I know my career helps to make me a better person. It's really all about finding a balance. We are fortunate that we have family locally to care for dd while dh and I are both at work. When we were planning our family, we approached my sister about taking care of our child-to-be and offered to pay her what she was taking home at the time. This has worked out well for us. We thought about daycare but our schedules would have made it difficult to have found one flexible enough. DD also gets to spend most of her time in her own home, sleeps in her own crib, and plays with her own toys while we are not with her . . . this does help to lessen the guilt I feel a bit. I have found that the best solutions to the daycare dilemma, outside of family care, are the in-home daycares. Most towns have childcare agencies that have lists of all of the registered in-home daycares. Good luck!
mommy to Greta 3-14-02
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