I was going to post my 6 week postpartum update today, but I feel like I need to get some things off my chest and maybe get some advice from you all.
Today was my first official day back to work. As many of you know, I work at an art gallery and am in charge of finding artists as well as hanging/taking down monthly exhibits. It's a small gallery, just me and 4 other coworkers.
My boss is awesome and is letting be bring Kieran to work up to a year, or until he's too much of a handful for me to get any work done. I am extremely thankful for this, but after today, I'm not sure if it's going to work.
Day to day, I don't really do much activity. I do a lot of work at my computer and that's pretty easy to handle with a little one. However, at the beginning of each month, we take down and hang a new exhibit which requires me to be away from my desk for hours at a time talking to the artist and hanging artwork. Today was one of those busy days and it was really difficult to juggle my work and my baby. Kieran still loves to be held and will only give me about 10 minutes of down time for me to get anything done. This is fine when we're at home; ten minutes is enough for me to do laundry or the dishes, but at work, it's not enough for me to get any substantial work done. Kieran also isn't a great napper, so pair that with a new environment for him and extra stimulus, means that he didn't nap all day.
I can't blame any of my inconvenience on him; he's a baby, and when we're at home, we don't really have a schedule, so I can't expect him to suddenly sleep when I need him to at work. But I'll admit, it makes things hard, harder than I thought. It doesn't help that I don't really have any space to put him. I share an "office" (I say office lightly because it's literally a closet...our supply closet) with another coworker and space is tight. The only places I can put Kieran are on me, in his stroller/car seat, or on my desk. He'll hang out in his car seat for a little while, but I feel like I need to use that sparingly so that he doesn't grow to hate it when we have 10+ hour car rides to visit family. Propping him up on a pillow on my desk works for now, but it's only a matter of time before he becomes too big to do that. I do have a Moby and an Ergo, but one, my back cannot take carrying an almost 10 pound baby for too long, and I don't feel comfortable hammering over his head.
I think my biggest problem is that I'm stressing myself out about him crying. Again, small workplace, and my office is right by the front desk where we interact with patrons. At home, his crying doesn't bother me because I know that it won't bother anyone, and I can try numerous things to try and calm him down. At work, however, I feel the need to calm him down as fast as possible so that I don't bother anyone, especially our patrons. He's a good baby and doesn't cry often unless he's hungry or wants to be held, but man that boy has a set of lungs when he wants to use them. I think my biggest fear is that he'll cry during an event and my boss will get complaints from patrons. I don't want to be the cause of stress or problems for anyone, and I want to continue my professional appearance. It also didn't help my confidence when during one of his crying spells, my coworker said under her breath, "so this is what our lives will be like now."
All of this is to say that today was stressful enough for me that I contacted a daycare to see if they had any openings. Before my boss offered to let me take Kieran to work, we had discussed putting him in this daycare, I just never got around to contacting them before. It's a church run daycare which I could care less about, but it gets great reviews from a lot of our friends and they have a school-like curriculum where kids (hopefully) learn to read by the time they leave for school.
During one of the times in which I couldn't console him, I thought to myself, "it would be so much easier if he was in daycare, I could get so much work done." And then I felt automatically guilty. Why would I send my son, this little boy who I love so very much, who I hoped for for years, to another person to raise him? Why would I pay someone else to care for my son? I don't want someone else to care for him, thinking about not seeing him for 9+ hours each day breaks my heart. But guys, it's hard. Having him at work is harder than I thought, and I don't want to get in trouble for not taking care of my responsibilities.
Deep in my heart, I think this is just a rough patch that we need to get through. The coworker that I share an office with is leaving in November and we're not getting a replacement until February at the earliest, so for those few months, I'll have the entire office to spread out in. I can bring in Kieran's pack and play which will give him a place to sleep as well as a confined place to play. Hopefully by then, he'll be more willing to be put down for longer periods of time which will allow me to get work done.
I just don't know what to do. Keeping him with me is the best of both worlds. I get to continue a job that I enjoy while also raising my son. However, I know that interactions with children will be good for him, but I'm wary about putting him in daycare when he can't communicate if something is wrong. Working doesn't allow me to go to any children's programs during the day, and while we do have friends who have twin girls right around Kieran's age, we only see them on the weekends and I'm not sure if that's often enough.
Basically a lot of thoughts are running through my head and I don't know how to begin to sort them out. I know that my emotions are heightened right now due to stress and that things will look better in the morning. I was so frustrated today that I was sure I was going to enroll him in daycare, but then he stopped crying, looked at me and gave me the biggest smile and my heart melted. I don't think I could ever let someone else take care of my son.
If you've read all of this word vomit, thank you. Any advice or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.