Monday, May 03, 2010

Window into Working Motherhood

Imagine that while taking a test — which you're doing finally because it is the only time you get to actually think straight because it is finally quiet and you're able to take the test — you are having a sensitive part of your anatomy pulled, tugged, hit, squeezed and bitten.

This is why mamas need a Mother's Day, and back rubs, and meals cooked for them, and houses cleaned, and gift certificates for spa days! Believe me, I am looking forward to the day when mother's efforts are recognized. Part of me wants to just spend the day in bed sleeping without having to do anything baby related. But the truth is, I would miss her.

For the past several months now, my morning routine has been to get up and work around 8am and finish sometimes around noon. I don't use child care; this is partly out of personal choice but also a little bit of necessity. There just isn't a good reason, or a good place to take her if I wanted someone else to watch her for a few hours while I work, so I work and take care of her at the same time.

Usually this isn't a problem, I think, because I have years of practice at multi-tasking and being over-extended and am good at it, but every once in a while — by this I mean once every 2 months — she becomes a nearly unbearable handful.

I think that right now this is related to her being in full on teething mode. She sprouted her first tooth 2 weeks ago. She's a classically 'easy' baby temperament-wise so it really stands out when she fusses. And, OMG, it got so bad one day I put on my gun shooting ear muffs. I use them when I run the blender during papermaking. And sometimes I put them on her when I have to have her nearby while I make paper. I felt bad putting them on just to drown out her fussing, but I just could not work, on a deadline, with all the fussing. I had tried everything else up until that point.

And an amazing thing happened when I put them on.

The distraction stopped her fussing immediately.

She stayed quiet for quite a good amount of time while she studied my new appearance. Phew! What luck. The dogs have been helpful distractions for her, but they're not reliable. They don't perform on command. And I sympathize with her teething discomfort. When I have had endo-related pain I can be a real grump too.

I shall have to log this general 'distraction technique' to memory and bust out other forms of distraction as needed later. Working motherhood is definitely an exercise in creative problem-solving on the fly.


Becky said...

I completely understand. There are times when I just want to hand her over to someone, scream, and then go somewhere far away for a few hours. But you're right...I'd miss her. And I'd worry about her, I'd think about her, and I'd long to hold her again. The trials of being a good mother, I guess. :)

I have a hard time working when Kayla is around, too. It's getting better, though, because she's more mobile and able to entertain herself a bit more easily than a month or so ago.

Somehow, though, I think I missed the "creative mother" gene. What the heck happened to me? Hmmmm...

Little Lovables said...

what a neat idea. maybe she had a little bit of sensory overload, so the sound muffling cradeld around her head was comforting.

Unbalanced Reaction said...

That is such a funny image... but whatever works, right? Keep on truckin', super woman!

Science Bear said...

I really appreciate the honesty in this post. It seems like everyone I know is completely rainbows and butterflies when it comes to their child, but lets be honest, no one likes getting up every few hours right after they give birth. You're only the second person I "know" that has admitted to the REAL demands of having a child. For some reason most of my friends don't believe they can admit that they don't love changing every single diaper.

THANK YOU! You can love your child but still feel overwhelmed by the demands they require and it seems like so few people want to confess this "little secret."

PS Glad to see you back! It's been a while since your last post :)

Jenni Price Illustration said...

You have such a sweet, beautiful baby! What a doll!

Consequence said...

I came across your blog and wonder why you haven't posted in over a year? I guess your writing has gone in different directions?

Field Notes said...

Yes, life has gone in such a different direction. The papermaking business that I started has blossomed into a full scale operation (though still home-based) and I work far more hours than I used, leaving no time for writing. I miss writing sometimes though and I know I won't be papermaking forever. It's too demanding! I think in about 3-5 years I will be ready to move on to something else entirely. Perhaps writing a book. I've got a few academic books I'd like to write (nonverbal communication, primate behavior) good stuff!