I fired the nanny last week. It had been a month in the making, but I hit a limit after something happened on Wednesday and did not feel comfortable letting her come back again. That’s not the story here though- the story here is my frustration at the responsibility of having this child.
Baby J came down with a nasty cough on Friday/Saturday. Then by Saturday night, I had it too. The husband was out of town having a boy’s weekend so we were flying solo. We slept a lot and played outside. He had a nasty diaper rash too so we spent some time (he did, not me) naked on the porch letting his behind air out. I got some work done on Sunday while he slept.
Then by Sunday night, he was getting worse. Two nights in a row, he would only sleep if I was sitting upright with him. Which meant that I wasn’t sleeping hardly at all. And I was fighting the crud too and exhausted. He wasn’t eating very well and I started to feel plugged ducts. His diaper output kinda slowed, but not alarmingly.
We took him to the doctor Monday afternoon. Virus. Cough syrup. Lungs and ears were clear. I created an ad for the new nanny and started getting applications. I tried to work as much as possible but my brain was slow from the lack of sleep and Baby J was cranky. Work to dos kept piling up. Baby to dos kept piling up. I got another notice that I was late on a toll bill- the second toll bill. I missed the deadline to book his first birthday cruise (yes, totally a first world problem).
Wednesday, I woke up with a low grade fever at 6am and the telltale signs of mastitis. My left side was super sore, I could feel tiny knots. I hand expressed. The right side had obvious knots so I woke baby to eat. We had to go out of town for work that morning. Baby J didn’t take a bottle while my mom watched him- 1 oz for 6 hours of care. His diapers weren’t that wet. I started to worry. He wouldn’t nurse well either and didn’t want solid foods. He was acting okay- cough was bad and congestion but not lethargic. Just cranky. I got more applications for the nanny job including one from the nanny I fired (she must be crazy).
By Wednesday evening, I felt like crap but the mastitis seemed like it wasn’t progressing. I had pumped a ton and felt oddly empty for the amount he was nursing. Thursday morning, his diaper was 1/3 wet from normal, I was still feeling very empty, and he was only eating a few moments at a time. We headed back home and I called the doctor’s office. They prescribed some meds and said to call Friday if that wasn’t helping.
I emailed some nannies for phone interviews and deleted the ones that I didn’t like. Baby J was so cranky that I hardly worked. I should have just taken a PTO day. But I didn’t. My cough seemed worse. I worked as much as I could while Baby J slept- I held him for 2.5 hours in the rocker knowing that my job and purpose was to get him well. Within 2 hours of taking the first round of new medicine, he was eating like his usual hungry hippo self.
Friday, I woke to frantic texts from one of my staff about an upcoming deadline. I worked from bed while baby slept. The minute he woke, my day was one challenge after another. On every conference call, he just wanted to “sing” in his loud, baby-obnoxious way that lets the world know that he is there and he is not sleeping even though he needs it. I struggled with my upcoming schedule as a partner wanted a meeting that I couldn’t find childcare for. And how do you tell someone that you can’t make a meeting because you have a baby? Nobody understands- but when grandma is working, great grandma can’t keep him that long because he’s so darn heavy, the daycares are all booked, and you have no nanny- well, balance is a luxury.
By the afternoon, all I could think was “why am I the one responsible for all of this?” My child has a father; I have a husband. I am not the only responsible party, but so many days as mom it feels that way. My hubs works a lot and spends a lot of his “free” time also working but off the clock. His schedule changes day to day and week to week. He doesn’t really “clock out” at the end of a shift. Then he takes care of the yard, the trash, the dog, the litter box, and bits of the chaos of our lives. No, we don’t split 50/50.
I carry much of the child load. Some weeks, I carry more than others. This week, I feel like I have done 98.99%. All while I’ve been sick myself. With a child who is needy because he doesn’t feel well. I never got to the unpaid toll bills, the medical bills that I need to call and fight. Our credit card had fraud so now I have to update all of our auto pay bills (because you see what happens if I have to pay a bill by a due date on my own). None of that got done.
But I kept this child fed, alive, and on the mend. I washed the poop covered clothes. I got Mother’s Day cards and gifts for our moms and grandmoms. I healed his diaper rash. I worked on hiring a new staff member. I led a key company roll-out of a new initiative. All the while, super mom, I didn’t take care of myself.
Mother’s Day- and I will spend Saturday on the road to see in-laws and Sunday on the road to see my own mother. I won’t sleep in because motherhood calls. And the question on my mind is “when will I heal?” The cough. The congestion. But deeper, the emotional chaos of taking care of someone 24/7 and the cat and the dog sometimes and the husband so many days and the household.
I am overwhelmed. Somehow I was made for this? I’ll call a friend. I’ll sit on the porch. I’ll grab a Starbucks frappucino. I’ll get through one moment at a time. But it isn’t easy, mamas.
Happy Mother’s Day.