Redundancy in child care

I’m the mom. The Mom. The MOM.

My husband said to me last night, “What happens if you get sick?” As in, “What happens to our daughter if you get sick?”

Our daughter is surrounded by love. My husband cares for her in the afternoons, we have a nanny in the mornings during the weekdays, and my mom occasionally cares for her. Our daughter is at ease with all of these people! The only issue is that I’m the only one who knows 100% of her care, including her food preparation, sign language, bathing, her bedtime routine, strategies for getting her to eat well, her daily schedule of events… and I work full time! It’s legacy from when she was a newborn and I cared for her exclusively for 3 months. I sleep trained her, nursed her, learned all her cues. When I went back to work, I didn’t stop doing all those things! Others learned what they needed to learn to get their part of the job done during the day, but no one cares for her in a 24 hour cycle like I still do on the weekends.

My husband’s response was that we should introduce another person to the mix, to build in redundancy in her care. My response was that I’m not opposed to it, but it occurred to me that if he learned sign language, or the nanny learned her bedtime routine, or my mom learned the food prep, we could have the redundancy we needed.

We’ll continue to noodle on it a bit, but at the end of the conversation, we both noted how we are AMAZED at any parents who are raising kids without an established support network as we have. How? HOW ON EARTH do they do it??



When your well laid plans for building a family change

My darling little girl is 13 months old. I will be the envy of parents everywhere in reporting that she sleeps 12 hours straight at night, eats well (not picky!), has a pretty even temperament, does very well in restaurants, and while she might be a little behind on milestones given her rough start, she always eventually meets them, and is very social and happy.

And having this pleasant child is STILL so much work and stress that I am beginning to wonder if we can handle another one.

The plan (ha! what a joke) was to have two kids, and given that it took two years for me to have a healthy pregnancy, our original timetables were out of whack. Given the difficulty with miscarriages, and the scariness with our daughter’s birth (and frankly, just my preference), I decided the second child would be welcomed through adoption. Hooray!!

So here I am, turning 39 later this year, and finding it REALLY difficult to juggle marriage, child, and work. (Friends? Social life? What’s that? Seriously, what is it?) I’ve been keeping my head above water JUST BARELY for 13 months, and it is only minutely! incrementally! marginally! a weeee bit! easier as time goes on. Actually, I take that back – it’s not easier. New issues just replace resolved issues, or bigger issues replace smaller issues. If I thought I was a multi-tasker before, well, LOOK OUT NOW! I have superhuman strength! Do you know how I know? Because I operate on LESS THAN 6 hours of sleep per night. No sleeping in, never. Sole breadwinner, long hours at work and caring for the wee one nights and weekends.

But that multi-tasking is costing me. For many moms, we are unwilling to sacrifice quality on our homes, our relationships, our families, or our jobs, so the category that gets cut is ourselves. But with just the one kid, I couldn’t cut any more of myself out of the picture! I’m maxed out!

My husband takes care of our daughter during the day and does everything else household related – all chores (all!! no joke) except that I do my own laundry and we share cooking – and he’s totally burnt out, too! Maybe we’re just not cut out to be those parents I read about in magazines, or the ones I see on the playgrounds with their kids. Maybe we really just need to be a one-kid family, despite our well-laid plans. Lord knows all that careful, conscientious planning has ended up in the toilet anyway so far!