Working Mama Meets Sick Baby: Trying to Keep All Balls in the Air during this Crazy Juggle

Last night after working a 12 hour day that I drove an hour to and an hour home from, I was really excited to call Hubby and find out that Miss M had woken up and he was having trouble getting her back to sleep… not (entirely) because he was getting a taste of my battle but because I missed her (and Mr. C) and was excited that I would get to see her tonight!  It’s really hard working such long days.  I only see the kids when I wake them up, dress them and drop them off at daycare.  Hubby picks them up after work and they are in bed by the time I get home.  45 minutes/day with them just isn’t enough.  The babies agree.  They are always cranky the next day wondering how long I will be gone for this time after I drop them off.

I walked in the door to see Miss M snuggled right up with her Daddy.  She looked pale and felt clammy.  She wasn’t feeling well.  She had refused to nap all day and after almost causing me to have a heart attack earlier in the evening by texting me saying “M just passed out.  What should I do?”, Hubby had put her to bed early.  When you are an hour away from home, reading a text that says your kid just passed out makes you think “fainted” and “unconscious”, not “fallen asleep.”  I gladly took over the cuddle position with Miss M who gave me a big hug while smiling and cheering “Mommy! Mommy!” through tired eyes.  Hubby had to go to a late night meeting so Miss M and I cuddled in bed and watched a Dora.  She was extremely restless and was crying and holding her tummy.  Hubby said she had fallen asleep during dinner so could be hungry.  I carried her downstairs to make her a snack.  Just as I opened the fridge door, she turned towards me and threw up.  The vomit ran down both of our bodies and splashed onto the freshly washed porcelain tile.  I ran over to the counter, still holding Miss M on my hip who was now crying hysterically and pulled off approximately 1000 paper towels to clean us up.  I stripped her down then grabbed a washcloth and sponged her clean.  She unfortunately had puked all over her favourite blanket.  There was no way she would part with it for the night so I scrubbed the puke spots with dish soap in the kitchen sink to at least get some of the vomit out of it before I could wash it.  I turned to pick her back up to comfort her but realized I was still covered in puke myself.  I turned to grab some clothes but she screamed “MOMMMY!!!!!!”, not wanting me to leave.  No one else was home so I stripped down in the kitchen as well, mopped up the puke on the floor with a dish towel and threw all of our puked-on linens and clothes down to the laundry room then picked up my sick little baby and went back upstairs, me in my underwear and her in her diaper.  We both changed into fresh, clean pajamas.  Poor little Miss M cried and cried and cried, crying out “Mommy!” and holding her tummy.  I held her tightly in my arms, reading books and singing songs until she finally fell asleep on top of my arm with her head rested on my chest.  Sigh.  This is bliss.

Not wanting to move but desperate for some time to unwind, I reached for the remote and changed the channel to something other than “Bubble Guppies.”  Twenty minutes later she was snoring, I was unwinding from a long day and…. 1 year old Mr. C woke up and started crying.  Oh no!  Not him too!  I listened and sent him telepathic messages to go back to sleep.  There was no way I was going to get out of bed without disturbing Miss M.  A couple minutes later (which seemed like 100), I shoved a pillow under Miss M’s head and slithered out of bed without waking her.  I went into Mr. C’s room to see him standing up, crying with his arm outreached holding his empty bottle.  This little man is a tank.  He was hungry.  I picked him up, brought him downstairs, filled his bottle, changed his diaper, kissed him goodnight and laid him back in his crib.  As his sleepy head was just about to touch the crib mattress, his eyes shot open to the sound of Miss M screaming at the top of her lungs.  She had waken up and I wasn’t there.  I shushed Mr. C and he slowly fell asleep.  I pulled his door shut then ran into our bedroom to find Miss M covered in puke again.  Poor baby.  I stripped her down along with the pillow she had thrown up on and got her settled to sleep in my arms.

Just as I fell asleep, my phone rang…with the ringer on.  Dammit.  I reached for it on my nightstand but could not quite get my finger tips to reach it without waking up Miss M (again.)  I could see on the call display that it was Hubby.  I hoped everything was okay.  I quickly decided that if it was important, he would call back.  There was no use waking up our sick little two-year old.  Moments later, I heard the front door unlock.  Hubby must have been calling when he was close to home to see if I needed him to pick anything up from the store.  Milk.  The answer is always milk.  Even when we just bought 8 litres of milk yesterday, we still need milk.

Hubby came upstairs and commented on how adorable Miss M was cuddled up on my chest.  He asked if he should move her to her bed or if he should join us in our bed or if he should sleep downstairs so she doesn’t wake up.  In my delirium and after reading multiple kids’ books one after another, this sounded like a Dr. Suess book to me.  “Should I sleep here? Should I sleep there?  I will sleep anywhere.”  I don’t care…just do NOT wake her up.  She really needs her sleep.

Within 10 minutes of Hubby climbing into bed, he fell asleep and started to snore.  Miss M woke up screaming.  It was understandable.  It is quite terrifying that sounds like that can come out of a human being.  It may have been the snoring that woke her up but she was suffering with pain.  She arched her back and straightened her legs then curled up in a ball with her little belly pulsing.  She screamed in pain and discomfort.  I tried pumping her legs and rubbing her tummy.  I tried distracting her with books and an episode of Dora and songs and playing “This Little Piggy” with her toes.  She was in pain.  She seemed constipated.  I decided that rather than cause her to suffer anymore than she already had, I would give her a laxative suppository.  I bought these infant suppositories over a year ago but have never had to use them.  The night before, Mr. C was completely bound up and hysterical.  I gave him a suppository and he pooped within 10 minutes and went back to sleep.  Hopefully Miss M would have the same success.  Hubby turned away and cringed as I inserted it.  He can’t stomach these kind of things.  I put her diaper back on and pulled her pants up then brought her downstairs hoping a change in scenery might distract her from her discomfort and give her some relief while we waited for the suppository to take effect.

I tried playing with a puzzle but she screamed.  I tried putting her down to play with various toys but she would grab on to me and scream “Mommy!” until I picked her up.  I walked into the kitchen and read each of the letters out loud of her alphabet magnets.  Then I pointed to each one and said its colour.  This caught her attention for a few minutes until the pain would creep up and she would scream again.  She was really pushing down with her legs.  I hoped she hadn’t pushed the suppository out.  I opened a book to read.  We read each page then pointed out each of the different colours on each page and counted all of the objects on each page.  Then she lost interest again.  She was hysterical and was going to make herself sick if she didn’t settle down.  As a last resort, I opened the back door and took her outside.  We used to do this when she was a baby.  When she would cry non-stop and we couldn’t comfort her, we would take her outside and she would instantly be calm.  This worked again.  I walked around the patio with Miss M on my hip.  We counted the chairs.  We counted the flowers.  We counted the tomato plants.  We counted everything we could see in the dark.  Counting really keeps her interest.

Then we came back inside and I tried putting her in her crib.  I let her cry for 5 minutes (while watching the clock waiting for 5 minutes to be up so I could go back and get her) to see if she would settle.  She didn’t.  I brought her back into bed with me.  Then I brought her downstairs to the living room.  Then I tried sitting her in her chair in the kitchen to see if she would sit and have a drink and a snack.  Then back to bed.  Then back downstairs so she wouldn’t wake up Hubby and Mr. C.  (There was no reason for all of us to be exhausted.)  Finally she settled down into bed beside me.  She was almost asleep when she let out a cough and threw up a little bit with it.  I was so tired I could barely move.  I reached down and grabbed a towel out of the laundry basket beside me and cleaned it up.  Then wiped it with a baby wipe.  This would have to do until the morning.  It was only a spot the size of a baseball.  There was no way I could change the bed sheets right now.  Miss M cuddled back into my chest and fell asleep.  She was relaxed and calm and sleeping like a little angel.  Finally.  I was afraid to look at the clock but did just so I knew how much time I had left to sleep.  5:07am  Crap.  My alarm goes off at 5:50am.

I fell asleep with Miss M in my arms until my alarm went off less than an hour later.  I pressed snooze while I tried to decide what to do.  I hadn’t slept yet.  I have to drive 50 minutes to get to work and should not be driving while delirious.  Miss M was sick and shouldn’t be going to daycare when she is throwing up.  I was too tired to think.  I fell back asleep and woke up to Hubby telling me what time it was each time his alarm went off at 7:00, 7:10, 7:20 and 7:30.  At 7:30, I picked Miss M up and put her into her crib.  She was still really clammy and felt a bit warm too.  She laid down in her crib, put her thumb in her mouth and fell back to sleep.  I didn’t want to have to wake her up and bring her to daycare.  Plus, I was so tired I could barely stand myself.  My own skin felt sticky.  Then I realized that I hadn’t even had a chance to wash my face before going to bed yet.  I had to go to work but couldn’t.  I had to stay home with the kids but couldn’t.

Being a working mom is such a juggle.  You feel so torn, like you need to be in at least 2 places at once at all times.  You go into work tired from being Mommy then feel too tired to be a good Mommy after work.  There aren’t enough hours or enough “Mommy’ to go around.  The fact that I commute to work makes it even more stressful and exhausting.  I spend a minimum of 2 hours each day that I could be spending with my kids, sitting in the car by myself, navigating through highway traffic trying to get to work on time then trying to pick the kids up from daycare on time just to do it all again the next day.  There are a lot of unspoken pressures on moms in the workplace as well.  We mamas return to work feeling like we have to prove that we are there to work, that we are going to stick it out, that we are going to be just as productive and innovative as we were before we had children.  There is a strange stigma around new moms that makes us feel guiltier than we normally feel (as if that was even possible) where we don’t want to say we can’t come in early/work late/work weekends or can’t come in because we have kids.  There is this strange, unspoken expectation to prove that even though you have kids, your kids will not impact your work.  No one says a word.  It is just a feeling.

As much as I didn’t want to and as much as I had knots in my stomach as I did it, I called in sick this morning and said my baby was not feeling well so I had to stay home.  I immediately stressed wondering what the reprecussions would be for openly admitting that my kid was affecting my career.  I think I worry too much.  I find that in general, transitioning from workaholic to working mom who still wants to be a workaholic but still wants to be Mommy is extremely difficult.  At the end of the day, we working mamas need to accept that we can’t do it all.  We can only try our best to prioritize tasks and make the right decisions.  We have a ton of responsibilities and a ton of stresses.  We need to take care of ourselves and what is important and simply accept that sometimes, not everyone is going to be happy with our decision.  Sometimes sick babies go to daycare when they would rather be at home in Mommy’s arms and sometimes Mommy has to be Mommy and can’t go to work because there are little ones who need us to stay home.

I knew I had made the right decision when Miss M woke up this morning and her face lit up to see me standing beside her crib, ready to lift her out.  She exclaimed “Mommy!” through her sick little voice and cuddled into my shoulder.  She vomited all morning and spiked a fever of 102.7.  Staying home was the right decision.  She is one sick little girl today.  And if I needed any further affirmation, having her tiny arms wrap around my neck as she cuddles into my lap and looks up at me and coos “Mommy!  Yuv-You!” meaning “Love You!”

As for Mr. C, he is also happy to be at home chanting “Mommy! Mommy!” as he pries the vent cover off the floor vent and drops toys down the ducts knowing I can’t stop him with a sick little girl on my lap.  C’est la vie.

Mr. C fishing for lost toys

Mr. C fishing for lost toys

andbabymakes3imean4 is one mom’s adventure while tap-dancing on the brink of insanity with 2 babies, 11 months apart.  If you liked this blog post, please follow my blog or like my page on facebook.  Thanks for reading! xo

2 thoughts on “Working Mama Meets Sick Baby: Trying to Keep All Balls in the Air during this Crazy Juggle

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