Managing long-shifted work days and still being a parent ???: really a recap of my week!

Quick Update on what’s been going on in the Squally Fam House: Mama Bear has just finished week 2 of her 10 week summer internship/job with Banfield Pet Hospital. Papa Bear has his normal working schedule, which is no schedule at all, so he comes as goes as necessary to perform the functions of his job as a Family Intervention Specialist at Youth Villages. TeeTee Bear has been holding down the fort at the house and watching the favorite Muffin, Squally Muffin, as mommy and daddy run around with like a chicken with their heads cut off trying to work.

Let me tell you, Mama Bear does NOT like working long shifts away from Squally Muffin Bear. (Enough with the 3rd person). Y’all, I have been an emotional wreck for about a week now!! Big shout out to my hospital manager for slowly working me into my 8am-7:30pm shifts by starting me with 8am-5pm, but nothing could truly prepare me for all the emotions I’d be internally churning as I was genuinely learning and enjoying the functions of my job.

Last Saturday was my first 8am-7pm shift and I’ve been struggling to figure out the traffic patterns as to not be late for work. I live about 12 minutes from my job via interstate, but Knoxville drivers CAN’T drive, so what SHOULD take 12 minutes took about 35 minutes on my first day. So when I accidentally got to work about 15 minutes early on Saturday, I sat in my car not knowing what to do with my life. I called my husband, who was in Nashville for his Granny’s 85th birthday party. Of course he was asleep, but as soon I as started talking to him, I burst into tears.. why? I’m still not 100% percent sure, but I knew I didn’t want to be away from Lariah all that dang time!!

The work day wasn’t terrible, then again, its normally not. I went home during my lunch break, breastfed Squally, ran around a little bit (you know, prefolding diapers and shoving ramen noodles into my face), and went back to work! The work day went by fast enough because we were busy and when I got off at 7pm, I walked outside to find that my car had a flat! My FIRST flat tire ever, the one time my husband decides to go out of town without me! Anybody who knows me, knows that I don’t touch my car- as far as maintenance. I show up at Chevy for whatever the need me to and I go back home. So while I’ve seen a tire being change, I had 0f intentions of doing it myself. Lucky for me, my coworker’s sweet dad came from his house and put on my spare. I got home an hour late, but Lariah was alive and well and we got to play before she passed out much later.

Monday was my next long shift, with an extra 30 minutes added actually. Since my car was still on a donut, I didn’t want to drive it. On Sunday evening, I called a house meeting to figure out how Monday was going to work without my car being in the rotation to get me to work, daddy to work, and Lariah to gymnastics. This meeting included my long-time friend, Jamilah, and her sweet baby boy Jr, who’s only 10 weeks old since they were visiting us from Memphis. It was my understanding that we had all come to agreement on the plan: Daddy drops me off at work, TeeTee & Jamilah take Lariah to gymnastics, grab some food, then bring Lariah to my job so I can breastfeed her during my lunch break, then they go home until TeeTee comes back to pick me up when I got off at 7:30, with Lariah. Daddy was the only one who got his part right. They took Lariah to gymnastics and went straight back home. Why? Because nobody listens to me. So when I clocked out for lunch, I called my sister and I’m like,”Where y’all at?” She informs me that they went home and is confused as to why I’m even calling. Naturally, I’m pissed, because I don’t WANT to go an entire day without seeing my child, I also didn’t want to pump during my lunch break, and Lariah has also never been 11 hours without nursing because she’s a stage 5 clinger who never took bottles and doesn’t take milk from anything except my breast. So I’m like, well y’all stay at home then, there’s milk in the freezer if Lariah decides to turnup on y’all: just pick me up at 7:30 like I said.

Somehow Lariah & I both survived until 7:30 and we got to play with some puppies inside of petsmart and it was a glorious night. haha. On Tuesday morning, I got my butt out of bed and went to get a new tire so that I could drive myself and go home during my dang lunch breaks!

Wednesday, the work day was uneventful: I only got bitten 4-5 times, so it was a good day. I ended up leaving 30 minutes later than I was scheduled, due to me being timid and not wanting to leave on time since none of my coworkers were (trying to be a team player), but I had to get home to my baby! I later found out that they left by 8:30pm, so that eased my guilt some. I raced home and in my emotional eruption from my car to run to my front door, I slammed my hand in my car door and cut it open! I had been being used as a dog’s chew toy ALL day and never broke the skin, but slam my hand in the car and boom, blood! So I take my pitiful butt to the door and my husband opens it and sees my hand and goes to get the first aid kit; I just hug little Squally and she gave me a kiss and violently starts trying to pull my boobs out of my scrubs so she can eat! She was asleep within 10 minutes of me getting home… I left her in the bed and went and sat in my husband’s lap and started BAWLING. Naturally, he doesn’t understand why I’m crying, but like I said, I’m an emotional wreck. I didn’t get to play with my baby AT ALL! So my feelings were hurt! She had showered with her daddy instead of me. Played with him instead of me. Done everything without mommy!! But NOT to my surprise, she got up at 2am and stayed up until about 5:15am to play with mommy. And mommy, got up at 6:45am to get ready for her next 8am-7:30pm shift for Thursday!

By Thursday, I think all of us were getting into the groove of these deadly long shifts. While my work day was busy, it was relatively uneventful. I went home for lunch, cool. I got off 15 minutes late instead of 30 and then of course, I have another complex! A classmate of mine had found some red maple leaves and had extra that I needed for a project. They had been removed from the tree for a while and needed to be pressed to avoid molding. Going to the school to get them would only be like a 5 minute detour, but my emotional self is like, that’s 5 minutes I could be with my BABY!!! I ended up going to pick up the plant though and got home and Lariah was bathed, but wide awake. THANK GOD!

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I got my first paycheck that day and needed some more newpaper to properly press my plant, so I figured Lariah could ride with me to handle my business. Let me tell y’all, I was gone for 30 minutes and accomplished NOTHING! I got to the ATM and didn’t have a SINGLE pen in my car! I checked EVERYWHERE! I found 4 pencils, but no pens. So I couldn’t deposit my check. I went to food city to get some newspaper; they were out. Went to the dollar store across the street, they also had nothing. So I just accepted defeat and went home. haha

Friday was the greatest, because I only worked 8am-1pm and Lariah was hype-out of her mind- when I got home and she tap danced all over my body and we played and played and PLAYED! We read a couple books, went to the Muse and played some more, we ate dinner; overall it was just an AWESOME day.

Today, I should be washing my hair because we have a wedding to attend at 2, but I’ll start getting ready for that after I say this.

I recapped my week to make this point; working long days is hard enough without children, but even more so with them!! I had guilt pouring out of my SOUL in every direction. Guilt for not being with my child, guilt for not being a true “teammate” and not wanting to stay as long as it took to get the job done because I was guilty about being away from my child! Guilt for having to have my sister watch Lariah for so long with only about a 30 minute break. Guilt for my husband continually having to pick up my slack at home and cook dinner and bathe Lariah, which are things I USED to do before vet school and this job. Every time I do something, there’s an immense amount of guilt that comes along with it; and I would like to call that guilt parenthood and adulthood. I’m only 23, so I’m still learning, but goodness gracious, I don’t know if I could regularly work a shift that dang long ALL the time!

Shout out to the breastfeeding moms who DO work these ridiculous shifts, like nurses and warehouse workers etc. It’s hard!! Especially trying to incorporate pumping into the busy work day!

Shout out to moms in general; because we all have to be away from our children at some point or another to provide for them or ensure they are being properly educated or whatever the case may be! Moms are SUPERHEROES and just thinking about the emotions that I feel.. being a mom is NO easy feat!

Shout out to the Stay at Home Moms, because just like being away from your child is hard, being with them ALL the time is difficult too! Within an hour of being home yesterday, Lariah had worked every nerve in my SOUL! Did it make me love her any less, NO, but it gave me a small amount of appreciation for my time away from her. Although if I had to choose, I’d pick her tap dancing on my head over working EVERY time!

I fondly remember my 10 months as a nanny/ stay at home mom; I absolutely loved it, but there was guilt there too. Spending way more time with our daughter than my husband, so our bond was stronger than theirs- that made me guilty. Not having to be away from her to make money to contribute- that made me guilty. Not being able to contribute as much as I used to- that made me guilty.

NEVER judge someone else’s situation man. You NEVER know how they’re feeling and what they’re going through!

While I feel like my week was an emotional roller coaster, it wasn’t a BAD week. It was a week of learning and understanding. Adjusting to new life situations. Coping with new cards that life had dealt me. It was an experience to say the least, but looking back on it, it makes me laugh much more than it makes me cry. haha

Life is hard. We have to have money to live it; so however you are providing or being provided for, just know that this mama appreciates your struggle, despite whatever angle it may be coming from!

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