Pulling A 12-Hour Shift of Baby DutyEmily Malone
Let me just start by saying that I absolutely, positively love being a stay at home mom. And I’m not just saying it to be said, I really do go to sleep most nights remembering how grateful I am to have this opportunity. But it would be a lie if I pretended like every day was easy, or that I didn’t sometimes fantasize about having an entire day all to myself.
Most days are good. They really are. But others are bad, and it’s usually when Cullen and I have a reaaally long stretch with no relief. Pulling a 12-hour stretch with a baby is no easy task, and by bedtime we are both usually in tears.
These days, Cullen typically wakes up between 6:00 and 6:30am. My husband is already up and getting ready for work, so I go retrieve the baby and bring him into the bedroom for a few minutes. Casey continues to get ready for work while sneaking in as many snuggles and hugs as he can before his bus leaves around 7:15am. At that point, it’s just me and C for the better part of the day.
We play. We eat – well, mostly he eats. I’m lucky to squeeze in one balanced meal. We go to parks. We play with toys upstairs. We play with toys downstairs. I attempt to shower. We go for walks. He takes a nap. Lather, rinse, repeat. We do it all over again. On most days, my husband tries to get out of the office and onto the first bus home – getting him to our doorstep around 5:15pm.
Once he’s home, he takes over with Cullen until bedtime – dinner in the highchair, splashing in the bathtub, rocking in the nursery, and a bottle to drift off to sleep. It is obvious to me how much Cullen needs interaction from a variety of sources. His face lights up when daddy gets home, and even if he was in a foul mood before, he’s instantly happier once dad takes over.
But on some days, like today, an extra meeting gets scheduled or a conference call runs long, and Casey doesn’t end up home until around 6:30pm – Cullen’s bedtime. For whatever reason, that extra hour or two at the end of the day is usually my breaking point. I find it difficult to be doing the bedtime routine when I’ve been going non-stop since the sun came up. Cullen is typically melting down by the time Casey gets home, and I really struggle to find anything that makes him happy when he is so bored of all my tricks and songs at the end of a long day.
I know lots of people work long days. I’m certainly not complaining about the actual length or the workload. But 12 straight hours of one on one with baby and no breaks is enough to make anyone feel crazy. My husband is working from home tomorrow, which makes it the best day of my week. I love being at home with my baby – I really do – but it sure is better when there is an extra hand or two around to help change a diaper, wipe a nose, and give me a chance to go to the bathroom all by myself.