Thursday, September 8, 2011

Changing of the Guard

There are some big changes for Team Logan in the next few weeks.  Some are welcome, some not.  Some have been a long time coming.  In the next little while, we will be completely overhauling our lives, starting with our roles in this family.  It may seem a bit drastic or a bit weird or awkward to some, but I think it will all work out just fine for everyone involved.

Sean and I have always had to work;  it was never an option otherwise.  After we had Quinn I was hoping to drop to part time but unfortunately the gap in our wages is too far.  That is no slam against Sean, who does really well as a "Team Lead" or "Specialist" or whatever you call a supervisor today without actually calling them a supervisor (and therefore, do not have to pay them as a supervisor).  That's a sign of the times.  Companies want the most out of people for the least amount of reward.  It makes me very sad.  However, four years ago we stuck the boy in daycare and returned to our working lives.  Now we have two more little ones and I have to return to work early.

It really stinks that something so personal as time with your babies should come down to money, but it does.  I know I am not alone here, either.  "Family first", as they say... unfortunately that means "work your ass off and pay others to raise them for you or starve".  At the very least it won't be as bad as the last time;  I was a complete wreck when I went back to work after Quinn. At the time, we chose an in-home daycare option as it was a) cheaper and b) decreased the sample size in the petri dish.  His initial caregiver (he would go through 4 in 3 years) was a very nice lady who took very good care of him.  That didn't stop my husband and I from clinging to each other in the driveway of her house after we dropped him off on the first day. He was inside, probably finger painting his little heart out and we were outside carrying on like we had abandoned him to the elements.

This time is different as Sean will be taking the rest of the parental leave.  Instead of trying to pay for three kids in daycare, he is gong to stay home and spend the time with them.  I did not know until recently that he regretted not taking any time with Quinn, but this is something that he has certainly wanted to do.  I don't even know where to start with how much happier I am with this decision. Wyatt and Zoe will hopefully never know what it feels like to be woken up before 6 am, hastily eat and then be shoved first into a starfish shaped snowsuit, then into a cold car to be dumped at someone else's doorstep for the day. I'm sure this is just my mother paranoia kicking in but it is hard enough finding quality daycare for one child, never mind twins.  Never mind twins where one of them has special needs.

It also means no more late-night writing out of cheques and schedules, only to be told that I have hopelessly fouled them up a week later.  Oh sure, I can calm a maniacal hummingbird and soothe the most savage of beasts at 4 am, but apparently simple banking is beyond my skillset.  I used to have to make out calendars for everyone as well;  two for daycare (one for the provider and one for the agency) and one for Quinn's teacher so that she would know which days were "bus" days and which days his caregiver would pick him up.  As per my contract with the agency, I had to send him a minimum of 3 days a week.  I worked continental shifts (2 on, 2 off, three on, two off, two on, three off, switch to opposite end of clock).  In the interests of saving money, I would have to pull at least one "Iron Mom" a month where I would work all night and then stay up all day with him. When Sean's work moved from a comfy 6 minutes away to a mind-boggling 45 mins, the Iron Moms became up all day and then work all night.  Not recommended... but, every parent in my line of work has had to do it at some point in their career.  Thankfully the woman who ran the agency is a sweetheart and after politely pointing out my error would accept my fumbling excuses, make up checks and new schedules graciously.

Quinn was also a year old mind you, when I went back to work the first time.  This time the babies are a little over 6 months old.  As of right now they are still not taking any solids as Wyatt's head is still just a touch too unsteady to start cereal.  I'm sure he would be fine, but I am not taking the risk of aspiration as pneumonia could very quickly set in with his DS immune system and with his AVSD... well, I'm not going to even go there.  In any event, I am still their chief food source and I will have to take my trusty Medela with me when I return.  It should be interesting trying to find a quiet spot three times a shift, but it can and will be done.

Although most of me is sad and a little bit melancholy about returning to work, I cannot deny there is a tiny part of me that is doing her happy freedom dance.  Let's face it, I'm terrible at the stay at home Mom thing.  I don't know how other Moms do it, frankly.  I could have stayed off forever with Quinn, but now I find myself a little too eager to go back sometimes.  Maybe it's the constant screaming... maybe it's the constant laundry or the dishes or the little pieces of paper, glue, Popsicle sticks and other random craft supplies that my 5 year old leaves in a trail behind him... but part of me has had enough.  Part of me is willing to go back to the world where insanity comes in all flavours, shapes and sizes and there is never enough coffee, Sani-Gel or Jack Daniels to clean it all off. It is a small, crazy part, but it exists nevertheless.  I guess I need a balance and a sense of order which has totally broken down around here since I went off after Christmas.  [Un]fortunately, it is time for my shift to be finished and my relief to take over.

We were trying to explain to Quinn that shortly after he returned to school, Mommy was going back to work.  He asked if he was going back to his last caregiver and was quite concerned when he was told no.  I carefully explained that Daddy would be leaving work and staying home, at least for a little while and doing all the things that Mommy would normally do.  He looked really confused for a moment and when I asked him why, he asked "Is Daddy going to pump?"  I must have looked confused then because he continued with "...pump milk for the babies?"  When I had stopped choking on my own saliva, I explained how that was impossible.  We all had a good laugh about it and now it has become a family joke "Daddy's gonna stay home and PUMP!  Bwahahaha!"  What Daddy IS going to do however, is sort out quite a few problems around here... and he is welcome to them.  If he totally wants to reorganize the kitchen to his liking, so be it.  Do whatever you like, as long as it is consistent.

Please don't think I'm just going to throw him into the kitchen and shout "Bye!" as the door slams behind me.  We've arranged it so that we have almost two weeks together to transition.  There are a few appointments in there so I can familiarize him with a few specialists and clue him in on how each of their offices operate (I know I shouldn't have to, but it really does help to know all the tricks).   We can also have a block of time together where we can plan out a few things. Things like meals and swimming lessons and "what to do with the mudroom" and "where the hell are we going to put all this crap" and "how the frick am I going to sleep in the day with two babies in the house"... and so on.

There is a new shift to go back to;  tours of four 12 hour shifts (2 days and 2 nights) followed by five days off (with the occasional "red shift" thrown in for sh☠ts and giggles). The kids will most certainly benefit the most from Sean being home as they will have consistency, structure and at least one ready parent at all times.  I will most certainly benefit as I will have consistency, structure and one ready responsible adult at all times.  Which is very important, especially after the last night shift where I am probably sporting a new set of bruises and my brain has assumed a consistency not unlike tapioca pudding.

Weekends off will be scarce, but we will all have days off during the week where we can go do something.  Wyatt will have his needs met and then some;  a parent at home means he will do whatever exercises and skill practice he will have to do to be the best that he can be.  It also means that at least one of us can attend any of the daytime groups that ICDSP offers. Sean benefits as he becomes the family MVP, which pays less than his current employer, but the perks and swag are awesomesauce. 

Going back this time feels weird.  I went back to work the last time and retained my Mommy crown.  Now, I feel like I'm passing it on.  It's freeing and scary all at the same time. Overall I think I'm getting a pretty good deal as I get to reclaim some of my sanity, have meals planned and cooked for me and I can concentrate on my career and on being a Mom when I am home.  I can also do all of this without worry as I know they are in excellent hands and well cared for.  It's not for forever, it's for the time being and it's going to be pretty good.  It will also free up some time where I can actually write without having at least one child crying in the background while I reach around the Medela.  It might also be nice to eat a meal where I'm not acting like a prisoner:  hunched over, shoveling in the food and ready to shank the first bitch that looks at me the wrong way. 

It may not be mainstream, it may not be hip and it may not be what some would deem appropriate for a guy, but my guy is going to be a stay-at-home-Dad.  It may not be what all the rest of the cool Daddies are doing, but it's a lot more than what many fathers do:  he is doing what is best for his family.  Which is more "man-up" than a lot of men are capable of giving.  He's our new hero and we will be toasting his new position tomorrow afternoon, as a family, with celebratory smoothies.

Go Team Logan, Go.  We may be switching up the roster a bit, but our eyes are still collectively on the prize.

Mom, Dad, Boy, Twins.


We are down wit dat.



  1. I firmly believe that no one is more qualified to take care of a child than that child's parent. Sean is and always has been a hands-on dad and I can't think of anyone better qualified to take over the traditional mom duties of caring for children and the home while you assume the traditional dad duties of providing financial stability for your family. We all do what we gotta do and the two of you do what you do very well. Go Team Logan!!!

  2. I can relate to much of this post. When we move back to the U.S., Rob will be a stay at home dad too. We are lucky to have guys that aren't too proud to stay at home with their kids. It's an admirable quality. :)

  3. We did the same thing when my husband got laid off 8 years ago...although it was supposed to be until the "unemployment ran out" - that all changed when we found out we were having a third child (we were 20 weeks along when we found out). It did feel very strange to go back to work and not have to get things set up with a sitter (my older two went either in-home care or a daycare center)....but it worked out GREAT!!! After more than 6 years of being a stay-at-home dad, he went back to work, but was lucky to get a job that allows him to be home when my boys get home from school. I know that all of my children have benefitted greatly from having both parents so involved. Studies have shown that girls with a SAHD have higher self-esteem along with other benefits!! Good for you and I wish you the best...just be patient and understand that most other people won't "get it" and it really doesn't matter as long as you are doing exactly what you want/need to do!!


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