Breaking Up the Team

14 Nov

Father and daughter in the home office, November 7, 2010

For the first six months of my daughter’s life, I’ve been a stay-at-home Dad: working from my home office, alternating phone calls and computer work with diaper changes, warmed-up bottles and plenty of fun and games. It’s been perhaps the best time of my life. And in an instant, I have to go back to work.

A new opportunity came along that professionally made perfect sense, and it came upon us fast: I heard about the opportunity on Monday, and signed up on Friday, with a commitment to start work on Monday. Tomorrow. And that means for the first time in my daughter’s life, I won’t be sharing an office with her tomorrow. No more trying to balance a bottle in my left hand and a phone in my right. I hate the fact that I ever thought that was a bad experience. I wish I had known on the first day that it would only last a few months. I would’ve savored it so much more.

In a way, my daughter and I were the best of co-workers. When I had writer’s block, my daughter had a baby smile or a laugh to clear the clutter from my brain. I’m sure I haven’t been as productive overall as I was before baby, but I have never, ever been happier. And now while my professional side is jazzed about a new gig, my heart hurts a lot. Not just because I won’t have my partner at my side as I work, ready for another rendition of “Disco Baby” (a song I made up that always–and I mean always–works). But also because I now face the uncertainty and stress of leaving my daughter in someone else’s hands.

My wife had to head back to work after three months, and I’m sorry to say I didn’t fully appreciate how hard that must have been until now. And suddenly, without giving this the massive thinking and obsessing that’s come with every other aspect of babyhood (let’s talk strollers again, babe… let’s made a pros and cons list), we had no time to plan for child care, because we didn’t expect to need it. In a long weekend of research and frantic phone calls, we’ve learned this: it ain’t easy and it ain’t cheap.

So to you Moms and Dads who’ve done it, you’re amazing. And maybe, if you have a minute, could you tell me how I’m going to get through Monday? And then Tuesday? Who’s going to record the feedings and naps and take iPhone photos to send my wife at work? Who’s going to send pics to me?

Most of all, I hope my junior office mate understands.


14 Responses to “Breaking Up the Team”

  1. Jessica November 14, 2010 at 9:47 pm #

    Having gone through going back to work with both my kids… I got a bit choked up reading this. As for Monday… I’m still trying to figure out how to make it through my work days without my 5 month old and 2 year old. So let me know if you figure it out..
    good luck tomorrow!

  2. maiki November 15, 2010 at 12:10 am #

    If you leave her with us, we can have Skype and webcam on the whole time.

  3. Jaime November 15, 2010 at 1:59 pm #

    Monday is going to be the most scatterbrained day of your life. You wont remember anything they tell you in the new job and all you’ll think about is if the baby is okay. You’ll call the sitter/daycare/nanny as much as you can to check in on her. And you’ll learn to get along without the baby app telling you when she needs something, because honestly she’s gonna change as she grows and there will just be times when she has a rough day like the rest of us. You’ll learn as you go and it’ll be great! You’ll see her start to adore other people that take care of her and you’ll learn to love hearing their stories about her. But you will make it through Monday, and then Tuesday and the rest of her life. But you can only do it one day at a time…one step at a time.

    • standupkid November 15, 2010 at 2:01 pm #

      Thanks, Jaime… 2 p.m., and I think it’s probably time to make a check-in phone call, now that you mention it…

  4. Steve Garfield November 15, 2010 at 3:19 pm #

    Good luck in the new job. Big change. Hope it goes well. I’ll be interested in your progress.

    • standupkid November 15, 2010 at 3:24 pm #

      Thank you Steve. Excited about the job, but it’s 3:24 p.m. and I’m in massive baby withdrawal. I’m guessing it might get odd looks if I brought a baby-scented burp cloth to work, right? No, don’t answer… I know already.

  5. Shelly November 15, 2010 at 4:06 pm #

    Make sure who ever keeps her, gets her to take a nap about an hour or two before you get off work, that way you have a happy baby to catch up with when you get home and not a grouchy one.

    I stayed home with my teenager till she was four years old, and with my son I was a single mom and had to go back to work and put him in day care when he was 12 weeks old.

    Both were extremely hard, although admittedly I was never cut out to be a stay at home I was more than ready to go back by the time my daughter was 4. It was still heart breaking.

    If your putting her in day care, look around there are alot of day cares out there that have web cam monitoring and you can log on to your computer at work and check in through the web cam every so often so you can see that shes happy and playing and having a ball with all the nice sitters.

    Don’t be afraid to speak your mind about what you want or need for care for your daughter. They are providing YOU a service, you are not providing them a service, alot of daycares act like you owe them somthing for paying them a HUGE chunk of change to watch your child the way YOU want. I had a bad experience with day care when my son was a toddler and ended up taking him completly out of day care, so Im not a fan anymore at all. (granted my son is autisic and that makes a difference, day cares that arent equipped for special needs kids tend to mistreat them)
    My daughter however thrived in day care and thought it was the best thing in the world. She made friends with kids that shes still friends with.

    Dont worry dad, more than likely she will think youve just dropped her off in heaven after she gets over not having you or mom right there at her beck and call.

  6. Magister November 15, 2010 at 5:51 pm #

    Just found this blog. (I wonder how)

    I’ll add my good luck wishes from a stay-at-home/work-from-home Dad, who is now in his 11th year.

    • standupkid November 15, 2010 at 5:55 pm #

      Glad to have you here… and for all the good words today.

  7. Amy November 15, 2010 at 7:25 pm #

    You do it because you have to do it, not because you want to (much like shots and eating anything with ‘wheat germ’ in the title). But, the fact that you are so anguished about it speaks volumes to how you will be as a father for the next hundred or so years. Enjoy your girl, and enjoy having a conversation that doesn’t revolve around burp clothes (no matter how good they are!). Have fun!

    • standupkid November 15, 2010 at 7:43 pm #

      Thanks, Amy! My day’s done and I’m ten mins away from seeing my little girl!! Can’t wait!

  8. ECav November 18, 2010 at 2:20 pm #

    So, how is it going? My son is nearly 5 months and I came back to work when he was 10 weeks. Leaving him is awful! The only good part is that his nanny is wonderful and I know that he is in good hands.
    We live in Westchester too and we found our nanny through Lifeworx. Going with a service was wonderful, and we tried to do it on our own so I know what I’m talking about. If a service is too expensive, you should try the Irish Echo. As for daycare centers, they are significantly less expensive than a nanny and you may have less to worry about in terms of trusting your caregiver. Downsides (I’m told, no personal experience) are the colds and the demands of getting the baby up and out in the morning. I’ve heard really great things about Bright Horizons.
    Please keep up the blog and let us know how you are coping.

  9. Nana November 19, 2010 at 6:49 am #

    how did mom and dad handle the 1st week of baby being taken care of by others?
    I’ll bet shes 1 spoiled little girl this week..just remember to be careful… if you hold her from the time you get home till its bedtime she will expect that everyday
    Mark was the job everything you hoped for the 1st week?

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