My husband’s company looks like it’s up for yet *another* round of layoffs, and so I need to go back to work.  Honesty, financially we need me to go back to work either way, so that we can buy a house and give Paulie all of the things he needs.

I’m really upset about having to go back to work (not that I’ve found a job yet, but I am looking).  I can’t imagine leaving Paulie with someone else all day.  What if she doesn’t do things the way I would?  What if he loves her more than he does me?  I know that’s silly, but how is he supposed to know that I’m the Momma if he spends his days with someone else?

I know that it’s not about me– I want what’s best for Paulie.  Maybe it’s self-centered, but I like being the Mommy, feeling special.  Paulie’s still young enough that he doesn’t really show much of a preference for me versus, say, complete strangers– although people point out to me that he responds to my voice.  He’s a great little guy, and I’m extrememly grateful to have him in my life, I feel like I shouldn’t complain about this.  But it kills me to think of having to be away from him all day.

I work on the weekends now, while Sweetie is home with Paulie, to bring in some money.  And I *love* working on the weekends– it gives me a sense of accomplishment and stimulation that I don’t feel on a normal day at home.  I’m teaching a great little boy who has autism, a real cutie, and I love getting out of the house and using my brain.  I love it!  And I don’t worry about Paulie because he’s home with Sweetie.

But after being away from Paulie for most of the weekend, I ache for him.  And leaving Paulie with Daddy is very different than leaving Paulie with a sitter.  What if she (assuming the sitter is female) feeds him foods that I don’t want him to have?  What if she leaves him in front of the TV all day?  And again, what if he loves her more than me?  I know this is extremely sillty and insecure, but I feel like being with kids is about putting in the time, the everyday stuff– the feedings and the diaper changes and the cuddles.  I love working part time, but I absolutely cannot bear the idea of being away from him 40 + hours/week.  Even if he were with the Best Sitter Ever.

Sweetie and I have talked about my going back for my Ph.D. (or Ed.D.).  I definitely want to do that– I’d like to get a doctorate focusing on inclusive elementary school education for children with autism.  And I think that, if I were in school, I’d only have to be away from Paulie part time.  I’d get the social interaction and intellectual stimulation that I crave, without having to be away from my baby too much.  But I’m pretty sure that I couldn’t start until next fall, and that would mean about a year of being away from Paulie too much, while he’s little.  I do need to look into that, though, and see if I could start in January.  Sweetie is on board with that– and I am definitely excited about going back to school.  Hopefully getting a Ph.D. or Ed.D. would allow me to become a professor, which seems like a very mommy-friendly job.  I definitely want a job where I can be home when Paulie gets off of school, and ideally work from home in the summers, so that I can be with him then.

In the mean time, I’d love a job where I could bring Paulie with me.  A friend of mine brings her daughter with her to work, she’s sooo lucky, and even though the job is in my field, she said that they already have too many employees’ children there.  When I was pregnant and realized that I couldn’t bear to be away from my baby, I asked my friend about working there.

My mother-in-law thinks that I should work at a day care center where I coudl bring Paulie for free.  But I hate day care centers (especially for babies) and even if I could work in an infant’s room and bring Paulie with me, how would I balance wanting to give Paulie lots of attention with taking care of the other three babies I’d be assigned to? I’d be open to nannying, if I could bring Paulie along– but I don’t think that usually provides health insurance.  Even if it did, it’s not exactly in my field, and Sweetie is right when he says that I need to stick to my field, just for my long-term career-wise.  Not that I care about my career hardly at all when I compare it to how I feel about Paulie, but we need my career in order to support Paulie.

I just don’t know how I’m supposed to be a mother in a few hours a day after work.  I want to give Paulie the best and first of my attention, not what’s left over after a long day when I’m tired.  I remember a friend telling me that, when she got home from work at the end of the day, all she could think about was getting her little guy in bed.  She “made” herself stay up and play with him, even though she was tired and had things to do– but I don’t want that for Paulie.  He’s my #1!!

So, does anyone know of jobs for a special educator/elementary educator that provide health insurance and allow you to bring your baby with you!!??  Or allow you to work from home…?

Alright, enough complaining.  I have a beautiful baby, a fabulous husband, and a good life.  Sweet little Paulie is sitting on my lap right now, moving his little hands as if he wants to type, too.  I love you, Paulie, and mommy will figure out what to do that’s best for all of us.

Here’s a picture of the sweet little cuddler, taken earlier this month: