on difficult transitions.

In my mind, surely placed there by a thousand ad campaigns and television shows, the working mom stood by the stove, frazzled, while the kid cried his face off nearby. This was the image I had of what our home life would be like when I went back to work. I was shocked and pleased when it turned out that Atticus was just fine in the afternoons. He napped at school and was cheerful when he came home. Back when he was still needing one more short nap, Mike or I would rock him to sleep and enjoy the snuggle time. Sometimes he’s cranky. But, let’s face it, sometimes I’m cranky around 5:00, too. He likes school and has kind teachers and is learning so many things. It’s all been so much better than I imagined the first day I soldiered back to work, sure I had destroyed my child’s future.

Last week, though, was every horrible thing I thought being a working mom would be. Atticus cried at drop-off and he cried in the evenings while I worked on dinner. One morning I drove all the way to work with Mike’s keys and had to turn around and drive them back home. There were some long days and all of us were exhausted. On Friday, Atticus got a fever and he decided that he didn’t like me too much since I was the one who kept dropping him off at his school.

So, not the easiest transition ever.

It culminated in a weekend where Atticus sobbed for his daddy if Mike stepped more than two feet away from him. Things I know are true: he is confused about the changes in our routine, he is tired, he is getting over being sick. Another thing that is true: it hurt to have him act repulsed by me. There was a particular low point on Sunday when I held him for over an hour as he wailed for his daddy (who was at work). I said, over and over, “I love you. I am sorry you feel this way.” He finally stopped crying long enough to fall asleep on my shoulder. He slept for an hour only to wake up sobbing again.

(He’s really heavy these days and half my height. I had to maneuver him into the crib. Is that an Olympic event? It seems way harder than race walking.)

Mike is so sweet about these things. He kept trying to get Atticus to make positive connections about me (You know who else loves dinosaurs? MAMA!) and singing songs about me. But Atticus was having none of it. Mike finally conceded that he could not go to the grocery store and that, instead, he would be the one to take Atticus to the pool. That there was no way Atticus was going to let himself be left alone with me.

I didn’t really want to tell Atticus goodbye, because I kind of figured that he wouldn’t care. And I’d spent an hour telling him I loved him while he wailed for someone else. I am only human, y’all.

As I walked out of the door, I said, “Bye-bye, buddy!” He looked at me and said, “Bye-bye, Mama!” then reached his arms up and said, “Kiss!” After he kissed me he said, “I love you!”

I changed my mind about running away from home. I think I’ll stay.

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7 Comments

  1. Oh, Kari. Our mama-hearts are so incredibly tender when it comes to our little boys, aren’t they? :~)

    I’m slowly letting myself consider the idea of going back to work, and I have to admit, my only real concern is our little B (who is also QUITE heavy and has been half my height for several months, as I’m only 5′ tall!). How did you go through the process of selecting Atticus’ “school”?

    Posted 8/27/2012 at | Permalink
  2. Friend I am so sorry. These transitions through mother good can be so hard. My heart breaks for both of you. Things will ease up and your adjustment period will be over and the routine will be just that. Praying f

    Posted 8/27/2012 at | Permalink
  3. Ahh. Praying for everyone’s sake that the transition goes quickly. Hugs.

    Posted 8/27/2012 at | Permalink
  4. Yeah. I’m a working mama and I leave him with his daddy every morning. Haaaate seeing him crying when I leave, and it means we have weekend mornings when he clings to me in fear that I’ll leave and therefore I can’t get anything done.

    Just rough.

    Posted 8/28/2012 at | Permalink
  5. Mark Allman

    I think I noticed that things like this that bother us are just different things our kids go through. My kids have grown and I remember them only satisfied their mom being close by at one time or satisfied with me another. It was always tough on the one who seemed on the outside. I think knowing as they get older and understand more you will not see that continue.

    Posted 8/31/2012 at | Permalink
  6. I remember when Hunter was little that he would sometimes want just daddy — it is hard. But sometimes he wanted just mama. i like reading your blog because it helps me remember those times with Hunter when i was the most important person in his life. I mist still be important because he actually called me last week just to talk and tell me about what he will be doing at the DNC — you are laying a foundation for who Atticus will be and for the future realtionship you will have — and I am loving this more adult relationship with Hunter

    Posted 9/3/2012 at | Permalink
  7. Jayne

    Often when I read of your adventures with Atticus I think of my eldest son and his experience with with his boys. Their first son is a charmer and he is bright and adorable and all the things that are so great, if one does not have to live with him, apparently. He’s very big, he cries at bedtime he’s a little rough in school – both of his parents also work full time and he’s very daddy-centric. They did have another (both to avoid an only child and by accident) and after about 6 weeks he told me that if they had known babies could be like this they would have re-reproduced sooner! We had no idea that baby #1 was such a pill. He’s 3 now and his brother is 9 months, and life for them is different, largely because they see a larger picture with the easy boy in the picture. Plus there is potty trained child and that is miracle on it’s own. Your beautiful son is undoubtedly unusually intense. I suspect he will always be so. In my experience those are also often the most remarkable of little people as they grow. I believe that God does not hand them out lightly.

    Posted 9/17/2012 at | Permalink

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