13 April 2010


Dear Friends,

Yesterday was a "Nana Day". These are the days that I pack up Lexy, her favorite softies Giraffe and Puppy (creative names, aren't they. Would it be better if I told you the Giraffe was named Puppy and the Puppy was named Giraffe? Not true, but better?), and anything else that she feels is necessary to bring with her and we make the .4 mile drive to my parents house. Nana Days are the days I pack up my handbag, my lunch and water and head off to my part-time 3 day a week job where I try to do full-time work. Sometimes I'm successful, sometimes I'm not. But for each of those work days there is a Nana Day for Lexy.

I call them Nana Days because there are a lot of these days where I feel like I'm co-parenting with my mother and not my husband. I separate the Mommy Days when I get to stay home and be a Stay At Home Mom from the days that I drop Lexy off and wave from the car on my way to the office via Starbucks. Lexy knows the Nana Days from the Mommy Days when I wake her up in the morning. She knows that when I wear scrubs she visits her grandmother. She knows when I have to wake her up in the morning she visits her grandmother. And she absolutely LOVES her Nana Days. I can't say I love them as much as she does, but I love that she has such an amazing relationship with her grandmother.

My mother has more toys at her house than I do. I think she has more toys than the Target or the local Toys-R-Us. And she has more children's books than Borders or Amazon.com. I'm not exactly sure where she's picked all these things up, but her house is like a nursery school mixed with a library combined with the local playground. Lexy gets to have tea parties, draw on her easel, read any book she can get her hands on, play on a slide or swing, or get sandy in her sand/water table. It's like heaven for little children.

My mom does an amazing job with Lexy. She makes her say "please" and "thank you". She has to wash her hands before she eats. There are no tantrums without time-outs, and for Lexy the threat of a time-out usually prevents any tantrum. She has to put away one toy before she can play with another. She can only watch Elmo if she eats most of her lunch and then she can watch a video while she finishes her food. It's a little like watching her raise me, which is a little surreal. I have to admit that it's strange seeing your mother parent your child without your being ill or incapacitated in some way.

I had completely different ideas of how my life was going to be when I had kids, but one of our "readers" and my new friend Kathie commented on a previous post saying that as a mother she's learned that she eats her nevers all the time. Thanks for the lesson, Kathie. It is so true! I am getting that one everyday. I always thought that I'd be a full-time say at home mom and here I am working part-time, I never expected it. I always knew I would be the primary care-giver for my daughter in every sense of the term. Now I feel like I share a bulk of that role and it's difficult on some days.

I know how lucky I am to be able to work part-time and that I don't have to work full-time in an economy like the one we have. I know how blessed I am that I can have my daughter stay with family instead of being dropped off at a day-care where the teachers and kids rotate in and out (no offense to anyone that works at a day-care. I worked day-care for years when I was in school and I loved my kids. I have hundreds of pictures of my kids from those summers, but they were summers and there was a high turn over of staff). I understand that I obtained my values from my parents and I am attempting to share those values with Lexy and it's amazing that she can also learn them directly from my parents. I know the value of my mother caring for Lexy in a financial sense as well. It makes living where we do and having the neighborhood and community that we do possible.

I also know that 3 days of the week are 3 of the hardest days that I have. I don't know how full-time working mom's do it. All I can say is that I have SO much respect for any mother that wants to work full-time/has to work full-time and can somehow manage to parent their children as well. I know how hard it is to combine caring for a child, caring for a home, and caring for your relationships with others and yourself all at the same time. I'm not sure how we women can have SO many balls in the air, but we do it. I have so many days where I have to choose which of my 35 balls falls to the floor so I can have a few minutes to sit and breathe. I often have days where I forget the breathing part all together. Yesterday was one of those days. One of the staff, and a friend of my families for 30 years was missing from our office because her husband is in the hospital having had another heart attack. I'm not sure of how he's doing at this moment, but I am praying for a return to health. I worked late yesterday. I spent 3 hours of the whole day with Lexy before her bedtime. She cried when I told her it was time to get ready for bed and told me that she wanted to "play with mommy some more", which I have to say almost made me cry, too. It's so difficult managing the aspect of working and being with her.

Lexy is sleeping. I have a little bit of time to be Carin before I become Mommy. Then I have to pack everything up and make today a Nana Day. I am trying to learn to love MY Nana Days. It takes village, right? Nana's village is one of a big heart, lots of books, Elmo, and a really fun playroom. Thanks, Nana.


  1. Great post, Carin! I'm not in the same boat, but I know so many other women who are struggling with the co-parenting they do with Nana days, nanny days and daycare days.

    Hats off to all of you for doing the very best you can!

    Nana's sounds pretty amazing and Lexy is one lucky girl to have two wonderful places to call home in her "village".

  2. I agree, Great post.

    I also thought I'd be a full time stay at home mom when I had kids. I work full time (working part time sounds ideal to me). Co-parenting IS hard and it's about to get turned around in our house. It looks like in the near future our family is going to make a huge change and my husband is going to be staying at home with our kids. Financially I know it's the right thing for our family and the idea of my husband being home in the evenings and weekends makes me SOOO excited. BUT, I have a little bit of resentment that he is getting to live my dream and I'm also a lot worried about our roles in the house being reversed.

    Co-parenting is going to take on such a new role in our house. I have always been the one who created our routine and schedule, and now it will be my husband....I hope I am good at letting him be "in charge" and supporting what he creates while not being a jerk....I'll keep you posted!

  3. Thanks Carin. That means a lot. Mom

  4. What a wonderful post. I was the full time worker and then I lost my job. The boys still go to Ms. Patti as we don't want to upset their routine. I am still looking for work. We are so blessed to have Ms. Patti - she loves my little ones as they were her own and Jacob is her heart - I honestly think she would let him live there if I would allow it.

    I can relate with others and what I found to be the most difficult was balancing work/home. I always felt so frazzled in the evenings and what is worse is I would snap at my husband when he got home. I will admit ladies that my husband is wonderful and he always goes above and beyond to help me out t have at home. I think at times it is a contest to see who can get more done around here so that the other one doesn't have to worry about it. I just felt that I shouldn't have to say get your son out of the tub and dry him off or do the dishes etc, I felt he should just know what to do without me having to tell him, then my mom took me aside and said if you want peace in the evenings then you need to tell him what you want done, so I made him a list that he can refer to and I found that the snapping got less and less.

    While I love the idea of being able to stay home with my kids, I am not sure I could do it. I am a worker, a busy bee and I do not like to sit home all day. I want to be productive, although I am finding plenty to keep me busy at the moment.

    So, I think for all of us it is all about finding balance and it will take a lot of trail and error to get us there, but I have Faith we can all do it.