My wife and I have two daughters, aged 4.5 and 10 months. Before my first was born, my wife intended to return to work after her leave. After time with the baby, we crunched the numbers and we were able to get by on my salary.
We recently had a second and now, on Tuesday/Thursdays, the off days of my older daughter's preschool schedule, my wife is having a very very hard time dealing with both children. She feels overwhelmed by the combination of both and gets into an "I can't do this anymore" mindset. Since we're far from both families, there's no grandma nearby to help. Recently, our quasi-grandma care provider injured herself and is out of commission for several weeks.
I'm completely supportive of a range of options from increasing care for our older child, or starting care for our younger one. I'm also supportive of her returning to work and reclaiming some of a non-mommy life.
Our budget is tight and, save for live-in or full-time nanny, I would still try to make one of several options feasible but we need help getting "from here to there." I am emailing you to get any tips you may have to suggest a transition plan. We talk about it and talk about it, but with the challenging schedule, it's been hard to move to the next step.
Can you help with pointers for an achievable transition for Mrs. West?
From: Go West, Holliston, MA
Dear Go West,
I'm not exactly sure what you mean by "the transition;" there's no magic answer here and certainly no one-size-fits all. It's a struggle for all of us, myself included way back when.
One way to begin is through networking. I'm thinking specifically of support groups for moms. These are often organized by local community centers, HMO's even through your local school system. Sometimes there are independent organizations that sponsor them, and when there's nothing already organized in your area, take matters into your own hands and post a note on a church/school/library bulletin board: "Former-working mom of two (2 and 4 1/2 yr olds) looking to meet counterparts to form informal support/playgroup/sitter-sharing group." Nanny sharing and sitter sharing has become very popular in some communities.
One of the reasons I'm suggesting this kind of approach is because I think it's really helpful for any mom, overwhelmed or not, to surround herself with women who are in similar situations. That small network can lead to all kinds of surprising outcomes, from professional networking to emotional and logistical support.
Women out there who have been there/done that, what worked for you?
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