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A Slow Decline From SuperMom Status

Dear Sugar
I am a working new mother who is trying to balance working and nursing my three and a half month old baby boy. Fortunately, I don't work far from home, so every few hours when my milk comes in, I am able to run home, nurse and then go back to work.

My employers are fine with this arrangement because I've proven my dedication to the job by returning after my maternity leave and jumping right back into my 80 hour work week. On the outside, I present a strong, put together front. On the inside I am falling apart burning the candle at both ends.

I work for a small newspaper in Santa Fe, NM and my overly ambitious publisher has unreasonable expectations of us. He is fully aware of his unrequited work ethic and strongly believes in survival of the fittest. But when you "graduate" from working for him for a couple of years, people have been known to qualify for fantastic dream jobs at some of the most renown papers in the country's such as the New York Times and The Washington Post.

Although I see the a pot of gold at the end of this rainbow, I just don't know how much longer I can keep up my energy and sharpness. Between the long hours, the stress of breaking news, deadlines, and my newborn, this pace is really beginning to take a toll on my well being.

I want to quit, but I just can't seem to bring myself to actually do it. I am learning a tremendous amount, and would greatly miss the people that I work with and have grown to love and value very much. I'd love to hear your thoughts. Tired and Torn Talullah

To see DEARSUGAR's answer

Dear Tired and Torn Tallulah
You sound a little bit brainwashed. If your ultimate goal is to work at a big time newspaper, then go after your dream! You don't need this guy to help you get there.

Believe in yourself; you are not someone else's slave and if work is overloading you too much, you are only going to begin to fall apart. Just know that these huge papers in the big cities will most likely work you at a similar pace. Think long and hard about if that is what you really want. Choosing between motherhood and career success is often a difficult decision. But I do hear quite often, that life does get easier as your child gets older and gets on more of their own schedule.

Like with a husband or anyone you deal with in your adult life, you have to continuously negotiate and re-negotiate your boundaries. Those of us with parents who didn't respect boundaries often have a hard time doing this in our adult lives. Even those of us with perfect parents (apparently they do exist) have trouble saying no because it can often feel like your commitment to your job is being questioned.

If you decide not to quit, figure out what you are willing to do and what is too much for you. Talk to your employer about your feelings and see if you can come up with some kind of compromise or middle ground. If it's not OK with him for you to cut back a little then this is not the right job for you. Good Luck.

Join The Conversation
lickety-split lickety-split 11 years
what is worth more to you; money at the end of "doing your time" for mr jerk boss, or spending time with your first baby? easy question that only you know the answer to. the truth is that your baby will be fine whether it receives good care from you or from another care giver. you are the one getting the benefits of being with the baby.
gracey gracey 11 years
Wow the baby is only three months old and you're back to 80 hour weeks! That's insane! If you have a baby in Canada you can now have maternity leave for 12 months. You really need to decide what you want, or maybe you should've done that before you decided to become a mom.
Lakey Lakey 11 years
I was in a great yet high-pressured job that was burning me out, so I quit after 3 years. And you know what? I miss it a lot. Take the time to really figure out what is the best or most viable option for you.
t0xxic t0xxic 11 years
Plus she is allowed to take off to go home ever 2-3 hrs to breast feed, thats bonding time right there.
Masqueraded_Angel Masqueraded_Angel 11 years
Anyway, if there was a couple of more details given to us by the writer, then we would be able to have a few more questions answered.
Masqueraded_Angel Masqueraded_Angel 11 years
Everyone has their opinions, and I'm glad that your son knows exactly who you are and what kind of role you have in his life, t0xxic. As for my personal experience, the longer I was at work, the more my son distanced himself from me. It got to the point where he would only listen to the babysitter/daycare and would totally ignore anything I said. Once I changed paces and focused on a different career that would allow me to be home more (I was a single parent as well) my son and I reconnected.
t0xxic t0xxic 11 years
I disagree shawna just bc she has someone else watch her child while she works, bc she prolly has to in order to survive im guessing shes a single parent with no mention of a hubbys opinion, isnt going to make her and her childs bond any less. Majority of day cares begin taking children at 6 weeks old bc thats when maternity ends. The intial bonding period that is so serious was created during that time. Trust me that baby is gonna know who his/ her momma is no matter what. My son is in daycare 12 hrs a day m-w and th & f he literally lives with his grandparents bc its cheaper on gas and helps me save money. That doesnt mean my son feels any differently for me or that our bond is any weaker.
Masqueraded_Angel Masqueraded_Angel 11 years
And believe me, there are PLENTY of other careers out there that are not as stressful, but just as enjoyable.
Masqueraded_Angel Masqueraded_Angel 11 years
I'm with t0xxic and Jenn. You only have one life, so you need to live it the way YOU want to. But keep in mind that you are a mother now, and the longer you are at work and away from your child, the more likely that your child will get attached to someone else (i.e. the babysitter, etc.) and that will cause problems for you later on. Most daycares and babysitters don't take children until they're at least 6 months old, and they do that so that the child has ample time to develop a bond between his/her mother. Think about it.
findblancomeow findblancomeow 11 years
If what you really want to do is keep your job but with a more reasonable or flexible schedule and workload, i think you are going to have to go to your boss with some suggestions for an alternative. You say that you work close to home- Could you work from home a day or two a week? Even half a day here and there might relieve a little of the stress you are dealing with. Could you talk to him about bringing in an intern to assist you? If the paper is really this prestigious that former employees go on to the NY times and such, I would think you'd have college journalism majors chomping at the bits for such an opportunity. Who is keeping the baby while you are at work? Do you have a sitter/nanny? Are you a single mom or do you have a husband that you can ask to step it up and help you through this difficult transition period? or any of your girlfriends who are working moms who could lend support? Try to think through all your options before before you go to your boss. From the way you describe him, I really doubt that going to your boss is going to be sympathetic to what he will see as your personal "problems"... so from a business standpoint, you'll be better off presenting him with solutions. Good luck to you! I really hope you can find a balance and make it work, but don't feel bad if you have to step back from your work for a while. you'll never regret doing what's best for your kids!
jennifer76 jennifer76 11 years
You're working close to 50% of the time. There are only 168 hours in a week. You're working 80 of them. I can see why you want to quit. I can't imagine that bigger, better newspapers have journalists that work LESS than where you are now. You may have to bite the bullet and make your choice. Remember, though, that newspapers will still exist when your child is older. Your son's childhood OTOH is a finite thing.
t0xxic t0xxic 11 years
Being a working mom I see where you are coming from, and even its its been your dream all ur life, now that you are a mommy your heart may not be in this for the long haul. You should really sit back and think about whts more important and keep in mind a stressed mom = a stressed out baby. GL.
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