“Mommy Go To Work.”

From the Vault: About a year ago I wrote this post, about how hard it was, not only on me, but also for my girly, when I began a new job. Thinking back to this post, and a note last week on Abby’s daily sheet where she shared what mommy does for work, and I realize we’ve come a very long way in a year’s time.  So I thought it would be great to share this post once again, and let you know, that yes, it’s just a phase.  But before that, this note I got last week that just melted my heart so much:

When I started my new job this year, at a new school teaching completely different things, getting up earlier to have to drive further away, it was rough. Not only did my body have to adjust to getting up earlier and trudging through a day of students on the cusp of or in the throngs of puberty (gotta love middle school), but dealing with more regular tantrums and whining and crying from Abby before and after work became the new normal.

We first thought that maybe it was just Abby adjusting to being back in daycare. New schedules. New routines. Not being able to sleep in till 8am. (It always takes me a minute or two to adjust from summer schedule to school year schedule.)  And then coupled with that, Abby has not been the best of sleepers for the past…. oh I can’t even remember the time frame at this point. Add all those things together, and it’s one snotty mess around these parts.

If I could sneak out of bed in the morning without Abby waking up (see why we’ve been co-sleeping these days) I thought I was golden. But then I would hear reports of my little girly screaming for Mommy once she realized I was gone. Then there are the mornings where I can’t sneak out, and she wakes up and plays around in the bathroom while I get ready. And then when it’s time to pass her off to Daddy, her little world comes to an end. And nothing says, “I love you,” like hearing your kid screaming, “I want mommy,” as you walk out the door. Sigh.

So we started communicating with Abby a little bit more. You know, trying to stay calm amongst the tears, trying not to cry myself, telling her that Mommy and Daddy go to work. You know, we will return and see her later. She first started to get this concept upon returning home. Daddy gets home after us, so when she would ask for him as we pulled into the garage, I would say that Daddy is still at work. He will be home soon. And then she began to repeat, “Daddy at work.”

We still had those tears.  But over the past few weeks we noticed the tears subsiding. And then this happened….

One morning, about two weeks ago, I tried very hard to roll out of Abby’s floor bed sans her waking up. I turned around, and there she was sitting up, arms outstretched to me.  I kneeled next to her bed and said that Mommy had to go get ready for work. She kept sleepily staring at me. My mom was staying with us and taking care of Abby during the day, so I asked if she wanted me to go get grandma to lay with her. Still staring. I again said Mommy has to go to work. Then I asked her if she wanted to lay down and go back to sleep. No words were exchanged. She laid back down, I put a blanket back on her, and she was fine. Her eyes traced my movements as I left the room, and she went back to sleep. Later that day I heard from my mom that Abby kept saying, “Mommy go to work. Daddy go to work.”

And then those post work whines and cries and tears and snotty moments began to subside.  In addition, once Abby returned to daycare after my mom went back home, I began getting reports of Abby telling her teachers, “Mommy go to work.”

She gets it. She finally gets it. At two years-old, my kiddo finally understands that when she doesn’t see Mommy, it’s OK. I will be back. I haven’t abandoned her.

I used to get upset and frustrated, and frankly annoyed at times, with all of her tantrums. And now I realize that, though those thoughts are valid , I was so consumed with the stress of it all, that I forgot to think through the fact that my little pumpkin didn’t get where Mommy went during the day. It was all about separation anxiety. We’ve been dealing with this for quite a while around these parts, but it never dawned on me that a big chunk of this was due to Abby not understanding where I went every day. (Note: Once Abby is at “school” she is perfectly fine and happy and contempt. Out of sight out of mind, I guess.)

And you know what else is happening? Abby is sleeping through the night a bit more.  Has to be related, right? This past week, for four glorious nights, no cries were heard from Abby’s room. No pitter pattering feet made their way down the hall to crawl into bed with me. It’s all starting to fall into place. Everyone told me this thing was a phase, but it just lasted a lot longer than any other phase we’ve known in our household. Now if only I could stop my body from waking up every two hours, waiting for Abby to wake up and need me. That would be the bee’s knees in working momma world.

Note: It’s not perfect. Abby still has her moments, she is two after all, but they are just fewer and far between these days. You know, more time for giggles and dancing and snuggles and such.

About the author

Tracy is the Creator and Managing Editor for LWM. She's a working teacher momma to Abigail, born 11/09 and Olive, born 12/13. By day she teaches middle school students all things related to reading and writing, and by night and weekend, she teaches her daughter all about life. You can find her tweeting as @wa_tracy.


  1. Brandee says:

    Awww I am SO glad that she is starting to adjust. I know it’s been really hard on you since the summer ended and I’m so glad that things are starting to calm down. Here is to hoping she continues on the sleeping through phase, and get’s more and more comfortable with you and her dad having to go to work :) 
    Brandee recently posted..Working With Style November Week 1My Profile
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    • Tracy says:

      Thanks momma. I know in time the sleep will get figured out. But I don’t want to push it. At least on nights when she wakes up now, there is hardly any fussing. She walks down the hall, comes to my side of the bed and tugs on me. No tears. That’s more progress…right?
      Twitter: wa_tracy

  2. A. E. says:

    How sweet! Good luck for the future!

  3. Ah … so there’s hope for Munchkin & Me! I’m so glad for you & yours! Thanks as always for sharing. PS – THOSE EYES on that kid! ADORABLE!!!
    Angie Matthewson recently posted..Working Mom Style – Black & Black … + redMy Profile
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    • Tracy says:

      I stopped believing in hope because it’s been a little over 2 months and it finally clicked. It’s been a long 2 months. I’m wondering if it’s more of a developmental thing than a time thing…you know.
      Twitter: wa_tracy

  4. Sara says:

    I am so happy for you… we went thru a similar phase (granted, much shorter than yours) and I was totally at my wit’s end… I hope her sleeping was related to separation anxiety – that would totally make sense! – and you can get some rest! :)
    Sara recently posted..Oliver’s Sesame Street birthday party!My Profile
    Twitter: ninjapanza

  5. Shannon says:

    That picture is just priceless.
    Shannon recently posted..Unpaid Maternity Leave and Human RightsMy Profile


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