You know Stay at Home Moms. You know Working Moms (though, I argue that ALL moms are working moms, but i digress). Then there’s me. I’m a ….. A ….. I haven’t been able to put a label on it. I call myself a Hybrid Mom, which translates to a Lucky Mom. I have the best of both. I have the worst of both. I have the guilt of both.
I’m fortunate to have an awesome boss who has given me the flexibility to be the mom I want to and need to be. It also helps that I work the equivalent of 2nd shift as an editor and designer, while my husband works more 9-5. Of course, this sucks for seeing each other, but we are mostly making it work.
A balancing act
I love being able to be a SAHM until about 2 p.m. and being able to plan Mommy-Benny activities before I commute to our den and become Working Mom. Once Hubby gets home, he tags me out, and I make the slightly longer commute 12 minutes east to the actual office as he takes over parenting duties.
Some days are easier than others. Some days are more productive than others. But having the flexibility to be the Mommy my son needs that day is priceless. We can go for walks and play, we can read and snuggle, or we can do a little of both while I cook and toss in a load of laundry. We have close to 6 hours a day that are ours (minus his nap time).
The guilt is real
Yes, I have guilt. Every day. Every. Single. Day. Especially when my baby stands at the baby gate, pressing his face to it looking for me. As quickly as he appeared at the gate, he’s gone. He babbles his version of “hi” and crawls off on another important baby mission. Would I rather have him on my side of the gate while I work instead of babbling back at him from another room? Definitely, but separating the “daycare” from Mommy’s “office” has some unexpected benefits.
Spreading his baby wings
He’s gaining independence. There’s little chance of me being a helicopter mom, and there’s not separation anxiety when I leave the house. He’s learning to explore and play by himself (in a safe area marked off with two more baby gates). He can entertain himself with the simplest of things — an empty diaper box, a plastic ring from his stacking toy, old Tupperware strategically placed in lower cabinets. He’s learning problem solving — when I didn’t leave his push toy in the “daycare” for him to walk around with, he stood up and started pushing around his portable high chair.
Sure, he gets into some trouble by playing with the trash can or pulling things off another desk (lesson learned by me), but he’s learning there are consequences to his actions — like when he climbed over the rungs of the bar stool and couldn’t figure out how to get back out.
It’s tough that I’m not giving one thing my all, all the time. For the most part, though, I think being a SAHM and Working Mom simultaneously has made me better at both. When I’m in the office, they have my undivided attention for 5 hours. When I’m home and not working, Ben has my undivided attention for at least that long. The three hours that overlap each day? Well, we play those by ear, and I hone my own problem-solving skills.
The Good. The Bad. The Tired.
It’s tiring — up early because of him. Up late because of work. I have no plans to change a thing. We are doing what’s best for OUR family, and because what guilt I do feel while he’s babbling to himself from another room is NOTHING compared to what I felt the two days I had to be in the office from 9 a.m. until after he went to bed. I missed my little man horribly and couldn’t imagine doing that grind daily. My kid is a cool little dude, even on his worst day.
Hybrid Mom isn’t for everyone, but it works for me:
The Good — I get hours of quality time with Ben every. Single. Day.
The Bad — I have to juggle more at once, which makes me more likely to miss something in all aspects of my life.
The Ugly — When he lets out the loudest squeal of joy, just as I unmute the phone to speak during a conference call. (Insert good-natured laughter).