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Single mom working long nights which leaves very little quality time.

5 answers
My daughter is three years old and is starting daycare this week. Her father and I separated about a month ago and he is no longer involved in her life (we live in Israel with my parents and he lives in Florida). I work from 11pm until about 8 or 9am (sometimes later), five (sometimes six) days a week. In the morning when she wakes up, I am usually too exhausted to do much with her. I usually go right to sleep after work. Now that she'll be in daycare, I'll be dropping her off at 8 and then coming home to sleep. Before daycare, she spent the whole day with my mother while I slept. Now she will be in daycare until 2pm for a time and then later until 5pm once she is accustomed to being there. So either my mom or I will pick her up and then she will be with me from 5pm until bed time. Here is the problem:<br><br> 1. I work these long, hard hours because it earns me the money to be able to support myself and my daughter. I don't want my parents paying for everything and I insist on paying for mine and my daughter's share of groceries, bills, etc so that I don't feel completely dependent and they don't feel used. I appreciate that they are willing and able to help and I appreciate that they have let us move in since my husband left. But I have too much pride to allow them to pay for everything (which they would gladly do if I let them) and it would also give them an element of control over us that I do not want them to have. I also want to set a good example for my daughter and show her that I can take care of her even without the help of her no-good father. Also, though I know that you can't buy a child's love with money, I feel like buying her cool toys and clothes and things is one of the few pleasures I have left in life. I'm a single mom with no friends living in a foreign country with my parents and I work from home so I get very little social interaction. My life is my work and my daughter. And here is the real problem.<br><br> 2. My daughter has to be in bed around 8pm which means that I have about 3 hours with her total each day (sometimes less if I have appointments or things to do). It's also usually after she's spent the day with my mother and she's already tired and cranky just as I'm starting to wake up. So it feels like I have very little quality time with her. The best time we have is bed-time when we cuddle together and read stories and sing songs and talk to each other about our day. I don't get to eat meals with my daughter. I have to hear from my mother what she had to eat each day and I eat my meals alone for the most part. I feel incredibly guilty about this. It kills me that she spends so much time with my mother and so little time with me. My guilty secret is that I'm happy she'll be in daycare instead of with my mother all day because I'm scared she'll think of my mom as more of a mother figure than me. Another thing is that I didn't work at all the first two years of her life; I was a full time stay at home mommy. I got bored and missed work so decided to go back. But now I miss being with my daughter all day! Though, obviously, quitting my job is not an option.<br><br> My family (and my shrink) think I should change my work schedule, work during the day, work less hours and maybe even change jobs. But I don't want to take a massive pay-cut. I want to be with my daughter but I also want to be able to help her buy her first car and pay for college. I love her more than myself and I'm sacrificing a lot because I care about her future. But am I sacrificing a healthy, happy relationship with her? I'm worried that I might be. And that is not worth all the money in the world. Am I the horrible mother that I feel I am because I work too much? Am I sacrificing my motherly duties in order to fulfill some imagined financial responsibility that I feel I have? Am I looking at things all wrong? Do I have to change my entire lifestyle (and take a massive pay-cut or make other sacrifices) or is there ANY way that I can somehow fit in more quality time with my daughter without losing my job, my money or my sanity? And finally - and this is the least important - should I be concerned for myself and my lack of me time? Because I feel there is no time to worry about me right now when I hardly have enough time to worry about her.<br><br>I'm obviously doing something wrong here. Can anybody help me?

answers (5)

I'm with your family and your doctor.  Your daughter is three - she doesn't need a car, she doesn't need fancy clothes or toys.  She needs YOU, and you admit that your schedule is not allowing you to give that to her.  Look, it's not about being able to afford the fancy stuff.  It's about forming a loving relationship with your daughter, and right now, you're not doing that.  If the only time you spend with your daughter is never quality time, then you might as well not spend any time with her at all.  You're not a horrible mother.  You're trying like hell to give your daughter the best possible future.  Except...it's not the future she needs right now.  She needs the present - she needs YOU.  My advice is to take the pay cut, change your schedule, and spend more time with your daughter.  Your daughter is the important factor in your life: not the lifestyle you're working to earn.
You're not a horrible mother, but I agree that you should look into different jobs that will give you more time to spend with your daughter. If you're living with your parents you shouldn't need a ton of money even if you're paying for your share. Taking a pay cut won't hurt your daughter but not spending time with her will. Also, is there some reason she has to be in daycare? If she can stay home with your mom you won't need to make as much money, I know childcare can be very expensive.When I was growing up my mom was always working or was in school and we never had much quality time together. When I was in kindergarten I rode the bus to and from school and I came h ome to an emtpy house. I was 5 years old and I took care of myself for hours until my mom came home. By the time I was 8 I was getting myself up and ready for school while my mom slept. I rode my bike to school and barely saw her.While your situation is a little different since you have your parents to help out, it's not that different. Your daughter may not have to raise herself but she is definitely missing out on time with you and that will take it's toll eventually. I don't have a close relationship with my mom. I've never been able to go to her for advice, we rarely talk and when we do it's about superficial things. I haven't been connected to her since I was very young and I know it's because she just wasn't around.Do what you have to do to make sure you have a good relationship with your daughter. She should always be your first priority. Work, money and everything else should come second.
DON'T WORRY IS WORTH IT IF YOUR DOING IT FOR THE BEST OF THE FUTURE OF YOU AND YOUR DAUGHTER YOU WILL SEE THE FRUITS LATER ON AND YOUR DAUGHTER WILL BE PROUD OF YOU BUT WHEN YOU HAVE IT IN YOUR HANDS ENJOY HER AND TELL HER HOW MUCH YOU LOVE HER AND YOU WILL ALWAYS ARE THERE FOR HER EVEN SOMETIMES U ARE NOT PRESENT GIVE HER SOMETHING FOR HER ALL THE TIME FEEL YOU THAT YOU ARE CLOSE BY HER IT WILL WORK SMILE DON'T WORRY IS NOT GOOD BETTER THINK ABOUT HOW FORTUNE YOU ARE TO HAVE A DAUGHTER
I see this as a temporary situation anyway. i am trying to save money so I can bring my daughter back to the U.S. at some point. That is partially why I moved in with my parents so that they can help by being with her when I can't and also by saving me money on rent and things. Also, the reason she is in daycare is that I think it's good for her to be around other kids instead of being with my mom all day as well as my mom feels overwhelmed and needs a break from babysitting all the time. Taking her out of daycare is certainly not an option. As for changing my work schedule, it would be a huge hassle and would kind of steer me off the track that I'm on right now which I believe is one that will gaurantee a better future for both of us. And isn't her future something that should be essential even now? If I don't plan for her future, who knows what could happen?
You have to balance planning for the future and giving her what she needs now. It's difficult, I know. But I know all too well how temporary situations can become permanent. It may be worth it to change your job now so you can spend more time with her while you work more slowly toward getting back to the US. Only you know what's right for you and your daughter, you just have to figure out how best to balance the present and future.

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