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?