Sunday, March 10, 2013

Working Mom Update

Right before I went back to work - 12 weeks old

The last time I really shared my thoughts on being a working mom was at the two month mark.
As in, two months back to work.

It's been four months.

Since I left the blissful world of waking up every single morning with a smile on my face.
Spending precious quality time snuggling my baby.
Focusing on nothing but my family.

Four months.
Since joy came to a screeching halt.
As I lost the battle with reality.

I've said it many times.

My first two months back were dizzying.

Many mornings were spent pleading with God.
"Please Lord, give me the strength today."

I wish I could tell the old me,
things will get better.
You can do this.

It's hard to articulate those raw feelings from when I first went back to work.
They were so foreign to me.
I had no clue how to handle them.

I've always envisioned myself as this rock-star professional who perfectly balances her home life.
You know those women.
The ones who I am absolutely positive have some kind of super power.
The ones who seemingly have it all.
Do it all.

That's not me.

Before I had a baby,
I didn't get the big deal.
I couldn't even fathom the idea of staying home with my kids.
And I never understood how women cried when they left their babies to go to work.
I mean, you get to see your kids in the evenings.

Those thoughts came back and sucker-punched me right in the gut.

After having Lyla, I had ridiculous brainstorm sessions about home businesses I could start so I could stay home.
"I'll take up sewing and sell lots of homemade goodies on Etsy."
"I'll be Gabe's pr/marketing manager and help him start a brewing business."
Or the best yet...
"I'll open an in-home daycare!"

I was clearly coming down from some breastfeeding hormonal high or something.
And was certifiably crazy, I'm sure.

I'm still not sure what the hardest part was...
The fact that I went from seeing my baby 12 hours a day to 2 hours.
Trying to figure out how to work 8 hours at school and another 3-4 at home.
Balancing the laundry, dishes, cleaning, diapers, grocery shopping, get the point.
Or coming to terms with the fact that my life was working and nursing. Period.

It didn't make me feel any better that I had friends all around me who were either staying home full time or working part time.
Or that I had other friends who went back to work and actually enjoyed the balance. And didn't have a hard time at all.
That stung the worst.

But over time, things got better.
The hormones started balancing out.
I started changing my attitude.
And I finally came to terms with my situation.

Fast forward four months later.

I still have really hard days.
But I feel myself again.
I'm just a little more forgetful.
*Ahem* A lot more forgetful.
I'm in a routine and have a supportive husband who makes happiness possible.
I savor every single second with my Chunkin.
I'm very protective of family time on the weekends.
I find joy in the smallest of things.
I'm thankful for my job.
And even more thankful for a fabulous team.
And co-workers who are guaranteed to make me smile. Daily.

Needless to say.
Things are a lot easier than they were in the beginning.
However, that buzzing dull ache in my heart is still there.

I still wish I had more time.
I still wish I could rock Lyla without thinking of at least 200 other things I need to get done.
I still wish I could really focus on my family.
And my family only.

There are many women who are able to juggle it all.
And although I am very capable of juggling it all,
I'm trying to figure out if I want to.

One of the moms of a student in my class came in and talked to me last week.
I idolize her mommy ways.
She's cool, but still mom.
She's strict, but still nurturing.
She's hilarious, but stays on top of her kids' academics.
And she was a top-performing professional at one point.
Until she had a baby.
Like so many moms, she realized that she wanted nothing more than to focus on her family.
So after a good-go of trying to make it work,
she quit her job.
Because she realized that 18 years goes by incredibly fast.
And you have one shot to do the whole parenthood thing.
And she fully recognizes that many/most other women do make it work.
But she simply couldn't.

Then, I read this blog post this morning.
And it was such a good reminder.
That I truly cannot have it all.
And I am not the only one who struggles daily with the whole "How do I balance it all" thing.

And bless my sweet husband's heart.
He says it everyday,
"Ang. You have to be able to let something go. Although you think you can, it's impossible to be perfect at everything."

And he's so right.

I am not, nor ever will I be perfect.
And I must learn to let things go.

So that's where I'm at now.

Re prioritizing.
Learning to say no.
Trying to figure out how to be passionate about my job...without being the best.
Being ok with imperfect.
Being ok with not having time to come up with the best-lesson-any-teacher-has-ever-come-up-with.
Trying leaving work before 5:00.
Leaving work at work. (Um. This one is pretty impossible).
And not feeling guilty about one darn thing.

Because I'm a MOM.
And my family comes first.

It's quite amazing how a baby...someone whom you've never even met...can take every single priority you've ever had in life, and throw it out the window.

And I have to chuckle.
Because just a year ago, we were talking about how we couldn't even imagine our lives with a baby.
I want to have 100 babies.

Priorities, people.


Crystal Seed said...

Girlfriend, you aren't alone. 2.5 years later, and I'm still struggling. As nice as it is to have that time with adults, you still miss your baby more then anything. And let me tell you, when I pick Chloe up from school every day and see that smile on her face as she runs to me with her arms wide open and jumps into a's the best feeling in the world. It gets better, I promise! But that doesn't mean it's not always hard. Because it just have to think that you are doing what's best for your family. :-)

Angie said...

I know the feeling... not sure when it will get better. My daughter is almost eight months and every day is difficult to drop her off at daycare. I love the daycare but hate missing out on her. Your post and the link you had there were helpful in knowing I am not alone in feeling this way! Thank you.

Carolyn said...

I love your honesty with this! I know I'm going to struggle with going back to work, but I just have to. It makes me feel better that I'm not alone!