Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Working mom - one year later

I took nearly three months of maternity leave when Jeanette was born last year and I struggled with the idea of being a working mom.  We found a great sitter, Andrew adjusted his work schedule, my mom adjusted her schedule to watch Jeanette one day a week and I had a few back up plans for care.  I talked to my boss and we came up with a flexible work agreement so that I could work from home one day per week.  I was anxious to go back to work, but the adjustment was not easy.

When I first came back, I was still pumping and my supply started to dwindle.  I took two breaks a day to pump and everyone in my office was great about giving me the time.  But I was stressed, and after a month my supply was gone.  I tried the tea, supplements and even a prescription from my doctor (which sent my emotions over the edge and made my energy level tank).  I beat myself up a lot but decided that formula was the best decision for our family and my sanity.

First day at the sitter
My morning routine for a few months
Decaf Starbucks, pumping, to-do list writing
I slowly got back into the groove of work, child care pickups and occasional sleepless nights.  Where I feel behind, was keeping up on the cleaning, cooking and general daily chores.  When I came home, all I wanted to do was be with Jeanette and I didn't have much desire to get things done.  I gained back some of the weight I lost from nursing (and then some) and fell into a slump.  It's hard not to beat yourself up when you're a mom and even harder when you're a working mom.  You want to be perfect (or maybe that's just me, since I'm type A and a little obsessive), you want to be the best mom, the best employee, the best wife, cook and housekeeper.  But there are nights, like the one below, when you just pass out on the couch after feeding the baby.  There are days when dinner is whatever you can find in the deep freeze that isn't expired or fast food.  

I often question how our family has made this all work and yes, I've had days where I wanted to throw up my hands and say "I quit" but somehow I keep on going.

On a typical day:
I wake up between 5:15 and 5:30am, feed the cat and dog and get in the shower
Get dressed and ready, leave a note for Andrew if he needs to take something to the sitter and I'm out the door by 6:20am

I get to work at 7am and start my day, some days I have lots of meetings, some days I have none.  What I do at work often changes from day to day.

Around 11am it's time for lunch and I try to make a healthy choice in the hospital cafeteria if I didn't pack, which is usually soup and a salad.

At 3:30pm it's time to leave, every day but Mondays and Thursdays I pick Jeanette up from the sitter, I usually get home between 4:30 and 4:45pm.  I get Jeanette settled in the living room, feed the dog and figure out what to make for dinner.  

By 6pm, we are all sitting down to eat.  It's great that Jeanette can eat dinner with us at the same time and we don't have to try and entertain her while we eat.  This also means that we are eating at the table together more, which is good!

After dinner the meal gets cleaned up and lunches are packed.  We watch the national news, Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune (which happens to be Jeanette's favorite show, I think it's because there's lots of clapping, bright colors and fun noises).  We don't always watch the whole show because most nights, she get's a bath.  

Around 8pm Jeanette goes to bed and I try to get in a workout or some time on the elliptical.  If I don't workout, I will do some light cleaning or laundry.  From 8:30ish to 10:30pm, you can find Andrew and I watching TV.  I'm usually reading while we watch or doing Sudoku.  I rarely stay up past 10:30, even on the weekends.   

Rinse and repeat - Monday through Friday.

As crazy as this schedule sounds, things are about to get even more crazy!  Andrew is starting a new job on Friday and I am going to have to change my work hours so that I can pick up and drop off Jeanette at the sitter.  I feel blessed to work for a place where the HR office supports flexible working hours for those with families or other life situations that make them unable to be in the office for 40 hours a week.  I'm still trying to figure out how we are going to do it all, but I'm sure we will find a way to make it work.

Even a year in, I'm not sure that I have it all together as a working mom, but you better believe I am trying hard!

At the end of a long work day.


Laura said...

you're doing an amazing job!! Loved this post, thanks for sharing your typical day! Things are super crazy and busy for you now, but I think you're managing everything really well and I'm sure your new schedule will fall into place and work out for you both as well. I'm glad your job lets you have a flexible schedule for your family! I wish every profession/job would be like that.

Lindsay said...

Loved this post! It is nice to see what it is like for a working mom! I am a little anxious about our transition when I got back to work next month. Any pointers?