Friday, January 13, 2012

Working Mom

I wrote this post mid September and I never posted it. Now that I've been back at work for over 4 months I thought I would add to the bottom my current schedule (things have changed a bit) and my current thoughts/struggles. I'd love the feedback from any other working Mom's.
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I am officially 3 weeks into being a full time working mom. It's probably the hardest job I've ever had. Parenting is a 24/7 job that I love and it brings me so much joy, but when we add all the things that I used to get done each evening, weekend & early morning outside of work to taking care of a little one that's a tough task. I will say that I had zero post-pardum depression and never even really had a difficult time transitioning to being a Mama. It came very naturally to me. I loved it from day one and there wasn't really anything for me to get worked up over.


I will share with you, however, that transitioning back to work has been harder than anything I've ever done. I'm learning how to balance my time with Bear and with hubs and attempting to keep the house not looking like a slew of pigs live there and sleep a bit in the process. I've had to meal plan for the first time in my entire life & grocery shop with meals in mind. I did buy a fairly expensive planner and it has saved my skin more times than not.



I wanted to write out a rough schedule that we have each day in hopes that other working Mama's could chime in and let me know what their days look like. I also would love some ideas/help meal planning. I'm just a horrible plan ahead gal when it comes to cooking. I just don't know what I'm going to feel like or I forget to take things out of the freezer etc. I think the crock pot is going to be my absolute BFF this winter. I've already been using it more in the last 3 weeks than I think I've used it since we got married.



Our day starts by 545am each morning when Hubs alarm goes off for work. We try and remember to set the coffee pot the night before so I just flip the switch and it is started. I then make his lunch, get his breakfast ready (we usually have oatmeal Monday thru Friday mornings and I try and make a big pot on Sunday night that I can just re-heat in the morning). I have his breakfast ready when he's done getting ready for work so he can eat while I pack his lunch and get his coffee poured. I know to a lot of wives that this seems silly that I do all this for him. It's something I started when we got married and I enjoy doing that for him. I'm not a morning person at all but this starts my day off with a servants heart. It's easy for me to grumble about it a lot of times, but at the end of the day I'm happy that my husband can say in our 5 years of marriage that he's only made his breakfast or lunch a small handful of times (when I was sick or out of town which is SUPER rare). Once he leaves at 610am I make my lunch, do any dishes still left from the night before, tidy up the kitchen counter and be sure all the bottle parts and pump parts for the day are washed. I get all of my stuff to take for the day ready and have it on the counter ready to go. I usually eat breakfast real quick at this point. Usually by the time I finish all of this Bear is awake. I change him and snuggle for a few minutes before taking him with me into the bathroom. He sits in his bouncy seat while I shower and get ready. We are very lucky to have my mom watching Bear while I work. She comes to our house each morning (which is even better) and usually she's there by 745-750am. She takes him out to the living room to play while I put the dog out to go potty, feed the outside dog & get dressed (with a spitter I don't get dressed until I'm walking out the door for fear of having to change again if he spits up all over me). I then kiss them both goodbye, grab all my goodies & head to work.



I pump twice during my work day as he is still Exclusively Breast Fed. My mom feeds him bottles of milk I've pumped the day before and anything I pump outside of the office goes in the freezer for my back up stash.



The evenings are hard. He's not on a set eating schedule in the evenings because it depends on how much he ate in the afternoon and how long he slept as to whether or not he'll take an evening nap or want to eat again when I get home. I try to get dinner on, kitchen picked up & his room tidied each night so that I can just sit and snuggle/play with Bear and visit with Hubs. I also try and get the diaper bag restocked so that if my mom has any errands to run or wants to take him to her house for a few hours during the day she doesn't have to find stuff. I also try and do a load of cloth diapers twice a week as well as a load of his clothes/burp rags/blankets etc once or twice a week so she has plenty of outfits and burp rags ready to go if she needs them. Bear takes his last feeding at 9pm to which he falls asleep during and is usually in bed out like a light by 930pm. At that point folks, I walk straight to my room, feed the other dog, put on my jammies, take my vitamins and CRASH OUT! I am usually asleep by 1030pm at the latest each night.



B is sleeping through the night for the most part. His first morning feed is anywhere from 430am-630am. If he gets up to eat at 430am I will head back to bed for a half hour or so after he eats before I get up with hubs. If he gets up at 5-530am I just stay up for the day. If it's later than that I know I have to hustle with my morning routine since he could get up at anytime and want to eat.




The weekends are when we do the real housework and yard work. I have a fabulous husband who does everything having to do with the exterior of our house. I've never even pulled a weed. Usually while he does that I will dust, vacuum, wash sheets, put away laundry & clean bathrooms. I know some of this should be done more often then once a week but I just can't get there yet. Hopefully soon as he's spreading out evening feedings more. All these chores really only take about an hour, maybe two if I have a lot of laundry to do. The hard part is trying to be social on the weekends and get housework done. Not to mention that I seem to think Saturday mornings are for sleeping until at least 10am (Hubs would stay up and play with B after his morning feeding since he is the morning person in our house).



I'm having a really hard time with weekends because part of me really wants to lock myself in my house with my husband and my little boy and enjoy each other since I feel like I don't get enough time with either of them all week, but at the same time we have family that we need to spend time with and friends that we desire to see & fun stuff we'd like to do as a family and take B too. I feel like I look at the calendar at the beginning of a week and get excited that we only have something planned Saturday night and then by the end of the week I'm often dreading the weekend because it's packed from the time we get off work Friday until Sunday night. It's all fun stuff that I want to do and don't want to miss out on, but I feel like I start the next week exhausted with the same issues looming over my head. I never feel prepared for Monday morning and I never feel like I leave B on Monday having recharged my time with him. I don't want to turn into a hermit and I want our family and friends to get to spend time with him too (which has to be on the weekends cause we don't go out during the week at all) but I have to find the balance.



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Edited to add our current schedule as of mid January:


I am not getting up with hubs everyday anymore (it depends on how our night went and if I get his lunch ready the night before). I am proud to say that I made it 5 1/2 years of going to bed at the same time and getting up and the same time each and every day and now that we have a little one, all that has changed! :)


I have to get all bottles and pump parts washed the night before and the coffee pot set and the lunches all made. Hubs gets up about 6am (he has a new job so he leaves a bit later) and he's ready and out the door with lunch, breakfast & coffee by 630am. I have to be in the shower by 7am and on a good day I can get showered and "ready" before B wakes up. At that point I get him up and change his diaper and my mom is there by 8am to feed him. I pump once before I leave since he's eating solid foods now he's only getting bm 4 times a day so he gets 3 bottles and I try and nurse him at least once. I have had a HUGE struggle with milk supply so pumping is often more effective because I know how much I'm getting and how much he's getting.


I leave for work by 815am (try to anyway) and I still try and pump twice at work but that's getting harder and harder). I am home by 430pm & on a good day I will go do my couch to 5k run before my mom leaves and then nurse him about 5pm and get dinner going so we can eat when hubs gets home about 6pm. Once we eat I snuggle and play with Bear for a good hour or so and then he gets to play on the floor with Daddy while I clean up dinner, prep lunches and coffee pot and get Bear's dinner ready. I try and feed him his food between 730-8pm and then he plays on the floor or in his bouncer for about 30 min while I do one last pump session for the day. I then give him his bath about 845pm and then he gets a bottle at 9pm and falls asleep within minutes of finishing that. I usually rock him for a few minutes and soak up those snuggles and the clean baby smell before putting him down for the night. He sleeps through the night for the most part aside from the occasional fussing for no reason but usually a pat on the rear or a replacing of a paci and he's right back to sleep. I don't ever feed him in the night anymore (kid is over 20lbs, he doesn't need to eat in the night).


This of course is the best case scenario and the goal each day. There are many nights when I have to do a load of wash, or make more baby food, or just have a clingy baby that I don't get to pump until he's in bed or when he is up until closer to 10pm than 930pm. That means I'm not in bed until at least 11pm. I am usually a night owl, but boy those mornings are getting harder and harder.


Our weekends are still my struggle. It's so hard for me to balance and to feel like I get any time to catch up on "me things". I have a pile of stuff I'd like to make (crafty stuff) and I have a million pictures to organize and blog posts waiting to write and errands to run and closets to clean and friends to hang out with and movies to watch and family that wants to have time to spend with our sweet boy. It's all a balance. Once I haven't mastered. At. All. I'm getting good at saying no to things but they are often things I wish I didn't have to say no too. I find myself planing fun things and then dreading them as the time approaches because I'd rather be home with my little family relaxing. I am learning the limbo and I'm happy that our kiddo is such a happy baby and is flexible. He loves to run errands and visit with friends and family. That makes it so easy.


I'm welcome to any thoughts or ideas y'all have to make this transition smoother. I feel like I'm always running. I guess that's the life of a Mom!

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