Like many mothers today, I can no longer afford the exciting life of a Stay At Home Mom. While I tremendously enjoyed each and every day I had with my son … waking up when we wanted, breastfeeding when he was ready, giggling, reading, and playing all day … life must now adjust.
I must admit, while I am excited to return to the world outside of my small home, ready to meet new friends and have an office to go to, I am also really nervous. This change has happened all so sudden for me and there are a few things I would like to get in order in the next … ooh … 10 hours.
Many mothers have walked this path before, and many more will continue to do it in the weeks/months/years to come, each having their own fears, worries, concerns, and dreams. These are just a few of the topics on my heart today as I begin to weed through my wardrobe searching for work clothes that fit my new motherly figure:
Childcare: How well will my child be taken care of while I am away? I am fortunate enough to be one of the lucky moms who live very close to their child’s ever-loving grandparents. My mother has lovingly offered to hang out with my son while I am at work (don’t want to say babysit – seems so impersonal). All I have to do is provide her with the cloth diapers, some pumped breast milk, extra clothes, some burp cloths, and a few toys. If I didn’t have her, I don’t think it would be worth it for me to return to work. Seems like the costs wouldn’t really justify it.
Continue to fully breastfeed: I am determined to not let anything come in between my goal of breastfeeding my son until he is ready to stop and weans himself. That means whatever job I have must allow me to take the necessary time and space to pump during his normal feeding time. From my close friends and social networks, I have learned that this is the time many breastfeeding mamas are put in the position to end their feedings early and turn to formula. For me and my son, no job is worth it. He is now only four and a half months old, so pretty soon I will also introduce home-made solid foods to him. Maybe we can work it out so that the solids meals are provided when I am at work. We’ll have to play with that one.
Providing good quality contact time with my baby: Okay, I may be overreacting a little bit. I am only returning to work part-time – in the mornings from 9am – 1pm – but for me, right now, that feels like an eternity. Those first morning giggles and wiggles are the best. I want to try my hardest to ensure that when I come home, I am dedicating some good quality time to him and filling our moments with heart-filled memories.
Maintaining a healthy amount of sleep: Ahhh sleep. I vaguely remember what that word means. I think it was something that used to occur between the hours of 10pm and 6am. Not any more. We have just recently established a fairly regular routine pattern of sleep which is now going to be thrown off just a little. I will basically be losing 3 hours of sleep until I can get little man to bed 3 hours earlier. No more staying up and partying until midnight.
Valuable performance at work: While most of my fears involve leaving the home, I do have one fear about life outside … will I be a good employee? Before I became pregnant, I believe I was a fairly good administrative assistant. I have grown over the years and established a pretty good work ethic. However, at that time I didn’t have the world’s cutest, sweetest, baby on my mind. Will I be able to focus and perform my duties to the best of my abilities? I don’t like to disappoint.
Managing house work: And lastly (purposely last), will I be able to keep up with the house work? My honest answer – I would just very well throw in the towel and say…”who cares…really.” So the laundry piled up a bit, the dirty dishes were not cleaned tonight, life will go on. But I vow not to allow that to be a habit.
What fears, challenges, obstacles and changes do you (or did) face when you head out to work? What have you done to overcome them and make each day work? Was finding that happy balance hard for your family?