I've been back at work for 11 weeks now. Around this same time frame with Barrett, I wrote about how difficult it was to be a working mom. And it was. But gradually, we found our way. It became easier once Barrett became older, we developed a routine and found a new normal. I think that's the biggest piece of advice I give to new working moms - you will find a new normal. No, our normal couldn't be working as late as we needed to, eating cereal for dinner in front of the tv, relaxing all night and spending our weekends doing whatever we wanted - or doing nothing at all. We definitely had to adjust our expectations and be a lot more flexible for his needs and accept that our old normal couldn't work anymore. Oh, and a lot less sleep.
It's been a lot easier to come back to work this time around. I think emotionally I was in a much better place this time. I truly do appreciate the balance that work provides to me. I am a person of routine and I found it really tough to have a routine when I was home with the kids all the time. The positives of being a working mom are:
- I appreciate my time with the kids so much and am a much more patient mom when I am with them.
- I am glad I can contribute to our family financially. We have growing retirement and college savings accounts so I know the sacrifices I'm making now will benefit us greatly later on. Even if daycare eats a huge chunk!
-I like that we don't have to live our lives watching every penny and stressing about spending. We still do live rather frugally for the most part and don't spend a lot, but it's nice to know that we can enjoy our hobbies without worrying about every cent.
-The kids have a wonderful support system outside of their parents who give them love and attention. Barrett has a great time at daycare and a ton of friends and learns new things constantly. He comes home with new words and songs, talking about his friends and I love that he has this little life!
- It's also nice to have a life of my own - go to the bathroom without company, wear high heels, and not have spit up on my shoulder for a few hours a day.
But there's always a feeling of conflict that never goes away..
I wish there were more hours in the day, so I could still work but have more time with the kids. More hours to hold them, more hours to read stories, more hours to play. Because it's sooo difficult to try to get time in with them during the week. I don't get home until after 6 and then it's a rush of dinner, feedings, baths and bedtime. We definitely don't get enough quality time in and that makes me sad.
When I drop Audrey off in the morning and give her final hugs before handing her off to her teacher, my arms feel alarmingly empty. I look back at her through the glass of the door and see her inside in someone else's arms and I long to run back in and grab her. I don't know if that feeling will go away for a long time. I still get that sometimes with Barrett (other mornings I dream of running him down the hall and throwing him at the teacher and making my escape - such is life with a 2 year old).
I don't know what the point of this post is - that it's bittersweet to be a mom who works? That I'm excited and scared to take on additional responsibilities at work while still having two little ones at home? That I miss my kids so much my heart hurts but that I really like the business cards with my new title on them?
These are the little faces I miss every day!