Figuring Out That Work/Life Balance

Hey guys!

How are you doing? Enjoying the holiday season? 🍁🦃🎄

I gotta say, as much as I LOVE the holidays and have looked forward to celebrating them with Henry so much, my mind has been a bit overloaded this past month since getting back to work. I haven’t had much time to slow down and enjoy this time of year, get ahead on Christmas gifts, or even decorate/bake as much as I would have liked. I’m such a planner, but I’m realizing that all I really have time for lately is planning for Henry and work—that’s about it. Even hang-outs with Sam have been put on hold… which is sad, really. Lol! There’s just NOT enough time in the day.

Anyway, I went back to work the week of Thanksgiving, which was kind of perfect since it was a short week and all. Dropping him off at daycare was… weird. I’ve taken care of him every day for 4.5 months so handing him off to a trusted stranger just feels so off to me. I know millions of people do it and we totally did our research and interviews and alllllll that, but…. it’s just… it’s hard. You want to be your baby’s sole caregiver. You want to make them laugh all day and be the one initiating play time. You want to feed them and burp them. You want to put them down for naps. Walking to my car that first day as I left him behind was so emotional. I didn’t cry (I thought I would), but I felt so low.

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Then, of course, I had to go straight to work and be “on” for all my friends and colleagues. You know, get into work mode and be my friendly self. I didn’t feel up for it. But… there I was back at the office, giving hugs and catching people up on my life, but feeling none of it. Of course talking to/seeing my closest friends was awesome but all the other small talk – I really couldn’t fake that I’d rather be somewhere else (home) – even though so many days and weeks this summer were beyond hard. It’s funny how that’s all I wanted again.

I dug right into my work… well, at least my emails. The first day was a blur. I had my breast pump and all the parts (pump, flanges, cushions, nipple cream, hand-free pumping bra, bottles, caps, extra milk bags…). I blocked off my calendar every 3 hours to pump for 30 minutes. My work ID somehow wouldn’t scan me into the Mothers’ Room so I was freaking out that I wouldn’t have access and would eventually leak out of my bra. Luckily, someone helped me within the first hour and I was able to pump. 👌

The Mothers’ Room was basically just a chair, table, refrigerator, counter, and trashcan. Oh, and a huge photo of a baby… lol… you know, to encourage that “let down.” The first day I must have missed the fridge because I ended up bringing my milk to the employee kitchen fridge… that must have looked weird! 😂

I quickly realized no one really understood pumping at work. They just didn’t get the frequency, urgency and preparation that was part of it. All I could think was… if this hard to do while I’m not so busy, I can’t imagine how it would go once my workload started to pack on. I found myself working on my laptop while pumping and I couldn’t tell if I loved or hated that. Still can’t decide…

My advice to you if you’re heading back to work and plan to pump — DO IT. And, OWN IT. So many people will have their opinions. Some might even discourage you. Some will have a million questions or think it’s even funny. Yup. Just do your thing. Set your schedule. Work or don’t work in the Mothers’ Room and carry on with your day as normally as you can. I need to not feel so awkward pumping at work. I’m sure I’ll get there as the weeks go on.

If you’re like me and feel guilty leaving work “early” to get your baby… don’t. This is another thing I’m learning to get over and be more upfront about. If I need to pick up Henry or I want to leave a little earlier than normal to get home and see him for an hour before his bedtime, I’m doing it. If that means I have to get to work an hour earlier or take lunch at my desk, that’s what I’ll do.

I’m really starting to care less about making everyone happy. If you know me, then you know this has taken me YEARS.

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When your baby goes down around 7 and you work until 6… it’s just impossible to feel okay about not spending time with him. Once again… it’s just really hard guys. I don’t know how people do it!! So, that last 2 weeks, I’ve been working more of a 8-5 just so that I can spend time with my guy(s) at night. I’ve seen other moms jet out around this time too and honestly, it’s just another thing that if you have to voice to your boss how important this is to you, just do it. I’ve found that being upfront about these things really helps and more often than not, works out in your favor. And if your boss is a mother too, even better.

The time with Henry at night has been short and sweet. It makes me a little sad. Ok, a lot. I wait to see him all day and when I do, I just want to hold him nonstop until he’s sleeping. I feel guilty that I’m not with him all day. I want to hear about his day but I’ll never know really how it is for him. I wish he could tell me.

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Surprisingly, I am not the mom that stares at photos of her baby all day (not that there’s anything wrong with that). Maybe I’ve just been too busy or I don’t want to let myself feel more sad about it…

Sometimes I’ll talk to other moms I know who have decided to stay home and I’ll wonder, “Did I make the right move… the right decision for Henry and our family by going back to work? Is he wondering where the hell I am all day and who the woman is taking care of him? Am I putting work over him? (Obviously not.) Can both be important?”

I will say, the nights and weekends with him just don’t seem like enough. I’m sure I’ll get used to this like any new routine but right now, it really sucks. I hate not seeing him as much as I used to.

Balancing everything right now is a struggle. I’m not really meal-prepping much yet, I’m now taking showers at night (not my preference), barely working out, and definitely not spending enough quality time with my husband. To say that things feel scattered and unorganized is an understatement. I feel like I’m just taking it day by day and hoping that it gets easier and smoother from here on out.

Someday I hope Henry realizes that everything me and his father do is for him. We work to provide him the best life. We rush home to smother him with love. And we literally talk about him constantly whenever we’re without him. We’re slightly obsessed.

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I do wonder when the mom guilt will go away. I’ve heard it doesn’t, and it’s just a constant reminder of how much we give and care.

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I’m impressed by the working and stay-at-home moms I know. They’re boss bitches! Finding a balance seems impossible to me right now but I’m positive it’ll get better with time and experience. Just like it took my 4+months to catch on to this whole mom thing…. I’m sure it’ll take me a few months to find my working mom groove.

Are you a working mom (we all are <3)? How do you find a balance?

I’d love to hear how you’ve made your new lifestyle work and how you make the most of your time with the little one.

Thanks for reading. No sugarcoating this one, guys. It’s effing hard.


Ari

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