Monday, February 6, 2012

On Being A Working Mom

So, six weeks passed by. The first three weeks were long and blurry. The second three weeks went by too quickly and were filled with quite a bit of growth on the part of both mommy and baby. Now, back to work!

I remember taking my little Nathanael to the woman who would be spending thirty two hours a week with him. I remember being okay with it, at first. I took him to her house, informed her of the little things she needed to know and turned to leave. That's when I felt my face crumble. I held in the tears until I got to my car but I do remember having to rush away from the door. How was I going to make it through the long, eight hour day without crying myself into a state of dehydration?

You may be surprised to know that that was the last of the tears. The thing about going back to work after six weeks is that you're pretty busy. You have work to catch up on and oodles of socializing to do. You have to tell your stories to each new person who comes along and they will, in turn, feel required to share their stories with you. There was so much going on, I didn't have time to get maudlin.

And, as much as I missed my little baby, with whom I had recently formed a pretty strong bond, it was nice being on my own. I got to go to the bathroom, by myself! And, all of the other people around me who had to go to the bathroom, went on their own without me having to clean up after them. I got to eat ALL of my lunch. From start to finish, too. I got talk to other human beings that also knew how to talk. I got to have complete, uninterrupted thoughts! Bliss!

But better than all of that, at 5:30, I got to pick up my little boy who was so happy to see me. I don't think anyone had ever been that happy to lay eyes on me before. My heart soared!

How did I make it work? Well, there is certainly something to be send for not knowing any different. It is also about how you set your priorities. I didn't like being away from Nathanael so much but that was the way it was. So, when I wasn't working, I was with Nathanael. When he was real little, we'd come home, eat dinner and I'd hold him and play with him and rock him to sleep in my arms. On my days off, while he was awake, we were together: playing, cleaning, shopping. When he slept, I did whatever I needed to do to stay sane. I wouldn't say that I felt guilty about not being with Nathanael more. But I did feel that I did not need to spend MORE time away from him. My husband and I almost never went out without Nathanael. He was our constant plus-one. That was our choice and we made it work.

That's the secret. It's your choice. Make it work. When you become a parent your life/lives change. Forever altered, folks. You gotta get over it pretty quick or you will be very unhappy. I'm not saying you have to make your entire world revolve around baby. I don't think that's healthy for a variety of reasons. But, you do have to accept the fact that things are different. And, that they will be different forever!

My advice for you working moms who are trying to figure out how to do it all? Quit while you're ahead! You can't do it all. And, that's okay. You do what is important. Do your job well then come home and enjoy being a mom. Make sure you figure out your priorities. What is important for your family. For me, things like eating and clean clothes were necessary, but baking fresh bread and dusting? A dusty living room never hurt anybody, right?

Nathanael and I were (are) very close, regardless of the amount of time we spent together. And, his babysitter was a truly wonderful woman. We were very blessed in that regard. I am now a stay-at-home mom and am able to see how the other half lives. I do find myself wishing I could have experienced raising Nathanael full-time. I also realize that we would have probably had a different relationship. Plus, I'm not going to waste my time feeling bad about something I can't change. I don't have that kind of time, now that I'm a stay-at-home mom!


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