Being a working mom is hard work. I've written before about being a working mom, but it's worth repeating. This isn't to say that stay-at-home moms have it easy; I honestly don't know how SAHMs do it sometimes. I'm in awe of them. Each mom's journey is totally unique and that's what makes motherhood so incredibly special.
I find being a working mom incredibly fulfilling. While I don't believe in "having it all" (a concept that is both baffling and impossible-to-achieve), I think working and being home gives me the opportunity to have the best of both worlds. To have my cake and eat it too.
Before June, I worked part-time. During the summer, I went back to full-time, leaving Danny at home with Forrest all day. (This was a little bit of a taste of what my maternity leave was like for him. The results were... amazing.) In September, I'll be returning to part-time hours, something that is both exciting and a little sad. I love my job: I love working in content marketing all day. I love being able to learn how to do new things. But I also want to be able to take Forrest to baby reading time at the library, to go on walks in the park, and more. I want those days with him, I really do. They're the best days, even if they are hard.
Before my full-time working mom status comes to a close, I wanted to share a few things I've learned along the way.
1. Every hour is valuable.
I'm lucky to work a job with incredibly flexible hours. I leave every morning at 6:30am, which means I get to make Forrest his breakfast and maybe give him a few bites before I leave it to Danny and rush out the door. I'm home by 3pm, giving me time to play with Forrest for an hour, make dinner, feed him, and then play a little bit more before it's time to bed. He's asleep most days by 6-7pm, giving me time to clean up dinner, clean up the living room and kitchen, maybe do a few chores (laundry or picking up the house, nothing intense), and sit down to work on my blog or freelance work. Then it's time for bed and I'll do it all over the next day. Why am I telling you our schedule? I get an hour and a half of time with Forrest each work day. I have to make it count, so I do.
2. It's incredibly stressful to relinquish control.
Nothing stresses me out more than knowing something is wrong with Forrest (a bad rash, teething, a cold coming on) and not being the one taking care of him during the day. I want to be the one making sure to put on the diaper creams each diaper change; I want to be the one giving him saline and ibuprofen every 4 hours. I want to be in control so that I know it's done correctly. I'm Type A. What can I say?
3. There's never enough time for me unless I let things fall to the side.
One of those things, truthfully, is keeping my house immaculate. I love a clean house. I'd love to have time to clean my oven, to scrub my floors, to repaint spots that have been stained or chipped. Truth is, I do have time to do those things... but it would be at the loss of the few hours of me time I have every day. So I let it go. I'll have time for it someday. Forrest probably won't judge me for the unpatched spots on my walls.
4. I'm really bad at prioritizing myself.
Related to number 3: I'm very bad at putting myself first. Funny, since I had a good 26.5 years of doing it before hand. I've been meaning to buy myself new clothes and new make up (and new shoes) for ages. I've been meaning to clean out my closet and all my clothes in storage for ages. I have done neither of those things. Whenever I get a bit of spare money, I spend it on Forrest; he needs pajamas more than I need new jeans. He needs fall outfits more than I do. Those are complete lies, but it's what I tell myself. I feel guilty treating myself to the smallest of things--but I'll splurge big on a set of pajamas for him.
5. No one understands how busy you are.
Working moms: no one else knows the struggle quite as well as other working moms. Sometimes, my coworkers will set a meeting for 3pm and ask, "Oh can't you just stay an hour longer?" No. I can't stay an hour longer--that's the hour I get to sing and have music time, play, and read books. No, you can't have it. You get 8 hours of me a day. Use. Them. Wisely. No one quite gets the bedtime routines ("You can't meet for drinks at 6pm? Bring the baby! Why not?") or the hectic weekends or the mad dashes to the grocery store for formula. No one really gets it but other moms. That's ok, though. They'll get it someday.