For those of you who’ve read the “About Me” section on this blog, you will know that I am the new mommy to an incredibly adorable and gorgeous baby boy (who is now already a little over 5 months old!). I decided to write this blog, to not only state the obvious, but perhaps as a form of letting off some steam — or perhaps to throw some sympathetic words out there to other working moms who find themselves in the same situations as me… I’m not sure which is the more prominent factor…
Before Bubby was born my husband and I came up with a “plan”. Those of you who have come up with similar plans will know why I have placed the word plan in quotations — and everyone else will get there sooner or later. The “plan” was for me to continue working full time (some at home with the baby and some at the office while baby was at grandparents) and after child number two I would then go down to part time. Sounds great all neatly typed out right? Ha.
The night before I was due to head back to work from my 8 week (short) maternity leave, I was in tears not only because I was still sleep deprived and sad to be leaving my baby in any capacity, but because my gut was telling me this just wasn’t going to work. I was having a hard enough time some days getting my own teeth brushed much less getting 8 hours of focused work in while watching an infant. I kept telling myself I had to at least try.
No more than two months and a few breakdowns later, I arrived at the conclusion that this was really just not going to work. Working only when Bubby slept left me even more sleep deprived because I was getting up early to work before he woke up, staying up after he went to sleep to again work and do all the other things that need done in life: shower, laundry, etc.
I kept trying to literally do it all. And I kept getting more and more frustrated, even flat out angry because I felt like a failure who just kept falling short. Something was always giving — and most of the time it was me. My sleep, my peace… my sanity.
I think that similar the rule about breaking rules, plans are meant to be revised… and then revised again.
Three months later we are still working on yet a new “plan”. Currently I’m working 3 days a week at the office getting 12 hour shifts in each day (Bubby with grandparents) — leaving me 4 hours a week to get in at home while caring for Bubby… a far cry from the 24 that was required in our original plan. It’s better. But a lot of days are still just flat out hard.
I always new that being a mom would fulfill me and it was always the time of my life I looked forward to
— I just never knew just how much it would consume me and truly be the only thing I felt driven to do. I suppose you could say the “maternal instinct” is strong with in me…
I’m getting better at juggling — still wishing many days I could focus more on just being mommy and still not feeling like any superhero but I’m pretty sure that woman (the one that I think we might all compare ourselves to) isn’t real. Just something else unobtainable we all try and emulate.
Takeaways? You and your spouse need to be flexible. My husband and I got hung up on our “plan” for a little too long while I kept on feeling more and more frustrated, hopeless and unhappy. Before you have a baby when everyone tells you, “There is nothing anyone can do or say that can prepare you for what you are about to experience…” they aren’t trying to be know-it-alls. They are the ones that are laying it out on the table and telling the honest truth — as opposed to the more common “I remember when…”
So prepare for certain things: dirty diapers, swaddling and long nights… But also prepare for the fact that there is a lot that is going to happen that you really can’t ever prepare for. Be open and honest with one another and continue to assess each other’s needs and the family’s needs overall. Maybe you don’t really need the extra income, or maybe you really do. Maybe one person is afraid of having to depend financially on the other or that person is afraid of having all the financial burden. Maybe all you really want is to feel valued and appreciated in all the sacrifices you are or feel you’re making. Whatever the case may be, the best “plan” to embark on (in my opinion anyway…)
is one of continual re-assessment, truth-telling and thanksgiving.
And pray. Pray, pray, pray continuously.
Oh, and NEVER underestimate the power of a gummy smile to get you through the toughest day or sleepless night.