Finding Balance

Finding balance has been the hardest part of the four months I’ve been back to work.  Wanting to be as productive and on my game as I was pre-baby but not sacrificing my baby for my job.  I know I’m not the only mother to face this.  I’m not special or any worse off than anyone else. 

Most days I’m pretty good at recognizing that this is the life I chose.  I knew before I got pregnant that I would be a working mom.  Because I like to work.  I like getting up, getting out of the house, having adult conversation.  Don’t get me wrong, not working is not an option.  We are a two income family.  But, knowing that staying at home is not an option helps me to put things in perspective.  I am able to remind myself that part of my job as C’s mother is providing for her.  Because I work, she has a house with a yard she can run and play in (you know, after she learns to walk), she has Pampers on her butt and food on her table. 

I don’t feel like a part-time mom.  But it’s hard to know that my kid spends more time with her grandmother than me.  It’s hard to realize at 10AM on a Tuesday that I’m already so far behind that I have two hours of work awaiting me after I put C to bed.  It makes my gut twist when I see my husband look at me out of the corner of his eye when I answer an email while I’m feeding her.  I feel guilty calling my mom three weekends in a row to ask her to babysit while I try to catch up.  I hate that I probably missed the first time she rolled over and I recognize that may be one of many firsts that I miss. 

The place I question myself the most as a mother is letting my job take up so much of my time and my attention.  I’ve promised myself that when she needs me I’ll be there for her.  I’ve sworn that I will be there for her doctor appointments.  I will leave work early for sporting events.  Hell, maybe I’ll even coach her softball team (eh.. maybe not.  I’ll be the mom that brings the snacks.)  These are easy promises to make when your kid is five months old.  I’ve never had to put them into practice. 

Until last week.  When I took a few days off work.  In the middle of tight deadlines and deadlines that I had already missed by a mile (at this point are any of you wondering why I’m still employed?).  I put a request into my boss, said my kid needs to be on a better daytime schedule and I would be out for a few days doing it.  And out I was.   Now, the scheduling thing didn’t really work out because she got sick.  But I was with her father when we took her to the doctor (twice).  I comforted her when she cried, walked the hall with her at night and didn’ t think about what was happening at the office.  Even when the little red light was flashing on my phone indicating that I had emails. I ignored them when my daughter needed me.  Granted Nap War 2010 was an epic fail, but I feel a little better in knowing that I can turn off the career driven voice in my head and focus on my baby.

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6 Responses

  1. Totally understand where you are coming from. I really think most mothers have this problem. Whether you work outside the home or stay at home…sometimes it seems like the grass is always greener on the other side. I stay at home full time and I also have a lot of trouble finding balance in my life. Sometimes I feel like I’m just all mom all the time and I don’t know who Erin even is anymore.

    For what it’s worth I think you are doing a great job !

  2. Just another working mom here…I know exactly how you feel. My little one is almost 2 and I’ve been back at work since she was 3 weeks old. Thanksfully, like you, she is being cared for by grandparents…for me, that’s peace of mind. If I miss the big things (like saying mama!)…which I have…at least it’s someone in the family that gets to be a part of them and not same daycare stranger. Keep up the good work…at home and on the job!!

  3. If there was only a magic pill for staying skinny and finding balance … if you ever hear of one let me know. BTW, I just found you on POM- and I’m your latest follower- WooHoo!

  4. I really enjoyed reading this post. Although I don’t have any children yet, I know that when I do, I will also be returning to work. Ours is a two-income family and we simply cannot get by on one income. I’m hoping that I will be able to work part-time for a few years though in order to cut back costs on daycare (our family doesn’t live close enough to be able to watch children while we work) and be there for my children. Do you work full or part time? Thank you so much for sharing!

  5. This post truly pulls at my heart strings- it captures all of my feelings about going back to work. But what keeps me going is that I know I’m doing what’s best for my family. Time with your family is important, and so is food on the table, a roof over their heads, and insurance to keep them in their best health. Knowing this allows me to have peace with working outside the house, and TREASURE the moments I get with my girls.
    Chin up mama, you’re doing great. 🙂

  6. I think all moms – working outside of the home, working at home, stay at home…etc….we all have a hard time finding balance…just different types of balance. Staying home I am constantly worried that I am not doing enough for myself – so that I feel fulfilled and healthy. I miss my career for that part of who I was. The fact that you are aware and are striving for balance is great. It is when we lose touch with what makes us happy – gives us meaning – value – importance – that we become unbalanced. Balance is tough – great post!

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