I really thought the first 6 weeks having John Patrick home were hard. But nothing prepared me for going back to work. It has been so much harder than I imagined it would be. Simple sayings such as “not enough hours in the day” have a whole new meaning to me now.
Here are the top ten things I’ve learned in the last week and a half being back at work:
1.) My boss doesn’t believe in “adjustment” periods.
2.) People who get a full 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep a night are super annoying in the morning.
3.) I’m jealous of my son’s daycare teacher.
4.) It’s possible to fall asleep while pumping.
5.) Stress causes my milk supply to decrease.
6.) John Patrick now needs 6 ounces per feeding.
7.) Our laundry bill each month could feed a small country in Africa.
8.) Being broke isn’t so painful if you don’t have time to shop for anything.
9.) Time goes by ten times faster on the weekends.
10.) Exhaustion makes me write silly posts.
As I slowly get back into work, it fascinates me that the world just went trucking right along while I had a baby. I know that sounds crazy but there are more than a few times when I’m in a meeting and I want to yell “but I had a baby!” And honestly, it serves me right. I am admitting that I used to be one of those people that would think, “ok, great, you had a baby, can we get back to work now?”
I’m now publicly apologizing for those thoughts.
It’s so completely strange going back to work. I’ve only been gone a few months but I feel like an entirely different person. My priorities, worries, stresses, and joys are so different. I can already tell that it’s going to take me awhile to get used to the new me. Right now I’m out of sorts and trying to get used to the fact that the world really didn’t stop when I had a baby. Strange, it sure felt like it did.
As I start the process of mentally preparing myself for work, I have gathered great advice from other mothers (thanks Mary and Rachel). One tough subject is diaper bags. I was completely lost about how many bags I need, when I need them, which are good for what? So I am summarizing all the tips and advice that I’ve prodded from other people. I’m sure I’ll have to revise my plan a dozen times. But this is my plan for now.
**Note: With daycare coming up, I’ll be the first to admit that we are flat broke. So all these diaper bags are hand-me-downs from family members or bought on a gift card.
Here are all my diaper bags (thanks Leslie).
1.) This is the biggest bag I have. My plan is to use this one when we are going to be gone all day or traveling. It’s huge but it also has a wide shoulder strap that is comfortable and balances the weight well.
2.) This one is my smallest one. I plan on using this when I need to just run around the corner to the grocery store or other quick trips.
3.) This is a really soft quilted bag. I think this will be my “daycare” bag. It can hold a lot but is also quilted and can be scrunched up into a small space (for example, a cubby). So I can leave it at daycare while I’m at work.
4.) This is my favorite. It is a red canvas bag that is waterproof. It also has clips that will secure it to a stroller. And I think it is the perfect size – big enough to hold everything I need but small enough that I don’t feel like I’m carrying a piece of luggage. This bag will be my weekend bag for going to the park or shopping or whatever else we may be doing.
- Another great tip I picked up – stock all the diaper bags if possible. That way I can just pick one up when I need it and I don’t have to worry about transferring items.
- My last tip – I am going to put all my cosmetics and loose ends in one small make-up bag. That way, when I do need to transfer personal items, I’ll only need to transfer a wallet, phone, and make-up bag.
Well, this is the plan anyway. I’ll let you know how it goes. I’m sure the diaper bag learning process has just begun. Who knew diapering was so complicated?
Monday John Patrick started daycare. It was one of the hardest days of my life. I started crying Sunday night when I was packing his “daycare” bag and basically didn’t stop until Monday when I picked him up. I tried to take my mind off of it by getting my hair done and shopping for new work clothes, but all day I had this horrible lump in my throat. I kept thinking about when he was born and how the first 6 weeks I basically couldn’t put him down at all. And I kept thinking about how much I complained about that. Why did I complain about that? And I also thought about how fast my maternity leave went by and that he and I will never have that time together again. Those 3 1/2 months are gone forever. Obviously, this thought process made me more than a little depressed.
I called the daycare after he had been there a couple of hours and asked how he was doing. (Yes, I’m one of those mothers.) But actually, he was doing really well. In fact, John Patrick had no trouble with daycare at all – only I did. He had no trouble adjusting to his teachers or making new friends. He had no trouble adjusting to songs and toys and bright colors and a new and exciting place. In fact, he loved it.
I realize now that this is only hard for me. He’s ready for this. It’s a good experience for him. His teachers are wonderful. They are so loving with him and patient with me. When I picked him up, his teacher was rocking him and singing a lullaby (in Spanish – brownie points). Today when I picked him up from his second day, I ran into another mother. She told me how she started her daughter at 3 months as well (she’s now 7 months) and that it was so hard for her. But like John Patrick, her daughter had no problem with the transition and loves her “school”. She kept telling me, “just get through the first couple of days and you’ll start to feel a lot better”.
And honestly, I’m already starting to feel better. Don’t get me wrong – I think about him all the time and I miss him constantly. But I feel at peace with where he is and that it is a safe and nurturing place. He’s making friends and learning how to accept care from people other than Mom. It’s even made him more inclined to let Daddy hold him longer before crying for me.
My husband laughs at me because I say “he’s growing up so quickly”. (He finds this funny because John Patrick can barely hold his head up.) But it’s true. He’s showing me that he’s ready to start developing as an individual and having experiences apart from “Mommy”. And as hard as that is for me, it’s a great thing for him. This may sound completely crazy but I’m so proud of him.
Or maybe he’s just so little he has no idea what is going on. I choose to believe the former.
So it’s been another momentous couple of days in our home. And we’ve survived and learned lots of lessons along the way. Maybe some day I’ll be able to teach John Patrick a few lessons. But for right now, he’s the master and I’m the student.
May the force be with us.
Right now, as we speak, I am currently skipping along the walk of shame.
For the past few weeks, I’ve been working part-time at home. It’s been hard. So I have set up the bouncy seat next to the computer so that I can multi-task motherhood with working. This morning, I looked down in the middle of a conference call and noticed that John Patrick was adoringly staring at me and smiling. Ahhhh. What a sweetheart. And what have I spent the morning doing? Work, work and more work. Instead of taking advantage of these alert and sweet moments, I’ve stuck my child in his bouncy seat to entertain himself.
I hang my head in shame………..
Let the therapy bills begin.
From the moment Becca was born, she was aware of her surroundings. When the nurse first handed Becca to Omar wrapped up like a papoose, I was surprised to see that her eyes were wide open and blinking at everything around her. She looked like a little owl with her slow, methodical blinking. As soon as she got close to me, she intently focused on my face and I could feel her communicating with me: “I trust you”, blink, “to take care of me”, blink, “I trust you”, blink, “to take care of me”, blink. Right from the start, she knew how to assess her surroundings and determine who/what was important in them. Once she had determined that I would care for her, she promptly fell asleep.
Almost 18 months later, I am continually surprised at what she notices and is able to figure out. Without ever having a sip of coke, she quickly deduced there was something really delicious in that red can. She would see Omar drinking it and say, “mmm, mmm, mmm” with her arm out-stretched reaching for it.
It has really made me realize how important my eating and exercise habits are to her. If she sees me eating Hershey Kisses *like today* then she is going to beg and beg and beg for them. I’ve been trying to use her clear fascination with my eating and drinking habits as an incentive to make better food choices. I wish I could say that I was now always eating fruits and vegetables but I can tell you that I generally keep my ice cream eating and cookie snarfing until after she goes to bed.
Have you been successful at changing any of your bad habits? If so, I’d love to hear about it. If not, I would love to commiserate with you 🙂