It’s hard to believe I’ve been back at work now for four months. Some days it feels like I just came back and other days it feels like I never left. The job is the same. The people are the same. The hours are [relatively] the same. But what isn’t the same is me. I’ve changed. I’ve become a mother and with that I’ve now entered the other side; the side of the working mom. Kurt and I both make good money. We are lucky enough to work in great fields that provide us both with generous incomes. That being said, we definitely don’t earn enough that one of us could stay home full time. It’d be wonderful, but financially at this time it’s not possible. So alas, I’ve had to go back to work and with going back to work I’ve learned a few things…
1.) The laundry is never done. Ever. I swear I wash, dry, and put away tons and tons of clothes but it never seems to end. Just when I think I’ve finally gotten it all under control, I remember there’s still a load sitting in the dryer waiting to be hung in the closet. Or worse, I’ve forgotten there’s now three of us and therefore; Nate’s laundry needs to be washed too.
2.) “Days off” aren’t actually days off. Given that I work two part time jobs, on occasion I will have a stretch of a few days off during the week. At first I become giddy with excitement and anticipation that from Monday-Thursday I will be home with Nate. That is, until Monday rolls around and I realize there’s laundry (again!) or the house needs cleaning or we’re about a day and a half away from eating Ketchup and Mustard sandwiches for dinner. So it’s really a lie. “Days off” just means I’m not getting paid to work.
3.) I need to appreciate the fact that I had an entire year off with Nate more. Obviously, I appreciated it. I mean it was a whole year off to stay at home and watch my baby grow but I often forget that during that entire year I was off, Kurt wasn’t. He worked Monday-Friday so he missed out on a lot of Nate’s milestones. He missed the first time Nate rolled over, the first time he sat up on his own, the first time he crawled. I tried to have him present for some things, like when Nate tried baby cereal for the first time. But there was only so much I could postpone for him. I mean, try and hard as I might, there was no way of stopping that boy from crawling for the first time. I need to remember this more when I’m at work and getting texts about how Nate can now open the bathroom/closet doors or how he’s able to climb up onto the couch. I was around for a lot of firsts and I need to constantly remind myself that it’s o.k. if I miss out on something. It might hurt at the time but in the grand scheme of things, I was present for a lot of his “firsts”.
4.) Adult conversation is a must. I didn’t realize how secluded I was becoming while being at home for a year. Yes, it was a wonderful, magical, precious year that I won’t ever forget but I think I might have lost a few interpersonal skills. I mean you can only talk to yourself, a baby, or the cats for so long before you think it’s perfectly acceptable to avoid any form of eye contact during an interaction with another adult.
5.) Whether you’re a stay-at-home mom or a working mom, there’s no such thing as “enough sleep”. Like ever. You’re constantly in a state of sleep deprivation. It’s some weird psych experiment that never ends….like the laundry.
6.) It’s totally fine if the house looks like it was the site of a massive bomb drop or the centre point for some post-apocalyptic movie set. If toys are all over the floor, the couch cushions are a mess, and there’s water or milk droplets on the floor, who cares! I’ve learned it’s better to spend time playing and interacting with Nate in the moment than constantly worrying about having to clean everything up later. I’ve stopped apologizing when friends come over because lets face it, I’m not “sorry” the house is a mess. I couldn’t care less if someone judges me on the state of my family room floor because honestly, even if I spend two hours cleaning, tomorrow it’s just going to look like I never made the effort anyways!