Sunday, August 30, 2015

Working moms - the struggle is real, amiright?

I hide it poorly. Or not at all.

Although technically I've been back at work full time for two weeks, last week was the first week with the kids, and that's a whole different ball game. I had a good week though. After a decade of teaching, I've finally developed some confidence. I still have plenty of days where I feel like I suck and have tons to learn, but the confidence is there. Without having to be chained to the pump, I felt like I had so much glorious freedom.

We went out for ice cream to celebrate the first day being done.
I thought I had a few more years before this, but no.

However, this is my first school year that I've started things off as a mother, with an actual house to deal with, and that was a bit of a shit show. 

As I've mentioned, we never sleep trained. During periods where sleep is going well, I get to smugly announce that sleep training totally isn't necessary. And during weeks like the previous one, I get to white knuckle my coffee cup while desperately wishing for a time machine so I can go back 8 months and bitch slap myself. 

Dalton has been waking up more and more frequently, probably every 2-3 hours although I really have no idea because I don't look at the clock and it's all a blur. It's a lot though. Bringing him into bed and shoving him on the boob has allowed us all to get some sleep. Until this week. Wednesday night, he was up on and off, but more on, from 10:30-4:30, very agitated, and nothing would calm him. An organized mom would have just got some infant Tylenol from the medicine cabinet, got the dispenser from somewhere logical, given him Tylenol and been done with it. I, on the other hand, was stumbling around at 4am, holding an angry baby and using my cell phone flashlight to search for it and cursing under my breath and finally giving up and telling Eric to take him downstairs so I could at least get an hour and a half of sleep before work. He actually slept great sitting upright on Eric's chest. (I did spot a tooth under the gum later.)

I bought Tylenol on my way home from work the next day, and when Dalton woke up that night, Eric went in and kept him downstairs (his bedroom is downstairs), away from me. This worked much better and is, apparently, a thing. Other moms I know say their kids lose their minds seeing them in the middle of the night but with dad, they easily go back to sleep. 

In my humble opinion the problem was partially teething, and partially the ongoing separation anxiety. When he sees me, he WILL NOT SLEEP. He will fight it to the death, constantly dozing off only to force himself back awake. Cue the mom guilt for being away from him during the day.

My little shadow, chasing me whenever I leave a room.
Then there's the never ending problem of a work - life balance. Dalton can't even stay awake until 7pm these days. So I jet out of school the second the kids leave to at least get 2 hours of time with him. 

I'm starting a new Friday "happy hour" tradition of doing some fun baby activity.

Then once he goes to bed, I'm doing whatever work I neglected to do when I left school, cleaning the kitchen, packing lunch and the diaper bag for the next day (which is much easier though now that I just pack one sippy cup of breast milk for Dalton and I'm not storing milk and washing bottles and pump parts), attempting to pick up toys (but let's get real, that's like 1-2 nights a week max), and trying to get into bed by 9 or so in order to be up at 5 to run, get ready, and be at work hopefully by 7:15. Rinse, repeat the next day.
I did get in four early morning treadmill runs this week!
I was supposed to have my first all out, balls to the wall girls night on Saturday.

I forgot the selfie stick
When I woke up Thursday morning feeling like absolute death, I knew that wasn't happening. The hormonal, sleep deprived non-logic took over, and even though I'd just had 6 + hours of after dark, "quality" time with my son, I didn't want to miss out on more time with him. The weekend is the only time when I feel like I can just relax and enjoy playing with him, and I'm not trying to cook dinner, get ready for work, do laundry, clean up, etc, etc.

Plus, there was no chance I could spend Sunday hungover. I'm hanging on by a thread during the week, barely managing to do the minimum to prepare for the following day, and living in a disaster zone. In addition to wanting to feel 100% present with my family on the weekend, that's the only time I can grocery shop, do laundry, clean, meal prep, etc, etc. Eric does a TON to help, but now that we have a house, there's more to do. He's had to take over putting Dalton down for all naps/bedtimes, for the above stated reasons, he does all the lawn care, and general house maintenance, which is quite time consuming, so I try to take care of the indoor general housekeeping tasks.

I'm not trying to win the busy Olympics by any means. I'm certainly not doing anything more than any other parent. I'm really grateful that my job is flexible in some ways, like being able to leave at 4 and do some work from home after bedtime. Still, I maintain that the struggle is real.

Then I felt guilty for wimping out on girls night, because I value my friendships, and I think it's really important to devote time to them, not to mention that I really enjoy that time. And wine.

Beyond delicious.
The benefit to an early bedtime is that I can still go out with friends early on a Saturday, and barely miss any time with this guy.

Of course, friends always understand, so we still had a fun night together going out to dinner, then having a drink at a quiet-ish bar and chatting the whole time. Casi was even nice enough to finish my drink for me so I could drive home. Taking one for the team.

I stayed out until past 11. Considering I was out by 9pm Friday night, this was a huge accomplishment. Then I slept until 7:45, and didn't even hear Dalton wake up (although granted, I turned the monitor off, but even so it's still unprecedented) . I woke up to the perfect picture of domestic bliss: Eric cooking eggs while Dalton happily ate cheerios in his high chair. It's amazing how good sleep can make a person feel. I wish babies could understand that. Mine, at least, the rest seem to already know.

Where do you feel like you are failing at life? I would say basically all areas. I'm ignoring a huge pile of laundry to blog at this very moment. When I called to make an appointment for a hair cut, I found out my stylist no longer works weekends, so I was just like never mind and hung up the phone figuring I'll get it cut next summer.


  1. I am stressed out just reading this. I can't imagine how you feel. Hopefully the separation anxiety will ease soon!

    1. He likes daycare which is my saving grace! This post sounded more dramatic than it should have I'm sure.

  2. Like giving up on your haircut, I temporarily gave up on the dentist. I cancelled the appt I made 6 months ago because it wasn't going to happen with a 5 week old before we had tried bottles. I have since rescheduled twice for days Dan had off from work and the dentist cancelled on me both times. Meh. Impending failure here. I'm in the process of figuring out childcare for my return to work in 5 short weeks...I'm almost at the point of functioning normally again, can't wait to see how everything is turned upside-down again when i add work back into my life.

    1. LOL yup the struggle is real for sure. Actually I had a haircut scheduled over the summer, but there was a bad rainstorm and Eric got stuck in traffic on his way home from work so I had to cancel. I'm sure we will all figure things out and things will run smoothly at some point. Right?? Figuring out child care - truly, good luck, and I don't mean that sarcastically. That was the hardest thing I've done as a mom so far (not that that is saying much since I've barely even joined the mom ranks but still). It all worked out though and Dalton loves daycare and that's saying a lot because he hates everyone who's not me.

  3. I'm failing financially, hooray!

  4. My husband goes back to work tomorrow, well today technically. And I'll be home alone with a baby! Gah. I realize I'm lucky to have had him home for two months and not a week like some moms/wives but I'm nervous anyways. I'm sure the house will be in shambles tomorrow afternoon upon his return. I'm also mega failing as a dog mom since the baby joined the scene.

  5. Hahah I've been a wreck for the past ten days or so! Between our wedding next week, a whole lotta work stuff and far too many magazine edits that came due RIGHT NOW, I'm out of control. Meltdowns have been aplenty :)

  6. Hang in there- It sounds to me like you're doing great! Your son is healthy and happy. It's hard no matter how you slice it but it'll get easier. I have no good advice, just wanted to send support and a pat on the back. Don't you dare feel guilty about providing for your son- how lucky he is to have such a good example of a strong woman for his mama!

  7. Your skin looks so good. Please tell me your secret.

    No, I'm not being sarcastic.

  8. one of my biggest fears is that I will get stuck with all night duties. My husband works 24-hour shifts. So some nights, he is not there. And on the nights he is there, he should be able to get sleep too bc he doesn't get it at work, right? But then does that mean, I never get a break from being up at night??? Oh man... this is not going to be fun to figure out.
    P.S. I think you've presented a very good work-life balance. And as someone who plans to be a working mommy, I really appreciate it to see it IS possible. I am beyond impressed that you run at 5 am too!

    1. Does it help to hear that if you are breastfeeding you are stuck with all night duties anyway, at least for the first six months? By then most babies are sleeping through the night so it's a non-issue!

  9. This. All of this. It gets more manageable, and then you get pregnant again.


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