It’s been about 3 months since I talked about my decision to stay home with Bryce. At that time, I was also trying to figure out how to find my sense of identity and determine if that meant pursuing my career in some sort of capacity or not.
Well, there’s been an update on that front. I hadn’t really been aggressively looking for a job by any means, but an opportunity came on my radar that I knew I had to pursue. It was a company I had worked on a project with a while back and they really stuck out in my mind ever since. The job description was a great fit for my skill set and was a brand new role within the company, which was also enticing.
It’s also completely remote. All 17 of us work from virtual offices across the nation. I told myself that if I were to go back to work, I would want it to be part-time, but this position is full-time. However, the fact that I can work from home was a major factor, which has allowed us to have a pretty unique arrangement when it comes to Bryce.
In the end, T and I crunched a lot of numbers, considered all the angles, prayed and decided that I should take the job and at least give it an honest to goodness shot.
We ended up finding a nanny to watch Bryce three days a week while I work from my home office, and the other two days are covered by the grandparents. They have graciously agreed to travel to our house and stay with us to help out two days of the week (mine and T’s switch off every week for the most part.)
So far, it’s been a week and a half in this new role and let me tell you: this whole working mother thing is super challenging. Here’s a list of reactions/random thoughts on my (exhausted) mind.
- Some days are better than others. Work-wise and baby-wise. But I enjoy the great ones and try to get through the tough ones as best I can.
- I can feel like I’m stretched pretty thin on weekdays- between work (where others in addition to Bryce rely on me, and I have expectations and deadlines), spending quality time with Bryce, pumping/washings bottles, making dinner, household chores/necessities, and making time for T and Izzy—it’s hard to carve out “me” time. T is a fantastic partner and great support/teammate, but we are both exhausted by the end of our days and try to tag team as much as we can.
- I am desperately trying to figure out when to squeeze in that “me” time…and for me, it’s working out. Relieves my stress and lifts a figurative weight off my shoulders. But it’s hard to get it in and I hope to find a way to carve that into my schedule without feeling guilty that I should be with Bryce or T or doing something else.
- I’m a Type A control freak and I’ve learned I have to let go of that. Gotta remind myself to focus on grace, not perfection. The dirty dishes and laundry can all wait (although these things still have to get done- which takes up the limited time I do have…where is that cleaning fairy when you need her?!)
- There is never enough time. And as a result…I have quickly learned to prioritize and create a new routine for myself. I’m considering a “day in the life” type post at some point, but I’m still trying to find my groove in all this.
- Going from being with Bryce all day to only having a couple hours in the morning and a couple at night (with random breaks/lunch here and there), is tough for me to deal with, but I’m sure it will get a little easier as time goes on (I hope!)
- Family time is SO important to me so we try to capitalize on that in the evenings when T is home, meaning blogging, checking emails on my phone and social media can (and should) wait, among many other things.
- Working from home has its advantages and disadvantages. For one thing, I don’t have to spend time commuting, putting on makeup or wearing nice outfits, which means more time with Bryce. On the other hand, you don’t get that coworker camaraderie from a traditional office setting…and although the commute & traffic is awful, it was also a time for me to decompress and transition and do things like listen to the radio/book/podcasts, call friends/family, etc. Now, it’s a 30 second “commute” and flipping the switch from work to mother and visa versa isn’t so easy some days.
- I’m also being a lot more mindful of not over scheduling myself for other things. While I can get stir crazy working from home, I do try to get out every now and again for drinks with girlfriends, head to the library every week for Bryce’s Little Listener class or something else- even a “date” where all of us (Izzy included) head for a car ride and grab ice cream or hot chocolate.
- Weekends are going to transform quite a bit versus how they’ve been the past 6 months, but I’m striving to have a healthy mix of fun family time & activities, making an effort to connect with friends & family, attend church services and catch up on housework, errands, grocery shopping, etc.
Phew! If you are with me still, thanks for reading my free flow of consciousness! High five.
All in all, I am really, truly happy to have this opportunity and feel challenged, build my career and have that “adult time” to flex my brain in a different way. And I’m VERY glad to be able see Bryce more than I would in a non-virtual work arrangement. But wow, it is tough. In the end I am just remembering that I am trying to do what is best for me and my family. Just have to realize that not everything is going to fall into place at once and to give it time (perhaps I should have titled this post “My Type A Self is Getting the Best of Me!” or something to that effect- ha!
But all things aside, my hat is off to all you Mamas out there that make it work—it’s a tough gig, but we are all better for it!
Working Mothers- any tips to share? How long did it take you to find your groove? How do you fit in your “me” time? What is your routine like?
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Photo courtesy of Blaszkiewicz Photography
You know, I don’t have kids or will I, but I can really appreciate honest posts like this. Working from home sounds amazing, especially for people who have kids, but you really lay out the challenges and for that I think you’re very brave! You WILL get everything figured out, though. From one Type A person to another, I can totally understand feeling overwhelmed at the beginning. It’s why I always hate the first day of class when they go over the syllabus and you’re like, “I HAVE TO DO ALL THE THINGS RIGHT NOW!” I’m sure this is very similar.
On a totally selfish note, if they need anyone else to join the team in some capacity, I’d LOVE to work remotely :-)
Congrats on the new job!
My best advice is find what works best for you! Everyone is different and routines that my friends told me turned out to not work at all for me. It took me awhile to figure out what worked best but one of the best things I ever did was start getting up an hour earlier than everyone else in my house. Yes, it meant less sleep but it meant me time and quiet time in the house. 3-4 days a week I get up and run and the other days I catch up on what I need to do around the house: laundry, dishes, blogging, reading a book just to keep sane!
Also… Saturday & Sunday naps become crucial life planning time for me! (The fact that little man has dropped those has totally thrown me off my game!) I meal plan & meal prep those times so food is taken care of for the week. It is one less thing I have to worry about in the evenings after work. That became HUGE for me. Lunches were divided out for the week (carrots cut, salads packaged individually, fruit washed and packed up, etc) and dinners were planned or cooked ahead of time if i could.
Sorry this is long but make the crock pot your best friend forever :) I used mine on occasion before little man and now we use it 2-3 times a week! LIFE SAVER!
I love reading your blog!! Your family is so cute :)
I’m going to agree with Erin’s first line above :) No kids here either, but I definitely understand the challenges of working remotely all the time, and never feeling like you have enough time for all the things that you want to do. I think everyone struggles with the latter, no matter what our lives look like!
A few thoughts for getting used to working from home 100% of the time… first, do you have a dedicated office space? That makes a HUGE difference! I didn’t have one until we moved in August (after working remotely at least 50% of the time for several years), and notice that it’s a lot easier for me to sign off and be done with work when it’s separate from our living space. Our office is in the basement, so I’m never down there except when I’m working (or doing laundry.. which I do during work).
For working out, I find that I do best when I have it planned ahead of time. Seriously, put it on your calendar. If I don’t know when/if I’m going to work out during the day, it typically doesn’t happen. I try to have a plans like going for a 30 minute run at lunch, doing a quick ab circuit before I sign on, lifting weights on my break, etc. While it’s still nice out, maybe you could take Bryce out for a run or walk on your lunch!
Having work take away so much of your family time just means that you’ll be even more focused on making the time you do have together count, which is definitely not a bad thing. Just go easy on yourself as you’re getting used to this new routine and know that, although things aren’t going to be perfect all the time, you’re doing the best that you can, which is all anyone (and certainly any parent!) can do.
Being a working mom is definitely tough. Although I don’t think stay at home mothers have it any easier. We all have different expectations placed on us depending on our role. If I ever found a part time job, it would be really nice though!
Katie @ Live Half Full says
I like your honesty! I’m finding my groove with a baby now and it’s pretty daunting to think about what it will be like when I go back to work. I’m excited to share! :)
Your “free flow of consciousness” is amazing. Glad you have the blog to let all of that out … it’s a great venting-like tool, isn’t it? Journaling for the masses? I obviously don’t have any great advice for you, but I would like to point out that you’ve been doing a great job being a momma, and now you’re going to do a great job being a working momma. You know that, too, deep in your heart, or you wouldn’t have taken the job. You can do all things (with a little help from above and a little help from your family/friends on earth), and if you ever do need a babysitter/dinner/phone call, etc. … I’m only 25ish minutes away, girlie! USE ME. That’s what friends are for =)
L heiss says
I have stayed home with my boys for over six(!) years. If working makes sense for your family, financially and otherwise, that’s great! But, if you feel the pull to be with your son full time, don’t let that make you feel like less of a person! I stay crazy busy! I do a bible study, a mother’s group (both have childcare!), and I volunteer, mostly in my church. I’m keeping my professional skills fairly sharp (I write my church’s newsletter among other things) with my volunteering and work within my organizations, but I make my schedule and I decide where my resources go depending on where I’m needed most at the moment. I’m super fortunate to have the ability to stay home because my husband’s job can support us, but we do make some totally manageable sacrifices that to us are very worth it. I plan to work part time once my youngest (almost 1) gets into kindergarten, but until then, our arrangement is perfect. Have no guilt over being “just a stay at home mom” if that’s your choice at any point. In 20 years I doubt you’ll wish you worked more :-)
Laura@ Fit Running Mama says
Yeah- Congrats on the job! Working is HARD!!! I do it 4 days a week and the day are short and the nights are even shorter. It takes a village when you have kids and thank goodness for family and friends!!! Blogging gets put on the back burner all the time as there is always so many other things to do!! ME TIME is at 5am when I get my home workout in because there is no other time in the day to do it and I in bed at 9 every night because I need my sleep and energy for the next day. Sunday is still spent food prepping when I can because if it doesn’t get done then there is no food in the house!!! Such a balance