My work schedule is sort of unconventional right now, so Friday doesn’t have the jazz to it that it used to when I was commuting into the office everyday but nonetheless, Happy Friday 🙂
It’s been two weeks since I went back to work full-time (from home). Baby Christopher was just 8 weeks old when I started so it has been quite interesting as he still needs my attention 99% of the day. Let me back up. My first maternity leave was 12 weeks off (unpaid) and then I did 8 weeks part-time (3 days in the office, 2 days off). It was an ideal return back to work (if I had gotten getting paid, of course).
This time would be a little different for a couple of reasons. One, the cost of two children in daycare in my town is over $3000/month so extra time off was just not possible. Two, my coworker was due with her baby 8 weeks after I was due with Christopher. I work at a small company and it is just the two of us in our department. So, I decided to offer my company a shorter maternity leave so there would be no overlap in our leaves, and in exchange, I would be compensated somehow during my leave. Luckily, we worked out a deal (don’t even get me started that our country doesn’t have policies and that I have to bargain to get paid even a little during leave). I would take 8 weeks off completely and then do 4 weeks from home before returning to the office at 12 weeks postpartum. Not the best, not the worst.
Before I had the baby, I thought I had it all figured out. I would work while the baby napped, put him in the baby carrier or his swing if needed while he was awake, and work at night if absolutely necessary. The kicker is that all babies are different. Even though I knew better, I expected an easy-going baby that would let me do my job while simultaneously taking care of him. But I have a baby who will really only nap in my arms and has a hard time relaxing in the carrier and by the time both kids are in bed, I am freaking exhausted.
So, how am I making it work?
>>I power work while the baby naps. I lay him across my nap so I can have both arms free. If he lets me put him down, even better.
>>When he is awake and happy, I keep him on my lap and work with one hand or he plays his playmat. I go back and forth to try to keep him happy.
>>I keep trying to wear him. Some days he hates it and is fussy and some days he will pass out. When he is fussy I bounce around until he settles and when he sleeps, I stand at my breakfast bar in the kitchen with my computer and work.
>> When my husband gets home from work, I pass off the baby, make Jennie some dinner, and put on a TV show for her. This gives me about 30-45 minutes to get some things done. I also work after the kids go to bed, despite the exhaustion. I send necessary emails and tick off items on my to-do list. Sometimes I work an hour, sometimes two.
I guess I forgot that taking care of a baby takes a lot of time (well spent, of course, but time nonetheless). I plan on doing half the week from home going forward as well (at least through the end of the summer) because I am trying my best to spend as much quality time with my kids while still maintaining my career. I am happy (and lucky) that my job is offering this flexibility.
I am always unsure if I am giving enough to my children and my career. I feel like I am walking on a tightrope, with each arm being pulled in the opposite direction. There is no balance, I always feel like I am tipping. But if I constantly shift my focus, I can stay up there.
So, any other tips from moms and dads in the same situation?