My New Job

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The arrival of James brought many happy changes to our household; aside from the obvious ones, the biggest change has been me saying goodbye to the “workforce” and saying hello to a new boss.

Her name is Reese.

I am officially a stay at home mom. I can’t say I care much for that particularly phrase as a definition of what I do now, but I haven’t found a better one, so for now that’s what I’ll say.

The choice was not a difficult one for us. The cost of daycare was greater than what I was making at my job and even with the offer of a raise and the option to go part-time, it wouldn’t have been worth it.

Having said that, since I had Reese, all I wanted to do was be home with her. The fact that I have that opportunity now makes me feel very happy and very lucky.

I know how hard it is to leave your baby for ten hours a day. Sometimes I would come home and swear she looked older than she had when I left that morning. I also know how hard it can be to stay at home with your baby for ten hours a day. Some days you may wish you were at work. At least when you’re there you can eat and go to the bathroom whenever you want.

Each is hard for different reasons, and I don’t believe that one is easier than the other.

I feel inclined to say this because articles on social media, in magazines and pretty much everywhere, lead me to believe that there is some sort of weird secret competition among moms. Countless articles talk about why stay at home moms are the most underappreciated and have the hardest jobs, or why stay at home moms should shut up and stop complaining because working moms have it much harder. I even hesitate to write about this for fear that I will offend. I know this topic can make people get all in your face and crazy.

Calm down.

We are all doing the same thing. We are all feeding, and changing, and not sleeping, and chasing, and looking for shoes and wiping butts and dealing with meltdowns at the grocery store, and that shit is hard.

Going from working full-time to being home with kids full-time was a big transition, but a happy one for me.

It does feel weird to not have a place to be every day, or a real schedule, but we make an effort to get out of the house each day. There are days when I feel stuck in an unending cycle of feeding, cleaning, and changing and I find myself longing for the days of after work drinks and wearing real pants. But we have friends and family members with kids who live nearby, so we have people to hang out with when we need to get out of our rut, and that is helpful.

Also, I kinda like my new coworkers so that doesn’t hurt either.

 

 

 

Girls’ Week

Our main man was away in California on business last week, so Reese, Miles and I were left to hold down the fort.

It was only the second time Andrew has traveled for more than one night since Reese was born and despite the fact that she is now running around, it seemed to be a little bit easier this time around than it was five months ago.

Four whole nights to myself (once Reese was in bed) meant lots of “me time.” I used this time wisely, laying on the couch watching trashy reality tv that Andrew does not tolerate. I caught up on Real Housewives, Teen Mom and the Bachelor and was even introduced to the embarrassingly addicting world of “Married to a Jonas” (I love you Danielle; don’t listen to the haters.) It also meant doing all the chores I normally do PLUS the boy chores (shoveling snow, taking out the trash, etc.) It was only 4 days but it reinforced my belief that single moms are not to be messed with. Working all day and then coming home to take care of a one year-old solo is no joke.

Without Andrew, even our nightly ritual of walking the dog turned into a major production, and it ended up taking me almost a half an hour to get the three of us out of the house. Getting Reese bundled up, Miles leashed and back-packed (more on this later; but yes, our dog wears a backpack), the stroller out the door and down the steps, and locking up, all while holding a 24 lb toddler and trying to avoid tripping over a 50 lb dog was comedic. The fact that we live on a very busy street (right at an intersection to be exact) means that there is always a live audience of people in their cars watching/judging as I awkwardly toss the stroller down the stairs and try to keep Miles from running out the gate while I strap Reese in. Never far from my mind is the fact that I know if I was in those cars, I would be laughing at me.

Come Thursday evening, the three of us were looking forward to having Dada back.

When we heard Andrew’s car pulling in the driveway, I brought Reese into the kitchen and she stood against the door peering out the window; hair still wet from her bath and her feet covered in fleece pajamas. She bounced up and down when she heard his feet on the deck stairs and when he appeared in the doorway she began her dance of joy (this consists of rapid arm flapping, heavy breathing, more bouncing up and down, and sometimes, ironically enough, ends with a slap to the face.)

Despite the potential slap, it really is the best kind of greeting after days away.

On Work and Home

I am lucky enough to have a job that is sensitive to the fact that I have a small child.

Most of the time, I am out of the office at 4 PM and able to be home by 5 or 5:30. I work from home on Fridays, and if Reese is sick, everyone is pretty understanding about me  taking time off to stay home with her. Aside from my own illnesses, my sick time also covers times when Reese or her caregiver is sick, which is extremely helpful. I get lots of and personal and vacation time and my office closes each year between Christmas and New Years.

But like anything good in life my job also has downsides, and unfortunately for me these include a long and frustrating commute, and the fact that my position is not really aligned with the career goals I have (although these have changed a little since Ms. Reese arrived). Since Reese was born it has become clear that I am more in love with the people I work with, and the environment that I work in, than the work that I do.

I work with some pretty awesome people and enjoy flexibility that I know is uncommon in most workplaces, but I still struggle with the amount of time that I miss with Reese each day.

At the same time, I am happy to contribute financially to my family as well as to relieve some stress from Andrew, who works primarily on commission.

Leaving each morning never seems to get any easier, but I am more aware of the time that I do get to spend with Reese and I value literally every minute, since they always seem to be too few and far between.

Although the feeling of dread that comes on a Sunday evening seems much heavier these days, the excitement of a Friday afternoon now has a whole new sweetness.