Monday, February 20, 2012

Confessions of a (soon-to-be) working momma

So my kid isn't even born yet and I'm already experiencing mommy guilt. And I can only imagine it's going to get worse after he is here and I fall in love with him even more than I already am.

When I was little and someone asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I always said "a mom". My mom stayed home with me (she worked part time once I started school and full time when I got to high school) and it was wonderful. I always pictured myself staying home with my future kids, since that was what I had grown up with.

Sadly, that is not in the cards for us at this point. It's not just about being able to "re-budget" and adjust our lifestyle so that I could stay home - we could not pay our mortgage, utilities and other life expenses without my salary. We live in a pretty high cost of living area and while we certainly live well within our means, it also requires two salaries to maintain a comfortable, but frugal lifestyle.

I'm not going to lie and say I'm not upset about having to go back to work in late August/early September and putting the little man in some sort of day care/nanny situation. I have cried about it, pouted about it, prayed about it and complained about it. J would like me to stay home as well and I know he also feels bad about the fact that it's not a possibility.

Not sure if I ever blogged about this, but in August, I transitioned into a new job within my company and now I work 100% from home. I'm an account manager, so I have a list of accounts that I handle and this is split into about 80% at home (making phone calls, answering emails, etc.) and 20% out in the field, visiting my clients and going on appointments. Working from home is definitely a challenge but I do like it and am generally happy spending my days in sweatpants.

I think when some people hear that I work from home, they think this entails sitting around, eating bonbons and occasionally answering an email or two. This is definitely not the case - I probably work harder from home than if I went to an office every day. I can never "get away" from the office and I find myself answering emails at 10:00pm on a Saturday night just because my desk is sitting right there and I can't tear myself away.

I've found that along with this, comes the people who are genuinely surprised when they hear that we'll be putting the baby in daycare. I've heard this comment more time that I can count:

"Oh, you are so lucky to be able to work from home and stay home with the baby so you won't have to put him in daycare"

Umm not so much. I can't work full time (which for me is 50+ hours per week) and raise a newborn/infant/toddler/preschooler full time. My general response to this comment is:

"No, the baby will be in daycare. Would you take your infant to work every day with you?"

I can only imagine making calls to my client in between the baby screaming, pooping or some other sort of meltdown that I haven't even experienced yet. Not going to happen. It's hard to get people to understand that I work during the day and can't be expected to do my job full time as look after the baby all day long.

Another issue I seem to get facing is in my own head - there are a lot of aspects of working from home that are really lonely. The only "person" I have to talk to during the day is Spencer and unfortunately, she doesn't talk back. If I have a question about something, I can't just walk down the hall to ask a co-worker. Sure, I can call one of them, but it's not quite the same as face to face. Usually by the time Jake gets home from work, I'm dying for some human interaction and talk his ear off for a good hour as soon as it walks in the door.

The more I started thinking about being home alone all day, with no one to talk to, while the baby is at day care, the more upset I got. I've had several mini-panic attacks thinking about this - would I be able to focus on my work all day long being at the house with no change of scenery or co-workers to take my mind off of the fact that I'm away from my baby boy for 9-10 hours a day?

So I decided to focus on the positives of being home all day while my son is at daycare. I made a list and I keep it tacked up on the bulletin board in my office so I can look at it whenever I start to get freaked out.

1. Since I can generally take my lunch break whenever I want, I could sneak away and go visit the little man during the day.

2. Without a commute, I can start my day earlier and therefore finish earlier - then I could go over in the afternoon and pick him up early some days...extra bonus time in the afternoon with my little boy!

3. I can use my lunch break and a few other small breaks during the day to finish up laundry or other household chores that I need to do, which equals more uninterrupted time with the baby in the evenings.

4. I can pump my breastmilk in the comfort of my own home and store it easily in my own fridge/freezer!

5. I can also use my lunch breaks to go to the gym (which is what I currently do during my lunch) - this gives me more baby time in the evening, plus keeps me happy and can reduce my stress by giving me some "mommy time". Happier mom = happier baby!

6. I can use the lack of an evening commute to cook dinner while J is picking up the baby from day care (he will be the primary drop off and pick up person) so we can eat as a family when they get home.

I'm going to keep adding to my list as I think of more positives about working from home. This list is pretty much keeping me sane - ha! This post is more of a brain-dump for me to get all my feelings about being a working mom out.


SKB said...

Sounds like you have a great plan in place for when your precious little one comes. I too have worked for home for a long time and it does get so lonely. Sounds like you are going to be an amazing Mom. That list is a great idea! Good luck!

Ally said...

You are right on track. I love the positives and they are SO valid. :)

Always Organizing said...

Hang in there my friend! I will also be a working mommy and already know how sad I will be to go back to work. My hubby works at home but it is totally unrealistic for him to work and take care of a baby at the same time (a few people have suggested that and I am like "are you crazy?"). We are looking into a nanny to come to the house (I plan to take an unpaid day off on Mondays) or a local daycare. It isn't easy, but it is the reality.

Luckily, I only work 15 minutes from home so I can stop in to see my little guy during the day too :)

Kate said...

My sister is really struggling with this too. She'll have to go back to work too though she's taking a pretty long maternity leave.

Hilary Lane said...

I think your positives are great!! I'd love to have some of those perks (of course I don't have babies yet, so I'm just being selfish here, haha). Working in PJs and being able to go the gym at lunch? Love! But I think you have a great idea with being able to start work earlier since you have no commute. Could you work through your lunch break finish up each day early?

Anonymous said...

Hi, de-lurking here. congrats on your baby boy. i actually live in your area and found your blog awhile back- i think we were married around the same time and I found it searching for some kind of wedding thing (pre-Pinterest clearly) I also work from home- my almost 15 month daughter has stayed at home from day one with a nanny. Working from home can be painful at times but it is just such a blessing in the baby days when you need every spare moment you can get. Not having to get dressed up, commute, etc. It's also really nice as your baby gets older if you have some flexibility to take him to a music class or gym in the middle of day. You should definitely look into a nanny as the costs are often not much more- especially if the nanny has a child of their own they might bring sometimes. if you need any suggestions, please feel free to email me- Good luck and congrats!

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