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This whole interview-which-may-result-in-me-going-back-to-work thing has had my stomach turned inside out.

My concerns are:

  1. I never wanted my son to attend formal day care
  2. I don’t want to work just to pay for day care
  3. Being home affords Mr. E a relaxed schedule, which I really really really value

I currently work about 10 hours per week. Half of which is on the morning when A is home and the other time my SIL watches Mr. E. After careful thought A and I have decided that should we be in a place where I am made an offer, I will only accept if no outside day care is needed.

Impossible, you think?

Not so. If I were to take this job (which is 18hrs/wk) and the scheduling is at my convenience, then we will be able to juggle our schedules in a way that would allow us to forgo formal day care. If not, I will have to decline. It isn’t worth it to put him in day care.

A is ready for me to go back to work. She really wants me to get a job. I, on the other hand, think I could be quite content to stay home until Mr. E and future child go to school, at which time I’d work “mothers hours.” And this baffles me…I always thought my career was going to be it for me. But things really do change when you have kids.

So think of me at Noon on Wednesday when I will be on the other side of the table for the first time in 5 1/2 years.

A couple months back I wrote about thinking about going back to work. I was tortured by the decision of whether to apply to a really great job, or not. I decided I was not ready to put Mr. E in day care and did not apply. All along I’ve kind of thought going back to work would be more work than it was worth and that at the end of the day our bank account would remain pretty much the same, after paying for child care.

Two weeks ago I applied for a job. It’s only part time (18 hours) and is only for the academic year (summers off). I was very excited about the position,  at the idea of using my brain again, and at the prospect of doing what I am good at. As time passed and I did not get a call for an interview, I remembered why I didn’t want to go back to work. And I’ve settled back into the idea that I will be home with Mr. E pretty much indefinitely.

Today I got a call. I scheduled an interview for next Wednesday at Noon. I am not excited. I am curious. Part of me hopes I will go on the interview fall in love with the people and the job and get an offer, and the other part of me hopes the interview will lessen my interest and end this ridiculous process.

How can I be so completely torn about this issue? Why is it so hard to know what you want? I know  it’s only 18 hours per week. But it’s still establishing a routine, finding care provides for Mr. E, participating in the day care shuffle… I really do like being home – I love our flexible days. Sometimes it’s boring and other times it’s really hard, but at the end of the day, I am full-filled. Take today for example, he and I were both napping and when he woke I brought him to my bed to nurse and cuddle. As we laid there, him nursing, me stroking his hair, I looked out the window and watched the snow gently falling. I thought, there is no place I’d rather be right now. But from time to time I’ve had the slightest craving to get back to work – and to think – creatively.  It’s hard for me to switch gears, I tend to be better at things if I am doing it 100%. I think I fear that by going back to work – even part time, I will have a hard time being good at being a worker and a mom.

There is also the the emotional side. With Mr. E’s first birthday behind us, I am making some progress on wrapping my head around child care. He’s not as fragile as he once was and I can see him holding his own. We’re also in a the very beginning stages of figuring out milk when I am not with him. I’ve sort of decided that I don’t want to pump any more. Our current set up has me away from him for 1 -2 feedings per week. Since it’s so few, I’ve been feeling okay about introducing some type of milk for when I am not with him so I can stop pumping and I will continue to breastfeed when we’re together. This was all decided under the 1 -2 feedings per week guise, and now, now it would be so much more if I started working. I am just not sure if I am ready to give up that much of our nursing relationship – so fast.

All I can commit to is going on the interview. At this point I am going to get more information- I have no idea what I’ll do if they make me an offer. (I’m also just feeling so weird about how much changes while job seraching as a mom…it’s a whole new ball of wax!)

I slept until 8:15 this morning and SIL was coming to watch Mr. E at 9, so I only had 45 minutes. I was amazed at what I got done:

  1. Pumped
  2. Cleaned pump parts
  3. Poured one bottle for while I was away
  4. Pureed pears for when Mr. E woke
  5. Got Mr. E up
  6. Feed pears and nursed
  7. Dressed Mr. E
  8. Took a shower and got dressed
  9. Packed my work bag
  10. Unloaded the dishwasher

Phew. And I forgot to drink my coffee!!

So much to say …

Days even weeks pass now with out me posting. I have lots I want to write about but just can’t seem to find the time. When I do have time I am either exhausted or want to spend time with A. I’ve had thoughts of abandoning this blog all together, as I seem to neglect it so much. But it’s been such a huge part of my life for almost three years. I guess I am trying to figure out how it fits into my life now.

On the Mr. E front:

~He turned 5 months on Monday. I can’t believe it. He’s really coming alive and continues to charm everyone. The kid has a smile that melts hearts. And he loves people.

~We’re still working on EC and he is getting better and better at the potty. We’re shocked at how easy it’s been. He is so cute on the potty and moms love not having to wash poopy diapers!

~He ditched the swaddle. Some time in the last month we stopped using a swaddle. I forget what prompted it but we tried it one night and he slept fine. So he’s swaddle free. In a lot of ways this is great because we can easily have him nap in his stroller when we’re at the beach or when he comes to the office with me, but it’s also sad because my little baby is growing too fast!

~He has a lovey, two really. When we abandoned the swaddle we introduced a “lovey” – which is in my opinion, the most ingenious baby accessory. We just snuggle it near his check and he is immediately soothed and relaxes. When I saw how well it worked in the crib, I put one in my car…and wouldn’t you know, he does not scream in the car anymore (we even had a successful trip to Maine this past weekend). Coincidence? All I know is that it works.

~Mr. E was the star of his Mama’s graduation last Sunday! He was so proud of her!

~He’s started grabbing things. The other day he put both hands around my seltzer can and pulled it to his mouth! This is a baby who gets about 10 bottles a week! But he’s been watching us eat and drink, with great interest for several weeks. I will be excited to start solids in a month.

~ He is pulling up as though to do sit ups. He wants to sit up so bad.

~He’s “this close” to rolling over.

the cuteness:

On the E and A front:

~ For those who are not my Face Book friends (come on, why aren’t we friends?!) or if you are and you didn’t see my status yesterday, I am now 30. It’s so not as big of a deal as people make it out to be. A gave me a “mother’s necklace” with Mr. E’s birthstone in it. And she was sure to tell me we can add more stones. I said, great, I can’t wait till there are three stones… (11 months and counting till we start ttcing again.)

~ Tomorrow we will have been married for four years. We’re packing up the boy and spending the day in P-Town.

~ A got a new job that is not teaching, but she is excited about it and her hours will pretty much put me back to full time SAHM, which I am sooooo effing excited about! I’ll work one full day a week and the rest of my hours will be working from home and in the evenings.

Those are all our updates. Some day I hope to get back into my blog. Life’s just too crazy right now.

As A says, “we’re on the sandbar.” It’s been a little more than a week since we managed to pack all our belongings (ok, most, we had to part with some items that would not fit) into a UHaul and drive away from the place we moved to five years ago, with every intention of setting down roots and raising a family. We were sad as we drove away, in separate vehicles, A with the over stuffed UHaul, me with the baby. We’ve made the same trip East, hundreds of time since moving there but I can’t describe the feeling of leaving it all behind. There are things we’ll miss, friends we’ll miss, places we’ll miss, but our lives here feel full in ways that kept coming up short there.

The whole process has been quite over-whelming. The week leading up to the move may go down as one of the most stressful. Ever. Let’s just say that together we experienced enough transitions to last a few years. In all there were only two melt downs (one for each of us) and our boy was perfect. Moving day, while always exhausting, went quickly when many of my co-workers and students and A’s former co-workers descended on us. Mr. E was bounced from person to person while our truck was loaded. And many helping hands meant our stuff was packed into the truck rather quick. My heart warmed having so many people show up to help us.

We spent an exhausting three days unpacking and getting set up, while also working through the emotions that come with such a transition. In the middle of those three days we attended an orientation for the church we planned on joining. Crazy? Yes. The orientations are only offered four times a year and are a required step in becoming a member. We want to have Mr. E dedicated (this is Unitarian Universalist for baptized) over the summer, and while we could have him dedicated without being members, my catholic guilt wouldn’t let me. Heck, what was one more thing in the middle of all we were doing?

By Sunday night A and I were unpacked and starting to feel somewhat normal. We are very comfortable in our new home, at my parent’s house (for those wondering, we passed on the condo. There are too many financial unkowns for us at this time). We have a good relationship with them and it’s very nice to have built in babysitters, support, and let’s not forget the hot tub! That was essential after moving boxes all weekend!

I started my part time job on Monday. I am working for my father helping to run his business. So far I’ve mostly been organizing the office (it’s a NIGHTMARE) and also have started looking into some really cool techy marketing tools. I love my job- you’ve NEVER heard me say that before! I love that it’s stress free, that it’s flexible and part time, and that it allows us to work my hours around A’s hours, thus avoiding daycare. And I am enjoying what I am doing. I mean, one project I am working on is kind of like blogging!

A started her job on Tuesday. She’s enjoying having structure again and has already begun networking with the elementary school principals. She left one meeting with the principal trying to create a part time job utilizing A’s experience working with English Language Learners. She needs to get her foot in the door some how and this would do it! Everything is just coming together for us in ways we never imagined possible.

Mr. E had a very difficult growth spurt last week. It was by far our worst night. He cried, no screamed all night, unless one of us was holding and bouncing him. A couple times we’d trick him into thinking we were standing and bouncing when really we were laying down and bouncing him while he laid across our chests. He never slept more than an hour like this. He wore himself out and finally went to sleep in his crib from 7-11am. The next couple of days he remained crabby, but now he’s back to his cheerful, mellow self. He’s loving having his cousins around all the time -he and J, who are five months apart are too cute together and so interested in each other.

It was a long process to get here, and we remain in a semi-permanent transitional period until A finds a teaching job and we’re able to buy a condo, but it’s all working so well and we have no regrets about our decision to move. We’re so happy to be able to raise Mr. E with family. And to be in a place where we already feel woven into the community in such a short time.

Okay, so not a day has passed since Mr. E was born that I have not stopped and thanked the Universe for our effortless breastfeeding relationship.

Mr. E came out wanting to suck. I remember moments after he was placed on me I noted his sucking instinct and I asked our doula if I should give him my finger. She instructed me to give him my boo.b. When given my boo.b for the first time, he latched immediately. Some of my best memories of being in the hospital were of us lounging in bed while he nursed. It was so easy to do skin to skin nursing in that setting. My milk came in, full force, by the time we left the hospital. And I’ve been blessed with more than enough milk to feed Mr. E.

Once home, bfing continued to be easy. He knew what to do, I had more than enough milk, and somehow I avoided the painful nipple experience most women speak of – I’ve been told that until your nipples get used to the sucking, it can hurt a little (or a lot). This never happened to me. I attribute this to the fact that I applied Lansinoh lanolin after EVERY feeding for the first week, and to his excellent latch.

I continued to breastfeed Mr. E “on-demand” for the duration of my maternity leave. I often wondered why women who could (as in, made enough milk, had babies with a good latch, etc.) would choose not to breastfeed? And then I went back to work. Breastfeeding and working is HARD! I am very lucky because I can come home and feed him sometimes. But it is not the same as being home, breastfeeding on demand, and feeding with out the stress of feeding while convenient for my work schedule.

He is getting some pumped milk via bottles and I am not always free when he is hungry, which means I end up pumping and we get on different schedules. One day this week he had three bottles while I was at work and then rejected the breast that night. Since that experience we’ve been much more intentional about trying to adjust his feedings to my work schedule so I can come home to breastfeed him. Sometimes it works, but often I end up with tons of milk and need to pump while feeding or after in order to drain my breasts. I don’t like all the pumping because the more I pump the more my body produces.

I am one hundred and ten percent committed to breastfeeding Mr. E for at least one year. (Either from the breast or through pumped milked.) But I am beginning to understand why women who are capable of breastfeeding switch to formula after returning to work. It takes a lot of effort to successfully continue to breastfeed once returning to work. This is yet another reason I am glad I gave my notice and am excited that in two weeks I will only be working part time, and this won’t be as much of an issue.

Yet another reason we should get a year maternity leave, like our neighbors in Canada!

I have 13 more days at the job I’ve come to dislike.

I gave my notice today, after being back for four days…

Soon, so very soon, Mr. E will be my full time job again. I can’t wait to get back to being with him all day instead of going to work.

This also means we are moving soon. Last day of work will be April 23rd. We’re moving April 24th.

I am so happy. So relieved.

Life as a mom is pretty freaking amazing. Honestly, most days are great even when I am exhausted and sore from taking care of Mr. E 24/7. Most of my tears are tears of joy and intense love. For example, sometimes I’ll kiss his cheeks and the power of our bond shocks me so that I am brought to tears. But nothing is ever prefect and there are bound to be days that suck. I had one such day this week as sleep deprivation and a clingy baby got the best of me.

My best friend was visiting and I excitedly left Mr. E with her for most of the day on Tuesday while I got a massage and ran errands. He and I didn’t spend much time together and by bed time he was super clingy to me. He would only sleep on my chest. ALL NIGHT. Sleeping on my chest is usually reserved for my last ditch effort to get a few more zzzzs in the wee hours of the morning. He was up a lot. I did not sleep well. We were both cranky the next day, we both woke up crying. I remained weepy all day, until I had a full on break down when A got home from work and took the screaming boy from my arms. I spent several hours bawling in bed. My friends were still visiting at this point, but had gone into town for a little while. I stayed home because I was too tired and thought Mr. E and I needed some down time. When it turned into the above mentioned melt down, I felt pretty crappy that I was hold up in my bed while they were folding and putting away my laundry and doing the dishes. I have the best friends.

Now that I am almost two thirds through my maternity leave, I’ve begun to feel the stress of going back to work. And it’s enough to reduce me to tears and is producing far too much anxiety. I do not want to go back. Even if it’s only for ten weeks. Last night I told A for the one millionth time, I don’t want to go back to work. She asked, even after how bad yesterday was? You don’t think it would be nice to get a break from him? No, I don’t. The good days far out number the bad days. Mostly Mr. E and I have good days. The more I cue into his needs, the better. I am just starting to understand so much about him. And he’s just starting to show interest in me. He’s just too precious and I love him with all my might.

Most likely, I’ll have to go back. I find myself incredibly jealous of the stay at home moms in the mom group I attend. I can’t imagine how horrible I’d feel if I didn’t know that come June I’ll leave my job to stay home with Mr. E (I handed in my resignation effective 6/13, which is the end of my ‘contract’ aka the academic year). It’s the only thing that makes it almost bearable to go back. That and knowing A will be with him when I go back, and being able to bring him with me for some part of each day.

I am of the belief that pregnancy should not last more than 37 weeks, 36 would be preferable. But 40, 41, and maybe 42? No way. It’s just cruel.

Maybe I am just having a hard time because I had such an amazingly relaxing break and then went back to work hell. I am the director of my immediate office. The assistant director has been out sick all week. I am glad she stayed home, and is now on antibiotics so I should not catch her illness, but her being out has made my week hard. Oh, and then there’s the vacant, support staff position in my office. It’s been vacant for a month and the first round of the search failed miserably. I am re-advertising this weekend. Which pretty much means I may give birth before finishing the search.

After having a ton of time off and being able to really take care of myself, I returned to do three people’s jobs at the exact time that I reached the infamous get this effing baby out of me stage that many pregnant women achieve at this point in pregnancy. And let me also include here, I am still fighting a cold, which further complicates my already interrupted-by-all-night-bathroom-trips-sleep.

I think all of this combined is what led to my tearful breakdown at my midwife appointment today. I was really out of sorts. And because we are refusing the eye ointment for the baby post birth she wanted to be sure I had the chance to have a chla.mydia and gon.orrhea test. I know I don’t have either of these and after a confusing exchange I was able to tell her no thanks. It was just after that, as I stood up to get on the table that I just broke down. It was so wonderful to have A there to give me a hug. We heard Moon’s heart beat and my blood pressure was fine. Then she suggested I take the day off, which I had already planned to do after waking up not feeling so well. I remained weepy through most of the rest of the appointment, including while I was doing the Gr.oup B Str.ep test (fun times) and then just broke down again in the car. The tears are coming on and off now. I am lucky that I’ve been pretty emotionally stable through most of the pregnancy, and I think there are just so many factors at play right now, that I was bound to hit a wall at some point. I am thankful to be home, feet up for the rest of the day. And A is bringing me lunch soon. This will pass, and all will be better soon, I am sure.

In a little more than a week, we’ll be on winter break. A delightful eleven day break! I can’t wait.

This break could not be better timed. I haven’t posted much about work lately but it’s been rough. We’ve been short staffed in my department and in my office which means I’ve had to pick up a lot of extra work, sit on a hiring committee, and chair another hiring committee (and I think we’ve found a temp to cover my maternity leave!!!). All the while, we’re preparing to shut down for winter break which entails massive efforts to get the students out of here! They are supposed to leave by this Thursday but many get extensions to stay late because many take classes at other local colleges whose exams run later than ours. I am so worn down and don’t have the time to fight them, that I’ve granted many exceptions to stay late that would ordinarily be denied. What ev.

Many of them will leave this Thursday and then my work load will shift a bit. I won’t be in meetings nor juggling student concerns. But the work does not let up and is such that I will be on my feet most of each day while we shut down the residences. (I hurt just thinking about this!) I am not really sure how that’s going to work. But I’ve been clear with co-workers that I am a bit limited in how much I can help and that climbing stairs all day for five days isn’t happening.

At the end of all this…eleven days off! Eleven days with my wife. Eleven days to lounge around, take naps, hang out with family, play with our nephews, visit with friends, and make the final push to get the last minute baby things we need, wash baby clothes, and finish our to do list.

Winter break, how I love thee!

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