Some thoughts about being a working mom

I’ve been a parent now for a little over a year and a working parent for about 11.5 months now. I have thoughts on these things, but seem to have a perpetual problem organizing them. Therefore, for the 3 people left who read this blog, you get this.

I had way too high expectations when starting back to work. I expected to return to work at my normal 100% after having Kiddo. I failed miserably at that and, in retrospect I laugh at myself. When I returned to work at about 8.5 weeks post-partum, I was averaging about 5 hours of highly broken sleep a night. I was new at this pumping thing and still a tad hormonal. The idea that I would be able to work for 8 hours straight, breaking only to feed Kiddo at lunch and pump, was and is ludicrous (I should add that it’s ludicrous for me—I’m sure that other people can work sleep-deprived with absolutely no problems). With the sleep deprivation, adjusting to all my new responsibilities, and the general stress of having to start looking for a new job (that postdoc was over at the end of spring) I was overwhelmed. My brain just was too full. Granted I came up with ways to compensate (endless lists and strict prioritization), it was a huge adjustment and I just wasn’t my best. It pains me to admit that because I never wanted to be that parent. You know, the one who is all scattered because of having a kid and doesn’t return to work at the top of her/his game.

At about 10 months in, I felt like I was getting my groove back. Now, at 11.5 months I feel like I’m back to being super productive and making smart decisions. This is because Kiddo is starting to sleep more (only waking me up once or twice a night! Instead of 5 or more!) and I’m adjusting to getting everything done.

By everything done, I mean the normal day-to-day of living stuff. Prior to Kiddo, it was relatively easy to get all my chores done in about an hour. Now, it’s much more difficult, especially since recently the only person he’ll let hold him is me. Dr. Man and I are getting better at dividing up the labor appropriately. We now sit down to dinner together (as a family—including Kiddo!) almost every day of the week. I’m rather proud of that.

I suppose that I wish I could tell the me of almost a year ago that I need to just lower my expectations and recognize that having a baby is a huge freaking deal. That I shouldn’t minimize it and realize that it’ll impact all aspects of my life.