Clearly I have been delinquent in this space. I’ve been back to work for exactly 6 months and life, as I know it, is chaos! But happily chaotic!
I have many hats: wife, mother, sister, daughter, in-law, friend, colleague and co-worker. Sometimes I have more than one on, and sometimes I wish I could take them all off and go hide in a dark movie theatre and eat buttered popcorn. All of these hats represent different expectations, both the ones I place on myself and the ones others have of me. It’s always a balancing act, trying to make sure I don’t put too much attention to one and ignore the others.
Despite how it may sound, I am HAPPY! I feel like order is restored in my life (I get bored very easily, so busy is where I thrive).
During my maternity leave, I learned a lot about myself and who I want to be. I am a wife and a mother foremost, but I NEED balance. I need to spend time with my friends, I need to go to the gym, and I need to work to keep my brain stimulated. I struggled with balance when I was on maternity leave. It was much harder than I expected. Those that know me well, know that I’m a control freak. So spending endless days and nights with an infant that I couldn’t figure out was extremely challenging. There were many times we were both in tears because we were both tired and frustrated.
I remember vividly the moment when I knew I lost balance. I spent hours making homemade baby food for N, and then he refused to eat it. Flat out refused, and even vomited when I stuffed it in his mouth. I burst into tears in front of my husband because I was frustrated after all that effort…wasted. His response: it’s just baby food, relax. And it was, but in that moment, it was ALL I had to focus on. After that, I worked very hard to get out of the house, make friends, participate in local mommy groups, and find time for ME.
Don’t get me wrong, I loved maternity leave. BUT a year is a VERY long time! Kudos to the parents who decide to stay at home and raise their children. I couldn't do it, I know I couldn't. I am a much better parent and person when I have some separation.
So now I am back at work, happily busy and balancing my many hats. I have a renewed energy for my career, and I am thankful to have a loving family to go home to. N is flourishing in daycare. He loves his teachers, and they are very good to him. I often peek in before I pick him up, just to watch him laughing and playing with his teachers and other kids. It warms my heart to see him smile.
Not to say all of this is easy. Some days I stress too much about work and I bring it home with me. Some days I don’t have enough patience with my husband and child. But I can’t be perfect all the time, right? I’ve learned the hard way that I need to lower my expectations of myself. Because it doesn’t really matter that there’s crumbs all over the floor, or that the bed isn’t made, or that there’s toys EVERYWHERE – right? In theory, yes! But there’s some things I just can’t let go of, I can’t handle clutter. But I know it’s extra work I’m putting on myself and I have nobody but me to blame for it.
What things make you crazy that you just can’t ignore?