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Overwhelmed | Preserving Pennies
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Forgive me for the lack of a better post today. I have to admit that I am feeling more than a little overwhelmed. I have only started back at work three mornings a week but it has really gotten the best of me! My brain feels all muddled and I can’t seem to get anything done.  I’ve been meaning to watch ‘I Don’t Know How She Does It’ with Sarah Jessica Parker to see how she does it but haven’t been able to find the time… :)

Seriously though, I’m pretty frustrated with my inability to get as much done at work as I used to. I love my job and I so badly want to be able to do all the things that I used to [at work] but I realize that it simply isn’t possible while working only three mornings a week. It’s been hard to even get the three mornings in.

My in-laws are providing child-care for us right now as my father-in-law is not currently working and they had been asking if they could watch our son when I went back to work since before he was born. I usually work Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday mornings and had set that up for this week. On Monday night my mother-in-law mentioned that they needed to visit a distant family member that lives about an hour away on Wednesday and would just take my son with them. I said I wasn’t sure how that would go over but as long as they could put up with the possibility of a lot of screaming in the car then I suppose they could try. Then she mentioned that they would be back at 2pm and I became quite a bit more uneasy. I usually pick up my son from their house at about 12:30pm so we can be home by 1 when I nurse him and put him down for a nap. He has never been away from me for that long. When I thought more about it that night I decided the whole thing was a terrible idea and really wasn’t comfortable with it.

I’m able to pick my own hours at this point except for a weekly Wednesday morning meeting that I need to attend.  This presented a problem since Wednesday was the day the in-laws were going out of town and I needed to find an alternate source of child care on short notice since I did not want to send him with them. I spoke with my husband to see if he could go into work an hour or so late so he could watch the baby during my meeting. This didn’t work out for him though as his job is quite busy in the morning. I spoke with my boss and he said he was unsure about whether we would be having the meeting anyways. Great- I arranged not to go in on Wednesday. Later Tuesday night though my boss sent around an email saying that the meeting would be held but I wouldn’t have to attend. That’s lovely and all but I wanted to attend. Also, we are having a huge sale at work starting today and I’m not quite ready for it.

I’m frustrated that I had to bow out of the meeting yesterday morning. I’m frustrated that I’m going to have to throw together some of the things I was responsible for that were supposed to have been taken care of yesterday. Part of me wants to put my kid in day-care full-time and go at my job full-tilt. The other part of me feels that that would be irresponsible since I’d only end up seeing my son for an hour each weeknight and on weekends if I did that. I wish my husband could switch to part time and bridge the gap in childcare but he has recently taken on some extra responsibilities in his job and has a shot at a big promotion right now (hopefully more on that later this week…) so the timing for that is quite bad. I am working on finding a permanent child-care solution so that this doesn’t happen in the future.

I’ve been trying to work at home as well but my brother-in-law is currently staying with us in my son’s room so my son is in our room where my home office is.  We put up a room divider but he is a very light sleeper and the sound of typing often wakes him up leaving me with no time to work and a very fussy baby. We have decided to find a place for a desk downstairs (we have a small home and there isn’t a lot of room) and hopefully this will help me to be more productive. We are hoping to get that done this weekend.

The long and the short of it is that I feel like I’ve thrown away my ability to do my job and I’m having a pretty hard time dealing with that.  Further, my brain feels a bit foggy lately and I’m having a hard time focusing when I do have baby-free time. I think this might be because of the recently discovered vitamin B deficiency so I’m going to make a doctor’s appointment to maybe get another B12 needle.

Have any of you felt this way after having kids and trying to return to the work force? How do you balance everything?

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9 Responses to Overwhelmed

  1. westcoastgal says:

    I feel your pain. I’d like to say it gets easier but it doesn’t always. Some of it depends on how willing we are to trust other people with our child(ren) vs. keeping them close. I had to return to work so we had to do full time child care. We had an awesome care provider so it went well until the next transition which was school. Another adjustment for me and my mindset. In Grade One now and all is going great.
    I would say…choose based on what is truly most important to you and be prepared to feel conflicted no matter what. Such is the lot of parents…and know that it’s ok and maybe even very healthy for your child to have other grown up s in their life that they look up to almost as much as you.

  2. Sheila Groleau Smith says:

    Having a new nursing baby is exhausting.
    #1. Get a decent pump. (I had Medela Pump in Style Advanced Breast Pump.It was a great investment.)
    #2. Need a conversation with the grandparents about their commitment to providing day care. Paying is outrageous and no one loves that baby as much as family. Try to work with them.
    #3. One occasional day of a 2:30 return should not have been a deal breaker for a meeting you thought you should have attended. Now you are upset and stressed about it.
    #4. Understand that if you need/want this job there will be situations (as you describe) that pop up and you may not like the idea of changing from your ideal plan. Although unpopular, you need to be more flexible.

    My back round: 4 sons nursed ~15 mon, 15 mon, 2yrs, and 3 yrs. From USA and had to return to work~ 6 wks, 5 wks, 12 weeks and 11 weeks. We do not have the maternity benefits of the Canadians. I always work nights -12 hour shifts for last 2. Did 8s before that. Had at times in house and outside providers for day care. I’m not trying to be arrogant here just a bit matter of fact. You have to decide what you really want to do and your family needs to realize that although there is flexibility of hours you need those Wed. meetings to be your best for the reduced hours. It’s tough being a new mom when real life doesn’t meet the plan you so carefully thought out. Good luck. Mommy stuff is tough. Best job I ever had until I added being a Grandma too.

  3. Marianne says:

    Thanks for the tips/ encouragement! I had a good day today, got lots done and generally feel a lot better. I definitely realize that I am going to feel conflicted no matter what I do! The grandparents providing childcare is just a temporary fix. I plan to put him in daycare for half the time and let the in-laws have him the other half (and I will only be working out of the house 5 half days). There are a lot of reasons for this. Also, they do want to be paid though we are not currently paying- we are kind of trading services since one of their sons is living with us at the moment. The centre I wanted to put him in won’t take him before 1 year though so maybe I will rethink that so he can start earlier to relieve a bit of the pressure I am feeling now.

    The late return wasn’t the only issue with the impromptu trip- it was the combination of everything; he’d never been away from me that long, they wanted to bring him an hour away, we have been dealing with excessive separation anxiety since I started working, new place/ new people where they were going. He is just barely used to spending the time away from me and while he likes his grandpa very much, really doesn’t like his grandma yet at all. Also, I wasn’t crazy about how they sort of non-chalantly mentioned it the day before as though they didn’t need to ask if it would be OK…

    It was only one incident though and it really wasn’t a huge deal. It just sort of highlighted what I had already been really starting to feel recently and maybe brought it all to a head.

  4. Sheryl says:

    Been a long time since I was in your shoes, but I do remember that sometimes things just get to be too much.
    When I had had my daughter, we got 17 weeks mat leave. I was nursing full time and child care for a 3 month old was almost more than my wage, so I didn’t go back to work after my leave was up. Lucky for me, a similar spot opened up part time 4 months later (by that time I was only nursing before bed), and I returned full time to work when she was 10 months old.
    Cut yourself some slack, none of us can be as perfect as we want to be, we can only do the best we can.
    Some days, the beds will all be made, laundry will be done, homemade meals will be on the table, you will have had enough sleep, the house will be spotless, and the baby won’t cry / be grumpy / will sleep without fussing.
    Other days, you won’t be able to find clean underwear, extra coffee will be needed to replace sleep, your bed might be under that pile of stuff over there, there might be a clear path through the toys left on the floor, and dinner will be popcorn, and a cheese string with fruit juice on the side (with some vodka in it for you).
    It will take some time, and there will be a learning curve until you find what is comfortable for you and your family.
    I know that you are the best one to raise your child, but remember that your husbands parents managed to raise at least one child to your level of acceptance :) .

    • Sheila Groleau Smith says:

      Well said Sheryl.
      Don’t forget~ Daddy can do anything except nurse the baby. Utilize his help too. I don’t settle for that “I worked all day” stuff. You are parents EVERYONE is tired. Working nights – I always needed a nap so much. I nursed the baby and went to bed. He’d wake me up for feeding time. We’d do that all weekend. He’d do the baths too. One more chance for me to sneak in a nap.
      Don’t do fancy cooking. Grilled cheese, tomato soup for supper. An apple or banana while nursing. Baked potatoes in the microwave so they don’t boil over while you are on the couch nursing. Don’t ask why I know this :) When you have time to cook double up and freeze for a busy/fussy baby day. You probably figured that out by now.

    • Marianne says:

      lol I often remind myself of that last point- though I was young and stupid when I married him so my level of acceptance might not have been where it should have been… :)
      Last week I was stressing a bit more than usual because I was throwing a surprise birthday party for my husband. We had the party last night and it was great! I had planned to cook/bake most of the food for the party but when I ended up working a few more hours than planned last week (and another tooth decided it was time to work through the poor baby’s gums) I just bought all the food. I was sort of beating myself up for that because it cost more than it would have had I made it from scratch and I thought it looked cheesy but the food ended up being excellent and the party was great and I learned that I just need to lower my expectations sometimes and things will be a-ok.

  5. Julie says:

    My daughter started full time daycare when I returned to work. She was not quite one. We had been bringing her in a few hours a week prior to this. I felt so guilty leaving her for 9 hours a day, 5 days a week! But you know what? She LOVES it! She has friends and is socializing. She is doing way much more activities than she would be doing at home. She is now 22 months old and I have just had another baby, a boy, last week. So as we are adapting to new baby, new routine, we are still sending her to daycare. I kept her at home on Tuesday, but I was so busy with the new baby that I didn’t have much time to play with her and felt guilty because she could have been with her friends having way much more fun! I realized that daycare isn’t such a bad thing in the end. If you could find part time daycare while you work, it would be a lot less stressful for you. Make sure that it’s a daycare that you are comfortable with.

    • Marianne says:

      This is what I am hoping for. My in-laws have asked to take him 5 days a week over the summer which I am considering but I think I will set up daycare for the fall now. We will probably do a 50/50 split between daycare and his grandparents. And I am only going to be working 5 half days when I go back so it really isn’t even all that much time. I think the social aspect will be really good for him!

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