Thursday, February 16, 2012

Some Questions for Working (SUPER) Moms...

I can't believe it's here...I have to go back to work two weeks from today. When Quinn was born, March 1 seemed so far away, but it got here way too fast. I am blessed to have had almost four months with her and I have cherished every moment. But, I am so anxious about going back and I am going to miss Quinn so much. I'm sure we will both be fine (after a few days crying at my cube), but it's just the fear of the unknown that makes me nervous. I have no idea what it will be like to be a working mom, and I have some questions for those of you who balance everything so gracefully:


1. When the crap do you have time to work out?! Especially if you are breastfeeding, because I can't just wake up early and hit the running trail or head to the gym. I would have to pump for 30 minutes before I go and be back in time to shower and get dressed to feed Quinn by about 6:45 or 7:00 so I can get out the door by 7:30ish. I don't want to go to the gym after work since 5:30-8:00pm is some of the only time I will have with Quinn every day. I guess I can go after she goes to bed, but again, I would have to pump. Oh, and I guess my evening time with Jeremy is out the window at that point too. Hmmm...

2. What are your favorite things about being a working mom?

3. What are some of your dinner ideas that are quick and easy since evening time with the baby is precious time?

4. How do you get over the guilt of missing out on your baby's life?

5. What advice do you have for taking Quinn to daycare? We love the daycare we've chosen (Primrose), but are there any secrets that will make our lives easier, or make it easier for me to leave her on the first day?

That's all I can think of right now. I would love to hear any other advice, success stories, etc. that you want to share.

Thanks so much!

9 comments:

Mashala

1. We work out after Liam goes to bed. We have a treadmill and have found some work out DVDs that we enjoy. It's easier to get it done at home, than having to leave the house and go somewhere.

2. Seeing Liam's face light up everyday when I pick him up is the highlight of my day. I like having a little bit of adult time and conversation, even if it is work. I feel that I am a better mom and more in the moment in the evenings and the weekends, because I have missed him.

3. I have lots of dinner ideas, but my biggest advice is PLAN. Make a menu of the week if you can. That way you know each day what meat needs to be set out or any prep that you can do before hand after Quinn goes to bed the night before. We always try to do something easy on Mondays. Yummy soups, sandwiches something like that. Mondays are hard and it gets you into the week easier.

4. Guilt, it's always there. I don't know if any working mom ever gets over it. You love the daycare and they will love her. I make every effort to be there for his little parties that they have and if he's sick or he needs me, I'm a phone call away. Daycare knows this and work understands it. He comes first.

5. Molly the first day is going to be HARD. If you are anything like me, you will cry, ALL DAY. Just know that she is in good hands and she will be so happy to see you at the end of the day. Just make sure that everything that you need for her that can be in the car or by the door the night before is ready. I even took everything that Liam would need on the Friday before (besides milk). That way on the first morning I wasn't try to haul diapers and wipes and blankets, etc.

Being a working mom is hard, but Liam loves daycare. He loves being with the kids and now that he is old enough to know what is going on he gets SO excited when we pull up in the mornings. He knows he is going to play with his friends and that makes it easier for me.

jen mccrady

1. I don't work out :) I just don't have the time (nor do I want to wake up at 5 to work out before showering, getting Molly ready and leaving the house by 7:15). I do take the stairs every day and make good food choices for right now. My work has a gym so maybe someday I'll be okay sweating in the middle of the day and getting a work out in, but right now I haven't even thought about it while I'm still getting adjusted.

2. Favorite things about being a working mom: I'm providing for our family and contributing to Molly's savings, college and wedding :) Working also makes the time you DO spend with Quinn sooooo much sweeter. The weekends are so wonderful and you look forward to them so much!

3. I have used a crock pot for a lot of meals. Go to crockingirls.com for some great ideas.

4. Guilt... See #2. And don't ever count the hours that daycare sees her vs. how much you see her. This will depress you! She KNOWS that you're her MOMMMA, and when she grows up she will respect your work ethic and everything you went through to provide a comfortable lifestyle for her! (I'm still reminding myself about this daily since I have lots of guilt.)

5. As for daycare, she started going 3 days a week for a few hours before I went back to work so that I wasn't doing everything on my first day back. Could you ask your daycare if you can have a practice run or 2? It seriously made it SOOO much easier on the first day back, and I didn't even cry because I had done it a few times already.

For me, it wasn't so bad during the first couple weeks because it was so fun to see all my coworkers again. It got hard about 3 weeks in when I really realized this was our new normal. I'm still struggling, but I know it's the best thing for our family right now. Good luck and know that you're not alone! :)

Tanya

1. I work out after the kids go to bed on the eliptical at home. That way I can stop if they need me, which most the time they don't. I also use that time to catch up on any tv shows or conversations with Gabe. Talk and walk ;) And sometimes I give up the work out for some cuddle time with Gabe. It's all about daily prioritization and realizing that this phase only lasts for a little while. You may not work out as often as you want to now, but in 2 years when she's not breastfeed and is sleeping well or maybe even wants to go on jogs with you it won't matter.
2. I love my job. It gives me an outlet to exercise my mind, engage in adult conversation, explore the world in ways that I just wouldn't have if I stayed home. It also makes me a better mama because I appreciate the time I do spend with the kids more. when I start getting the working mom's guilt I remember a study I read about that said working moms tend to spend more quality time with their kids than sahm, precisely because of the guilt. SAHM spend quantity, but not all get to spend quality time with their kids. I'd prefer quality - that's what makes memories.
3. Hate to admit it, but drive thrus are a way of life during the first few years for us. I try to pick healthy options - chicken salad over a burger and fries, but some days I'd rather play dinosaurs on the floor than worry about making a balance meal.
4. You'd have guilt if you were a sahm too. It's just part of being a mom. It's a matter of chosing your guilt. Do I miss not seeing them, yes. But I believe that when they're all grown up, I will have been there for the times that mattered and the future I can provide them by working will be more important in the long run that being there for those 'firsts' that I'll remember but they won't. Gabe also doesn't tell me when they have those 'firsts' so that the first time I see it can be special for me too.
5. take her to the day care before you go back to work. The first day I took Z I cried like a baby for 2 hours until I had to go get him. It was a little easier the 2nd day and the 3rd. You'll never get 100% use to it, and that's okay. If the daycare has internet video that's great. Otherwise, call and/or drop in during lunch when you can. After awhile it won't be so hard.

I know it's really hard to think about for the first time you leave your baby - but if you really like what you do and prioritize what time you do spend with her you'll be able to be an amazing mom and a happy woman.

Sarah

The title of your post that you linked to facebook perked my interest so here are my tips:

1. I still haven't figured out a good work out routine. I try to go on a walk whenever the weather is decent as soon as I get home and let Gavin snooze in the stroller.

2. I appreciate the time I spend with him so much! I have stay at home mom friends who are always complaining about their kids driving them crazy and needing a break and I can tell you I NEVER feel that way. I enjoy every moment with him so much!

3. I plan out all of our meals ahead of time and will sometimes make meals I can freeze and re-heat later. I get a lot of frozen/steam in the bag veggies as sides and we grill a lot, which doesn't take that long.

4. I struggle with guilt and it is the hardest thing about it. My babysitter does not tell me when he does new things at her house which helps a ton. That way when I see it happen for the first time it really IS the first time and I will never know otherwise. :)

5. The first day is going to be so hard. There will be lots of tears and you will be in such a hurry to get out of there at the end of the day. It gets easier and easier. I will pray for you about this one!

Like others above has said, get as much done the night before. I have all the bottles prepped, diaper bag packed, clothes laid out, my lunch packed, etc. so in the morning I can spend as much time with him as possible instead of running around trying to get ready. Good luck!!

David House

From a man's perspective...

In my opinion, stay at home Moms cannot pass judgment on working Moms, and working Moms certainly cannot pass judgment on stay at home Moms. My mother stopped teaching after my older sister was born and stayed home to raise all four of us. I consider every moment I spent with her to be quality, regardless of the fact that she was there every day. As a father, if I am in a situation where I continue to work after my wife and I have children, I will be sure to make the most of my time with my kids, but I will know that I am spending my days providing for them, and that fact will probably drive me more than I have ever been driven in the past. I don't see why it should be different for a working Mom - in your eyes, you are doing what is best for your child(ren).

Alissa

I was a little saddened by the comment that said that SAHMs get quantity time instead of quality time with the kids, whereas working moms get the quality time since they're not around as much--and that that was the preferred arrangement of the writer. In fact, I read it this morning, and it's been bothering me so much all day that I just had to write something to get it off my mind. To the person who made that comment, I truly hope that you weren't making a blanket statement--I'm a SAHM and I try to make every moment of my day with my son quality, even though the quantity is great. My mom did the same thing with my sister and I, and I'll never forget that. In fact, the one year she did work, the only memories my sister and I have of that time are her being upset and stressed out all the time, and us being scared alone at home with our dog (we were 10 and 12). This is not to speak out against moms that must work, or to say that Molly should change her mind about going back, but it was hurtful to read that there is a thought that SAHMs don't give their children as much quality time as working moms.

I'm not trying to start an argument, and if I misread your intentions with that comment, I truly apologize--it just really hit me hard this morning.

Stephanie

I've done it all... I'm been a working mom outside the home, I've been a SAHM, and I've been a work at home mom. (I currently telecommute from home full-time.) And I can tell you that all three positions are exhausting, hard, emotional and rewarding. They are just different. And, the way to make your situation work with your family is just figuring out what works. Make a schedule (for everything: meals, when/who will grocery shop, working out, date nights, etc.) and do it. When something in that schedule isn't working for you or your husband, change it. Staying on your schedule is just as important as being flexible with your schedule. I know it sounds crazy, but you'll figure it out.

The biggest aspect of being parents, whether you both work or not, is teamwork. Communicate with your husband to make a schedule and stick to it.

1. My first year of mommyhood had me throwing Abigail in a stroller for a walk every night. When Daniel was home, this also accomplished the task of quality marriage time. It's not a P90X level workout, but you're also not a 20-year-old single women with no responsibilties. I'm now a mom to two school age kids and working out is even harder to fit into my schedule but there are more options. Keep in mind that even if all you can squeeze in is a few miles of walking or running in the evenings, it's not a forever thing. Before you know it, you'll have a different schedule and be able to do something else. Workout DVDs, treadmills, etc. There are lots of options even if what you are used to is not an option.

2. Do you cry when you leave the baby with Jeremy and go to the Domain for a shopping trip? Probably not. Don't make leaving the baby for work into something that it's not. It doesn't have to be emotional and guilt-inducing. It's just what you're doing. It has nothing to do with your status as her mother or her view/opinion of you. That's a time to think with your head and not your heart. Be reasonable.

3. I've tried everything with dinner. Now, crockpot meals are what work best for us. But, that gets old. So, I also like buying Studio Kitchen meals. And, Pampered Chef has great power meals you can cook on the weekend and freeze until you are ready to eat. No matter what you do, preparing on Sat/Sun is the way to make it work.

The reason you're asking all these questions is because your head is probably swirling with all the ideas and demands and you know that this is going to be hard. Yes, it's terribly hard. Being a mom, no matter how you do it, is hard. And, it doesn't get easier, but you get better at it. And, God provides you with the strength to accomplish what you have to do.

The previous comments about quality vs. quantity were hopefully not intended to be as they appear, because they are highly offensive. There is no right or wrong way to do parenting. C-section babies are not better/worse than naturally birthed babies. Breastfed babies are not smarter than formula fed babies. It's just different. It's all about choices and you get to decide how you want to be a mom. You figure out what works for your family and do your best to not judge or even think about how or why another family is doing something completely different. Always just make sure that what you are doing works for your family.

Ali

Hey Molly,

I have enjoyed reading your blog. I am definitely not balancing everything gracefully, but I thought I would share my thoughts.

1. I never have time to workout, nor do I want to. Taking care of Caleb is a workout in itself, lol. I do some baby lifts, and I crawl around on the floor with him while he plays. He also constantly wants to be held, so I try to do tasks while holding him, and now that he is 20 pounds, I really think that is a workout! I may be spoiling him a bit, but he will only be small enought (and willing) for me to hold him for a short time, so I'm not worried.

2. I like not having a back that constantly hurts! (see no. 1) When I was at home with Caleb, my back hurt all the time from carrying him, and after 3-day weekends, it hurts still. I may be joking a little bit. I guess what I like most about working is that I know we will get to do lots of things with Caleb that I didn't get to do growing up due to money constraints. My parents always seemed stressed about money, so it is nice not having to experience that stress at this point in my life.

3. I can't help with this one as we are still trying to figure it out. Andrew usually does the cooking these days while I feed Caleb. Then I feed Caleb again before bed, and that is when Andrew cleans the kitchen and washes the bottles. We have eaten a frozen pizza and spaghetti almost once every week since I returned to work. It is sad, but we usually only plan 2-3 meals a week (so we get stuck eating spaghetti or pizza the other weeknights since those are so easy) and I take the leftovers for lunch the next day.

4. I agree with the others who said you dont get over the guilt of missing out on your baby's life. I feel terrible at times and think about quitting my job all the time, but I remind myself that I don't remember my first two years of life, and that my mother worked, and I still grew up to be a happy person and I love my mom so much!

5. It was hard leaving Caleb at daycare, but the ladies are all so nice and they love taking care of babies (especially the little ones). I would suggest putting lots of pictures and videos of Quinn on your phone and looking at those while you pump at work. I cried for weeks, but it got easier.

Casie Casey

Hey Molly Ann! Congrats on your sweet baby girl, she's precious! I've got a 19 month old son, so these are some of my thoughts.

#1 I work out at lunch. I get 20 mins of cardio in and then move to the machines to work my legs/arms. Shower there, and then head back to work to grad a quick sandwich. I've got it down to under a hour and a half, if your work allows a slightly longer lunch it's well worth it!

2. Working to know I can provide for Evan is how I survive. Sure, I'd much rather spend my time at home with him, but also knowing if I splurge every once in a while to do or get him something, we will be ok financially. Those first few days you pick Q up from Daycare will put a smile on your face!

3. I'm awful at cooking, I hate it. The crock pot is a great invention or freezing meals you make on the weekend.

4. Guilt is awful, and every mom goes through it. Its just something you do get over. A friend once told me she finally got to the point where she felt ok leaving her baby at daycare after work to run to the store or other errands. I never believed her, but now I do. It comes with time. It will get easier. It's ok to cry about it too! Some mornings I would do anything to just stay at home and snuggle, but again see #2. As a mom you have responsibilities. You want to provide for your child, so know you are doing the best you can!

#5 Call the daycare as often as you want. I promise they'll understand! Ask for detailed reports on diaper changes, feedings, naps etc. Ours does that every day and it's nice to know what he's done. Become friendly with the staff, don't just see it as a place to take your kid and leave. They'll spend as much, if not more time with her than you. Sad...but they will become another set of eyes, and offer great advice at times. If at all possible, don't go see her during the middle of the day just to check in. It's harder on you and her when you have to leave again. Just think of when you get to leave work and go pick her up how excited you'll both be!
Good luck to you, I know it's super hard, but you can do it!!