I went back to work after giving birth to my second child a little over three months ago. About a week later a good friend of mine asked me if I would like to write an article for her about my experience going back to work. Sure, I said. I could do that, I said. I have something to say that’s worth saying, I said.
I still haven’t written the article.
And that, dear reader of my blog, is what going back to work after having your second child is like.
I could do and say a lot of things.
But I don’t. Because when am I going to do and say them?
Let’s establish from the outset that I have a pretty sweet gig as a working mother.
- I am incredibly blessed to be able to work from home.
- I also have a stay-at-home husband who shoulders the parenting responsibilities during my work day. Another huge blessing.
- My six-month-old daughter who was born six weeks early started sleeping for stretches that qualify as “sleeping through the night” by the time I was back on the clock.
- My daughter is also the happiest baby. Maybe ever.
I’m sure the list could go on.
Even with all that I have going for me, I’m still going to play the overwhelmed card.
I work from 7 am to 4:30 pm each day. My daughter wakes me up somewhere between 5:45 and 6:45 every morning. I give her her first dose of Zantac and then get myself and my things together to get my work day started while waiting the obligatory 30 minutes before feeding her.
My work day consists of emails and conference calls and research and writing and thinking and figuring and more writing and rewriting and deleting and refiguring and more conference calls. Somewhere in there I pump and feed my daughter and grab some food here and there for myself.
I usually finish work on time. Usually. Except for a day like today when I needed to get something out the door before signing off and ended up working until 5:22 pm.
So. I close up shop at about 4:30. While that might seem early (and is certainly earlier than a mom who has to drive home after finishing her day), it feels to me like my day has already gotten away from me. Because I have a baby who likes to go to bed right around 6:30 pm.
That leaves me a two-hour window during which I try to
- make dinner for and eat dinner with my family.
- spend time with my oft-neglected (at least by me) three-year-old son.
- think about taking a shower.
- think about the fact that I’m not exercising but should.
- get my daughter ready for bed and otherwise get things situated for her bedtime.
- get myself ready for my daughter’s bedtime.
- the list could go on.
I hardly ever do most of those things. So I should add telling myself I’m a bit of a slug to the list of things I do during my two-hour window.
Then I take my daughter to bed. Some night she eats and goes to bed quickly. Sometimes she takes her time. Sometimes I let her take her time.
Occasionally, I will put my son to bed. Typically, though, my husband does it.
After both kids are in bed, we sometimes talk a little. We sometimes watch TV a little. But usually, I go to bed not long after my daughter does.
Except for a night like tonight. Tonight, I am writing. Reporting. Recording.
I do not wish these days away. Someday, my kids won’t be small. Someday, I won’t be working at home; I will be going to D.C. again.
But tonight I am wishing I had time to write that article, time to capture on the page how it feels to be a working mom, to be the breadwinner, to be the only food source for my daughter, to be who I am.