Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Triple Threat

Tomorrow is a big day-- the day I start to learn how to balance work, motherhood and being a wife.

I'm a bit overwhelmed already.

When I stopped working in June, the plan was for me to stay at home for the rest of the year with Liam, then head back to work part-time in January. As the weeks passed and 2010 drew to a close, I looked for a new job with a heavy heart. Sure, I enjoy some time away from Liam every once in a while to recharge-- but the idea of spending scheduled hours away from him on a regular basis seems very daunting.

It's such a Catch 22-- we need the money & I really do want to stay involved in my field, so that I'm able to maintain connections that will benefit me if I want to work full time again. BUT, Liam is growing up so quickly and I'm terrified that being away from him might mean that I miss a major milestone. What if I'm not there the first time he sits up on his own, learns to crawl or takes his first steps?

::pause to cry for a bit, then continue::

I’ve been running perpetually an hour and a half late for the past 4 months, so making it out of the house (with my hair brushed, without spitup all over my shirt) is going to be challenging. I have to decide tonight exactly how to accomplish having Liam and I both dressed, fed & out the door by 8:30am tomorrow.

Then there’s the breastfeeding issue. (Well, hopefully there will be no “issue.”) I’m really proud of my commitment to breastfeeding and the fact that Liam hasn’t had a single drop of formula-- I don’t intend for that to change now. I’ve been so lucky to be home with him for these first few months so that I can breastfeed him on demand. Our experience has been wonderful— Other than some trouble latching in the hospital (easily fixed with the use of a nipple shield) we’ve had no problems. My supply is enough to feed him, plus pump 5-15 extra ounces a day to use in a bottle on days that we’re out and about or freeze for later. I currently have 140 ounces in the freezer and I’m hoping not to have to dip into that stash too much.

There are solutions to all of my issues, of course:

1) My parents will be keeping Liam on Tuesdays & Thursdays which means that his happiness and safety is something to cross off my list of worries. They are so happy to be with him—I’m thrilled that they’ve offered to keep him.

2) If I wake around 7am, I can sneak into the shower before Liam wakes up, which is usually around 8-8:30am. After my shower, I can pump (handsfree) while drying/curling my hair. Then, when I’m dressed and ready, I can wake up Liam, change him and give him a bottle (which takes 10 minutes instead of the 40 min it takes to nurse him). Ideally, that leaves us with 30-45 extra minutes to handle whatever crisis comes up (I’m sure something will!) and get out the door between 8:30-8:45am to make it to the other side of town. (If Liam wakes up before I’m ready, I’ll either feed him then get ready while he plays or have Rob give him a bottle if he hasn’t left for work.)

3) I’ve already explained to my employer that I’m a breastfeeding mom and that I will need time during the workday (9:30am-3:30pm) to pump. Space is kind of a problem in cube land, but I’ve been assured that I can use the board room or any space I need. (I’ll think I’ll just take a 30 minute unpaid break and have lunch and pump in my car.) Then, when the work day is over, I’ll call my mom and see if Liam has recently eaten. If he hasn’t, I’ll nurse him when I pick him up. If he has, I’ll pump in the car on the way to get him.

I don't mean to be overdramatic—I’m just an anxious first time mom. The job is only about 12 hours/week now (will be 8-10 hours/week after the first month) & it really is a perfect fit. I'll be doing consulting work for the local branch of a national non-profit. The job is not permanent, but it's long-term. (I'm scheduled to be there through September--perhaps longer.) The pay is excellent-- the hourly rate is more than I made at my salaried full time position, but the hours are less, of course.

I think that this really will be a good thing…once I get into a routine. There are weeks where we go several days without leaving the house or interacting with other adults. I want that interaction, I want to be challenged and I want Liam to be comfortable being away from me. I’ve earned my PhD in motherhood, now it’s time to start earning a living again.

Part-time, anyway. Let’s not push it.


  1. good luck!!!!!!! you sound more than prepared :). i have a long way to go until i get my phD in motherhood; most days i feel like a flunkie!

  2. You can do it, Steph!
    I hope to see you soon, NYE was so fun.

  3. Your worries sound totally normal and probably the same ones I'll have when I have to leave our LO for the first time. I'll be returning full time after 6 weeks, I'm already afraid! But I have to - I carry our insurance & I do enjoy my job.

    Hopefully a few weeks into this new schedule will help you feel more comfortable and able to figure out what works & what doesn't.

    I hope your first day back goes awesome!

  4. I feel for you. You should move to Canada, I'll be off an entire year with Walter. I can't even imagine. American mothers don't get enough time.

  5. I'm going back to work in March (one ten-hour shift per week) and I've been worrying about a lot of the same things. Can't wait to here how you and Liam are doing.

  6. Oops, I mean HEAR. Duh.