I’ve been back to work a full month now and so much about this new season reminds me of when I returned to work after JR’s homecoming. It’s such a tough transition! The progression from what’s often referred to as the “fourth trimester,” being fully out of pregnancy and the newborn stage, to working full-time. Phew!! It goes by in a flash and at the same time, there’s some painfully long, difficult days- a blur of emails, bottles, and burp cloths!
What’s the familiar ache for better balance? It’s the deep longing to be home with my baby – to continue breastfeeding and cuddling and bonding – mixed with a strong urge to get out of the house, talk to adults, get dressed, and do my makeup! (And if I’m really lucky, workout or blog!) It’s a tug-of-war and fitting in time for myself, time for my toddler and time for my husband, leaves a lot left to be desired by way of balance! The scales are always tipping.
The #momguilt is so strong: does my baby notice I’m away, and that I’m working? Is my milk supply decreasing? Am I somehow slipping, or failing at this?
Then there’s the independent, crying-out-for-help streak that rears its head: get the eff outta the house!! I tell myself. Or I snap at Aaron: HELP, dammit!
I know I’m preaching to the choir here. You moms know the drill. At least with #2 I can say it’s easier. I was more prepared for these feelings and I am feeling them a lot sooner (it took a full year to recognize myself under my new “mom” identity with JR). And I think I’m getting out from under the guilt quicker. I can see it for what it is now (not helpful) and embrace a bit of selfishness now and then. (Though, that’s definitely not my default!)
I vividly remember panicking in a session with my therapist at some point after JR came home and I returned to work. Everything felt wrong, like I’d walked into someone else’s closet (or life) and nothing fit. The job was way too stressful; the marriage was hanging on by a thread; my body was unrecognizable; and our house? Way too small. Everything was wrong.
She told me this was normal. My life before becoming a mom was like a pie, with pretty slices carved out for all my favorite things: blogging, working out, pursing a career and connecting with my mate. Then, becoming a mother covers the whole pie. It spills over, trumps everything else, and it takes time to begin carving out time for other things again.
This is where I am today: looking for slivers…
Thankfully work has been a lot easier this time around because I work from home a few days a week and the work itself is far less draining. But guess what? I’m still working! And I’m still juggling a million ideas in my mind I want to do: remember this blog? I still own that. And now there’s this new space. Not to mention managing a very medically complex miracle boy, JR, who which is really a full-time job in itself!
So what am I saying here? I’m bobbing in the water, you guys. I’m slowly coming up for air and getting those much-needed breaths of freedom and self-care, but you better believe I’m still getting hit with some big waves now and then.
Are you spitting up salt water, too?
Gasping for air under new motherhood, or newly juggling two?
Let’s not fret. Let’s know ‘this too shall pass,’ and dive in and embrace the chaos. And celebrate the small victories! The wonderfully familiar taste of that pie, made sweeter because of the new!
I’m counting this photo a victory, given I’m dressed with my hair and makeup done! I may have pulled it off in 15 minutes, but hey, I got it done!
Thank you for these wonderful photos, Lauren of Elle Three Photography. Go check her out!