I remember my last boss telling me right before I had my son, Dallas, that I would need to be a working mom, that I would be bored without adult conversation and all the brain stimulation that a newborn just can’t give me. At the time, man, was he wrong.
I couldn’t wait to quit hauling my pregnant self to and from work every day. Every soon-to-be mom knows all about that last trimester. You can’t wait to pop the baby out but what you really don’t know, even though some may tell you, is that the fourth trimester is just as or even more difficult!
Dallas is 13 months old now and I recently got a part-time job on the weekends, which allows my husband to watch our son so that we luckily don’t need a sitter. The awesome part is that it is a temporary job, which keeps my noncommittal mind at ease. I can’t tell you how back and forth I have been on the issue of returning to work.
The biggest reason I made myself go for it was because I knew that if I was a stay-at-home mom until my second child was school-aged I would have even less confidence than I do now to get out in the world of customer service. (For my last job, I sat at a desk and talked to truckers on a headset!)
I have enjoyed so much about returning to the workforce. I like my drives alone to and from work. (It’s nice to let yourself believe you are free as a bird, even if it’s just temporary, which is good because you really start to miss your kid at work, especially when other little ones come in.) I like cashing a check with my name on it — Brittney Sweet — my new married name that is! And when Dallas was sick with his first major cold last week (of course the very first time I left him for any period of time is when he is sick), I’ll admit that it was a nice breather to step away from the cesspool at home for a few hours.
The most important part of going back to work for me was that my husband and I were able to see what each other’s roles were at home. One evening after work, as soon as I stepped through the door, Cody asked me if I had changed a diaper. “Not yet.” I replied. Quickly the conversation turned into a discussion about how he understands why I want his help when he gets off work. Whew! That’s a win right there. I could say the same thing: I now understand why he wants to relax on the couch, occasionally have a beer after work and maybe not move from said couch until bed.
The struggle is real for so many of us. When I got home from work tonight my baby was already asleep. I couldn’t help but cry. It made me sad that he was in bed asleep for the night knowing that I worked the next two days and wouldn’t see much of him. “I swear he’s mad at me for working,” I kept telling Cody when I would get home from work. His smile would quickly turn into a whine, and even when picked up he was inconsolable! In retrospect (finishing this article three weeks later), Dallas had a ruptured ear drum. Tough as nails, he barely let me know he was hurting. We took him in early enough that he didn’t have an ear infection, so we listened when the doctor said that with all the smoke in the valley the upper respiratory infection would take longer to heal. Little did we know the upper respiratory infection would turn in to an ear infection, etc. The real irony is that my husband got pneumonia on top of the sickness in our household.
I always joke that we are a family of crabs — all born in late June/end of July, which makes us the cancers of the zodiac. Not only do we love fiercely and bite on occasion, but we worry. Boy, do we worry. When we started taking temperatures on three different thermometers while getting different readings, off to the walk-in we went. Five doctors visits, multiples calls and four weeks later, we have survived our first family sickness. Most importantly, we have survived Mom having her first job post-baby.
I enjoy getting out of the house and I take pride in the work that I do when I’m gone, even if it’s minimum wage and it sure doesn’t pay as well as my last job. I now remember what it’s like to be on my feet all day. I know why Cody doesn’t want me to hand him Dallas the very moment the door swings halfway open. We truly have walked in each others shoes these past few weeks. I will ride it out and work my mom-belly off for the remaining weeks of this temporary job, and I most definitely won’t commit to another job in the future yet because I’m not sure I will want to, even though I have a feeling that I’ll get the itch soon enough. But I’ll tell you one thing: I’ll appreciate the slow cold winter days watching “Moana” and shoveling while my baby sleeps, and having seven days for laundry and household duties.
There really are pros and cons to staying home and working. I am blessed and thankful to be able to feel it out as I go. It’s true when they say that the more you make the more you spend, so I’m not sure financially the job has been worth it, but I can say we gained a whole lot of perspective and that, my friends, is priceless!