It should come as no shock that the whole working Mom gig hasn't exactly come easy to me. I work 40 hours for a non-profit job in a city an hour away. That is 50 hours a week, spent away from the love of my life. My feelings are all the more conflicting because I really do love my job. There is no other position in the world that I feel would be a better fit for me than what I'm doing now. Unfortunately, that doesn't make me miss my baby boy any less.
I'm in this job for the long haul, but I can't pretend that both my Hubby and me don't like to imagine what it would be like if I was able to be a SAHM. Any time I get the chance to stay home from work- whether it's for doctor's appointments, or lack of childcare, etc., I have so much fun playing "homemaker" for the day. I decorate the house, make freezer meals, read books with Charlie. It's glorious. The only way I've really figured out how to balance the 9-to-5 grind with trying to be a decent Mom to the world's greatest kid is to make rules for myself. Achieving work/life balance is much easier said than done, so here are my three rules for being a great (okay, good) working mom:
1. Never miss a wake up or bedtime nursing session. My schedule involves some travel, so this can sometimes be difficult to swing. But I've made a rule for myself that since it is the only time I see Charlie during the week. I will always be there when he wakes up, and when he goes to sleep (which probably explains why I never participate in any social gatherings after 7 pm. #sorrynotsorry)
2. Never miss a pumping session. This one has proven to be particularly tricky. I have three pump sessions scheduled on my Outlook calendar at work throughout the day. Which is all well and good until I get caught up in responding to emails, attending meetings, and dealing with time-sensitive issues that crop up. For the first several months of pumping at work, I was not very strict about adhering to my pumping schedule, but with the addition of a couple other nursing Mamas utilizing the lactation room, as well as a severe decrease in my supply, this is now a non-negotiable for me. I have been ten minutes late to important meetings on more than one occasion because of this. My work will still be there when I get back, but me being present for a pumping session means the difference between whether or not Charlie has enough milk to drink the next day. I know my priorities.
3. Never commit to a weekend activity that results in spending less time with Charlie. This doesn't mean that I never do fun things on the weekend. Family reunions, hiking on nearby trails and going pumpkin-picking are all things I've been able to do with Charlie along for the ride. Taking a weekend trip where I spend 9 hours not actually interacting with him in the car? That's something that I've had to pass on, even if it meant potentially not seeing friends and family for months at a time. I've had to make sacrifices, but quite honestly, it doesn't feel all that sacrificial when I already essentially spend 5 days of my week away from my Baby Pep.
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For my fellow working Moms, what rules have you made for yourself to make family a priority in your working life?