Airing Dirty Laundry

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Going back November 15, 2009

Filed under: daily grind,secrets — airingdirtylaundry @ 12:03 am

I go back to work on Tuesday.

“Conflicted” doesn’t even begin to describe how I feel.

I have to go back.  I don’t have a choice.  The little things like health insurance, retirement plans, and, well, a paycheck, make it necessary for me to go. 

But, if I had a choice, if money and benefits were not an issue, would I want to stay home?

Actually, no.  At least not full time.

I feel guilty even typing that. 

Don’t get me wrong.  I love being here with Maggie. I’ve fully enjoyed the time I was able to be off.  I was thankful that by having a C-section, my doctor wouldn’t release me to return to work for 8 weeks, and then I had 2 weeks of vacation time that I was able to use so that I could have a full 10 weeks with my baby.  And I know that when we drop her off at day care, I’ll cry and spend a good portion of the day missing her.  I’m tearing up now just thinking about it.

But I need more of a challenge, I guess you could say.  Not that raising a child isn’t challenging enough, but I sometimes feel the need for “shop talk” that doesn’t revolve around children.  I need more adult interaction, a reason to wear something nicer than jeans, someplace to go where I can take a purse instead of a diaper bag.

And I feel so selfish wanting that.

I know that by the end of next week (if not sooner), I’ll be longing for the days to be like they’ve been for the past two months.  The novelty of returning to work will wear off quickly.  I’m only the third woman at my company to have a child since it was founded over 15 years ago and will be the first one to come back; the other two quit after their children were born.  Most of the people I work with are older than me, and most are men.  With the exception of a few, no one’s really going to want to hear me blather on about Maggie.  There will soon be a such a sharp division between “work” and “home”, and I know that will irritate me to a degree.

I’m a fairly organized person (just don’t look in my basement or garage, because either one would totally blow your mind).  But my organization skills are going to be put to the test once I go back to work.  Being off work, I’ve been able to keep the house somewhat clean.  I’m almost always caught up on laundry (but I love doing laundry, so don’t let that depress you if you have mounds of it to do).  I’ve been able to spend time blogging. I started my Christmas shopping, something I usually don’t do until mid-December.  I even cooked a real dinner every once in awhile (and I freaking HATE to cook).

But once I go back, that will all change.  And quickly.  Just the thought of getting up in the morning, getting Maggie up/dressed/fed, making bottles to go with her to day care, getting showered and dressed, packing my lunch, and getting out the door by 7:15 at the absolute latest makes me want to curl up in a ball.  Figuring out how to get the house clean, the laundry done, errands and grocery shopping accomplished, and meals made is going to be a juggling act.  I’ll have about 2 precious hours each day to spend with Maggie during the week, and I’m already feeling a little bitter about that.  There won’t be enough hours in the day.

I’m whining, I know.  So many people do this.  People with more job responsibilites and longer hours.  People who travel for their job and don’t even have the chance to spend 2 hours a day with their children.  People with more children.  People with children that don’t sleep as much or as soundly as mine does at night.  People who don’t have a spouse that is willing to help.  People that don’t have a spouse at all.

I know it will all work out.  That we’ll get into a routine.  That some things will be sacrificed (such as cleaning the bathrooms, because I hate cleaning bathrooms).  We’ll find our balance.  We’ll find our groove.  We’ll hit the lottery.  OK, maybe I’m stretching it on that last one.

But right now, I’m overwhelmed.  I want to work.  I want to stay home.  I don’t know what the hell I want.

So, I guess the ideal situation would be for me to work part-time, get paid what I do now (or more . . .) for working full-time, retain my health benefits and retirement plan and stock options, and have the flexibility to work when I want.  Then I could still have a lot of the day to spend with Maggie and wouldn’t have to put her in (or pay for) day care. Is that too much to ask, really?

OK, back to reality!


8 Responses to “Going back”

  1. Amy-jo Says:

    It will work out. You will make it work. And all the “important” things will get done.

  2. Cindy Says:

    Ah, I feel for you…I really do! I agree with Amy, it will all work out. It will be hard at first but you will figure it out and excel at the mommy and work role! Keep smiling and know that Maggie will be fine…and you will be fine! I feel like I am writing you ‘shallow’ words for this time in your life. I can remember how hard it was for me, and I hope that you have found a day care that you really love. It will be good that Maggie will have interaction with other kids. I think that really makes a difference. Keep your chin up!

  3. You will do great and so will Maggie. Not sure if you recall that I blogged a few times about not knowing who I am some days. Since I became a SAHM when the little guy was born things changed. I love being with the boys, but the winters are long with little adult conversations. I miss teaching at school and seeing my colleagues. I wish there was a part time teaching gig, but no such thing exists. If you need to chat know that I am here.

  4. Holli Lund Says:

    I get what you are saying here…. I really do. Not from a kid perspective but from my “forced retirement due to health” perspective. I miss the challenges and the work clothes and all that too. Good luck Shawna and hang in there…… if anyone can make it work YOU can. 🙂

  5. Therese Says:

    I will be thinking and praying for you this week as youadjust to a new normal. We mommies all have to make difficult decisions, and I think we all need to just support each other throught these moments. I am here if you want to talk! {{{HUGS}}}

  6. Lori Says:

    I think you would feel some guilt and maybe regrets with whichever choice you made. At least you are being honest and know what you want. For me, I knew I wanted to be home. Although it did help that I was not working full time and all of the benefits came from my husband. My drive comes from being with kids and staying home with my son took care of that. I stayed home until he started kindergarten and then started working as a substitute teacher again. For one of my sisters she needs to work. She loves her daughters dearly, but has such a drive to work and accomplish things on that level. I hope that you don’t feel judged in your decision, because it really is YOUR decision to make and you will make it work for you. I will be thinking of you!

  7. Jamie Says:

    I wish I could provide some intelligent insight on this topic, but I can’t. I’ve always been a stay at home mom (12 years now). I quit my job when I was prego with Bailey because I worked for a chemical company and the doc told me that breathing in the chemicals wasn’t good for the baby or me. I went back to work when Halen was in kindergarten.

    I do understand the need for “me” though. I gave up having a degree and a career for my kids and have nothing to fall back on when they get older and don’t need constant supervision – or should something happen to my hub. I sometimes crave having a life outside of being a mom.

    I sometimes wonder how working moms can make it all work. When you get it all figured out (and you will) let me know how!

    • Sydney Says:

      I feel for you Shawna. I really do. I agonized about having to go back to work. I still agonize about being a working mom. Would Alex behave better in school if I stayed home? Would he eat all of his lunch at school if he knew I was going to pick him up and drop him off everyday?
      Since I can’t afford not to work (and yes, I have done the math) I have decided to embrace the life I have… the life of a working mom. I do the best I can. There are laundry baskets with various stages of laundry in practically every room in the house. Dinner is often slapped together after I get home from work at 6 PM. I pray the dust bunnies don’t rise up and claim ownership of my house.

      But Friday night is pizza and movie night. And there’s always time for hugs and snuggling… morning and evening. I always try to be around to tuck Alex into bed.

      I know the challenges will double once I have this next baby come December. But all you can do is have a brief pity party and move forward. You’ll find a way to make it work. And you will do your best.

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