Still, I’m fortunate enough to be mama to an almost 10-month old baby boy (Reid) and a 7-year old amusing pug-dog (Peety).
I’m a working mom - doing public relations for a school district by day and co-running a photography business with my husband on the side. You can find my blog here . I just post about daily life… it’s kind of a virtual scrapbook for us. I post a weekly random update which has now kind of turned into a dumping ground for photos of Reid! =) I documented my pregnancy with “Monday Morning Pop Tart” updates, and now have a couple series’ - “Being Mama”, where I talk about mom-type things and my limited experience with them; and “About Me” where I work through a list of things I want Reid to know about me. I’m so happy to be here. I’ve quietly followed Melissa’s blog for a few years now and I’ve enjoyed seeing how she has made working outside the home work for her family. I signed on to write this post before I really thought it through. The truth is - I have SO much to learn about being a mom who works outside the home. I hardly feel adequate enough to write much more than “HELP ME!!” on this topic. Maybe if nothing else I can provide a sense of “you’re not alone” to someone else struggling to find balance. =)
Then:I’ll start out with the words I blogged the day I went back to work after maternity leave. “Pregnancy hurt. Labor hurt. C-section recovery hurt. Going back to work hurts worse.” Oh my, it was hard. I knew it would be. I just underestimated how hard it would be. It hurt big time, and there at first it was all I could do to just keep going each day. That in itself was a victory but it sure didn’t feel like it. I felt like all I did was work, pump milk, and prepare for the next day of working and pumping. Repeat.
Now:Since then, I’ve given the pump the boot and have become a little more relaxed in our daily routine. I really try to keep myself in the moment and enjoy Reid as much as possible in the little time we get together each day. It’s still a struggle and sometimes (probably more often than not) I fail, but I’m working on it. =) Our typical daily routine/schedule: Since I knew I’d be returning to work, we started Reid in a routine fairly early. We weren’t strict and it wasn’t scheduled per se, but we did kind of help him find the routine that worked for him then tweaked it as we needed to. Here’s a look at a normal day NOW. 5:00 a.m. - I wake up, shower, eat something quick for breakfast, do makeup, hair, etc... This is also when I might unload the dishwasher, prep some items for supper, get my lunch ready and other quick, fairly quiet tasks. 6:30 a.m. - I usually wake Reid up, change his diaper and feed him his bottle (he really feeds himself at this point but I still like to hold him so I can get some snuggle time in.) Once he’s fed, I’ll usually let him play for a few minutes while I finish getting dressed and get stuff ready to walk out the door. Then, I get him dressed and off we go! 7:00 a.m. - We’re usually loading in the car by shortly after 7. Sometimes, if I realize we’ve left a little early, I’ll swing through Sonic for a drink. =) I drop Reid off at daycare at around 7:15 and am clocking in by 7:30. I usually spend my lunch hour running errands or doing quick chores at home. Sometimes I fold and/or put laundry away, load the dishwasher, do some basic surface cleaning, or vacuum. I’m fortunate to live close to work so this can be a pretty productive time in my day.
4:30 p.m. - I get off work and pick Reid up from daycare. When we get home, I go ahead and re-stock his daycare bag so I know it’s ready to go the next day.
5:00 p.m. - I usually feed Reid around 5 or so. He has just started eating more little table foods, so a lot of times I’ll set something on his high chair so he can munch while I start supper. Then, once dinner’s underway, I’ll feed him some baby food. Or - if supper prep is more intensive, Dac will feed him while I work on that. It just depends. Then, of course, we eat! =) 6:00 p.m. - I’ve really started making it a priority to get on the floor with Reid. He is just SO busy and it’s a blast to watch him explore and interact with him. If it’s Reid’s bath night (usually every other night) we may not get long, but those few minutes really make the day seem a bit more right. We try to go for walks some evenings too. On nights when I have a meeting or something, Dac and Reid get boy time - which is important too.
7-7:15 p.m. - By 7:15, we’re usually done with his bath and I’ll get my second cuddle session in while I feed him his last bottle. Reid is typically in bed asleep by about 8. When I put him in his crib, I set out his clothes for the next morning. 8:00 p.m. - By this time, I’m usually worn out! Whew! =) BUT - I’ll spend the next half hour or so finishing up housework, or, on a good day, Dac and I will have a chance to sit and chat. Then, most nights I’ll watch a tv show while Dac does some work or edits photos. This is my ME time and I use it to just wind down before bed. Dac stays up later than me most nights but I have to go to bed by around 9:30 or 10 in order to not be a grouch. =) Our weekends are spent doing laundry, mowing the yard, grocery shopping, shooting photo sessions, editing photos, hanging out, church, etc… They always seem to go too fast. Time with the Big GuyI have always struggled with quiet time. I’m someone that goes, goes, goes until I crash in front of the TV at night. When Reid was a newborn, I would hold him and pray. Strong, from the heart prayers. I prayed for guidance, for his safety, I thanked him for such a wonderful gift. Sometimes I just cried out in desperation. If Reid was extra fussy when I’d pray, he would almost immediately calm down. Perhaps he sensed my sudden calmness as God gave me peace. I’m not sure. Our church got a new pastor this summer and she started a Bible basics study. We’re working through the Old Testament in chronological order. Now, Dac and I have attended church our whole lives but we’re still learning a lot. This study has helped get me back in the Word and it’s great. Working OutUntil just a couple weeks ago - I flat wasn’t doing it. Now, I’ve started going to a morning Zumba class 2-3 times per week and try to walk a couple times on top of that. On the mornings I do Zumba, I get up at 4:40, Zumba from 5:15-6, then rush rush rush like a mad-woman to get us ready and out the door on time. It’s doable though. =) When we walk, we usually go as a family after supper. It’s a good time for Dac and I to visit uninterrupted and I’m really starting to treasure it. Friend/Family DatesGenerally speaking, we see a group of family-friends every other week. We take turn cooking dinner and basically just sit and chat and hold babies. I have other close friends that I make little mini dates with. Sometimes it’s just a coke or ice cream, sometimes it’s a walk or lunch on a Saturday, sometimes it’s birthday pedicures and a day of shopping. We each have a good group of out-of-town friends (Dac’s friends from high school that are scattered and my college roomies/friends in Oklahoma). We really value these friends and try to get together AT LEAST a couple times a year and we’ve started skype-type sessions with some of them too. As for our immediate families, they both live close and we usually see them every other week or so. We’ll go out to eat on a Friday night, or they’ll stop by to play with Reid, etc... Our family and friends have both been huge assets in the babysitting realm when we have weddings or photo sessions on weekends. We are fortunate to be surrounded by so many great people. Dac+Me Dates Dac and I used to be pretty dang good at having a weekly date night. I knew at the time it would be even more important for us to have that once we had kids. Now that we’re here... it’s not seeming quite as easy to pull off. The truth is, we already use a babysitter more than we’d like with daycare, photo sessions, etc... Plus, we enjoy spending time with Reid and as a family. Our marriage has certainly felt the impact of an “in passing” relationship and it needs to become a top priority again. Recently, we’ve made more of an effort and I notice the difference. We might stay up and watch a movie after Reid goes to bed, take a lunch+Target trip together sans Reid, or, like earlier this month, we took a mini trip (my first night away from Reid) to celebrate our anniversary. It always feels good to be ‘us’ again but we just don’t make it enough of a priority all the time.
SO, clearly I don’t have it all figured out. It’s gotten easier in a lot of ways - sure - but I still feel like I’m spinning my wheels trying to fit in all the ‘work’ of life while trying to just be relaxed and enjoy our family. It’s tough!
I know this phase of life will all too quickly pass and Reid is just... wow... growing up way too fast. Each day gets a little more manageable than the day before. We’re making it and that’s what matters. =) Life is good. A recent blog post I wrote on working mom guilt. We are currently re-vamping our photography business website/blog - but you can still visit www.dacandalisha.com/blog or find us on facebook under On The Wall Photography! I’m also on instagram as alishacall and pinterest as acall.