March 11, 2019

Back to Work

Today marks my fourth week back at work since maternity leave. Although, instead of going "back" to work, I started a new job, one that is already proving to be infinitely less stressful and demanding than my previous one. Despite having a roughly 2.5 hour roundtrip commute each day, I'm feel like I have so much more balance in my life than my previous one. In similar vein with my last post, this post is all about the new role I'm navigating - the role of working mom.

I thought I would have a really hard time going back to work, especially with so much change, but so far, my experience has been really positive. 

It helps that I was home with Aurora for 18 weeks. I have long advocated and supported paid maternity (and paternity!) leave and I truly believe that 6 months should be the standard minimum. I didn't feel like I was leaving my newborn behind. I didn't feel like I had barely recovered from childbirth. I felt ready to go back to work. I miss my baby when I'm at work but since I've been back, my weekends feel like a wonderful eternity of playtime.

It helps that our childcare situation is pretty ideal. The Pilot is home with her 3 days every week and we have a couple of part-time nannies that come over the other days. My mom has also come down to stay with us for a week each month since I've been back. We do want to put her in daycare in the fall so that The Pilot can have his weekends back but this is a really ideal situation for right now.

It helps that I'm working with other new moms. A few of my new colleagues are new parents or will be soon and they've been in my shoes and have been really supportive helping me navigate not just my new role and workplace but my pumping breaks and communicating to my male colleagues why the new girl is away from her desk so often!

It helps that I have a long commute. Ok, this is probably the weirdest thing I'll say. I hate driving. I bought a brand new car in July before Aurora was born and dragged my feet for 3 months before The Pilot made me go to the dealership because I needed to have my own car when The Pilot's sits at the airport for 4 days at a time. When I worked from home, I really never stopped working. It was not unusual for me to work 7-7 or even later some nights. I had a lot of midnight deadlines with clients that really toed the line of how late they could push that. (I once submitted a $2M grant proposal at 11:59pm.) Having a long commute gives me time to think about my day and unwind. The commute is long but I don't sit in standstill traffic every day. I would trade it tomorrow for a shorter commute to spend more time at home with Aurora but I knew exactly what I was getting myself into when I took this job and I spent two months thinking about whether I could do that commute, so now that I'm in the thick of it, I'm going to look at the bright side. Plus, audiobooks are a godsend!

So there are a lot of things working in my favor right now. I've figured out my commute and pumping, now I just need to figure out how I can start working out again but four weeks in, and I'm feeling really good about navigating my new role as a working mom. The days The Pilot is away are a tricky to navigate and a little more tiresome than the days I have his help but honestly, I feel like I have my shit together way more than I did before I had a baby. My days have to be more structured and so they are, and that's made this navigation much easier. There is still a lot I have to figure out and I know there are going to be times when this feels impossible, but right now, I'm happy.

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