"Um, sort of. Not exactly. I work part-time."
"Oh, how great! If I had it to do all over again, I'd do it that way."
I am sort of a working mom, sort of a stay-at-home mom. I don't fit into either group entirely, but I get the best (and worst) of both worlds.I wanted to write about my experience in returning to work, but had to wait since I hadn't told you about my change of plans. It's such a different experience to leave one job and start another during maternity leave than to simply return to your job. It's not a matter of getting back into the swing of things or experiencing a surreal feeling of being unfamiliar with a familiar place, it's more a matter of no one having any idea that you recently had a baby and have been snuggling with it at home for 10 weeks. It's getting used to an a new job while worrying about pumping in my car during breaks and learning how to do entirely things like steam milk and work a drive thru while being away from my baby for the first time. (Tangentially: Ugh. Why is 'drive thru' spelled that way? Pet peeve.)
My first day at Starbucks was almost 4 weeks ago, so I've had some time to adjust to my new job and new schedule.
- I usually work 3 mornings a week, 20 hours a week. I'm done by noon most days. AWESOME.
- I get adult interaction and am seen as something other than Gabe's mom.
- Having somewhere to be forces me to look presentable. (Sad, but true. I also love not having to wear office clothes. Truly, a win-win.)
- FREE STARBUCKS. Period.
- I earn some money. Not a TON, but it's still nice (and completely necessary in our case) to contribute.
- Coming home at the end of the day. Gabe is always adorable, but when I come home after working six hours? It's like I've never seen him so cute and sweet and just can't get enough of him. I think a few hours apart renews my sense of appreciation and I'm absolutely smitten for him.
- I still have LOTS of time with Gabe and get to see him learn and grow and develop before my very eyes.
- Mike gets time alone with Gabe, which gives Mike so much confidence as a father and Gabe is absolutely in love with him.
- I am not tempted to spend lots of money on things I don't really need at places like Target, because I always remind myself that this awesome set-up is dependent on our ability to live simply.
- I can nurse normally most days of the week, and don't have to pump at work (just before) unless I'm there for more than six hours. Great for convenience and bonding with le bebe. (And since nursing is super important to me, this was actually a huge factor in deciding not to work full-time. I know tons of women are able to do it, but those women are not as lazy as me. Truth.)
- Text messages during work with photos like:
- Pumping is more work than nursing, and I have to pump at least once on the days I work. For the first few weeks, I squeezed pumping into a 10-minute break (in my car in the parking lot with a nursing cover on. FUN TIMES.), but lately, I just pump before work (or, if I procrastinate, on the way to work, which I do no recommend) and hope it doesn't affect my supply. Still, it's not fun.
- The paychecks. Oh, the paychecks.
- Getting out of bed before Gabe wakes up. Mornings are my favorite time of day with him. He's just so sweet and cuddly and happy.
- I still have to go out in the cold and wear clothes other than yoga pants and slippers.
- Waking up early...it's more the going to bed early that gets me.
- Worrying that I'll miss any of Gabe's firsts...I am only gone 20 hours a week, but I'd feel awful if my mom was the first to see him roll over or crawl or feel his first tooth.
So far, I am absolutely thrilled with our decision. I don't feel as stressed about work as I did in these posts, and I'm pretty sure that's because the 40+ hour work week doesn't lead to happy things. But that's beside the point.
I'm still quite broke but completely happy.
And that's sort of freeing.
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