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Posts from the ‘Thinking Out Loud’ Category

Diary of a Working Mom

The up side.

I have to say, since going back to work, I feel so much more like myself.  But you know, it’s a little hard to talk about.  It’s hard to describe how happy I am now that I have a “job” because it seems to imply I wasn’t happy before.  The truth is, I was really happy before, too.  Bare with me a moment and let me get this off my chest to explain.  I was a stay at home mom for 4 1/2 years – longer than I’d ever been in any one job, truth be told.  It was absolutely the right decision for our family at the time and I would do it again in a heartbeat.  But life changes, luck was on my side and  I landed an incredible opportunity earlier than I anticipated.  What’s most interesting to me is that I’m pretty convinced it was my pretty awesome experience as a stay at home mom that has made this transition back to work feel so good.  See, before having my own children I knew I was “good with kids,” but could count the number of times on one hand that I’d held an infant.  Embarrassingly, I’d never even changed a diaper before changing my first born’s!  Pre-kids, my forte was with school-age kids and I didn’t know a damn thing about babies.  Way back when, as a new stay at home mom with my first child I had a lot to learn.  A lot!  Talk about on the job training.  My “good with kids” skill set wasn’t worth shit in the beginning.  So I rolled up my sleeves and got to work.  Staying at home for 4 1/2 years was what I like to think of as Mommy College.  I learned how to be a mom.

The value of Mommy College pays off regularly now that life is busier, time is more precious and there are two mini-me’s running around.  I feel really good about my mommy-self.  I have routines, standards, patience.  I’m efficient and think a step ahead out of habit now.  I have community.  I say what I mean and mean what I say.  I can make lemonade out of lemons.  I always call ahead before going anywhere with kids in tow :)  I can whip up a meal in record time.   I understand the importance of being present.  In fact, it’s possibly the most valuable lesson learned.  Having children means I’ve committed myself to planing ahead for many years to come.  I’m their big picture thinker.  However, in Mommy College it was often the minute details of the day to day grind that mattered most to my children.  As a closet Type A personality, living in the moment can take real effort, but spending 15 hours with a young child day after day after day causes one to fully adjust!  Now as a working mom, I reflect on the value of being present regularly because our time together is different now.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that embracing my mom-self in Mommy College definitely allowed me to more comfortably explore my work-self over the past year without a lot of guilt, if that makes sense.  It’s also helped me keep my priorities in check, which is beaucoup important.  I still have so much to learn about being a good parent…and have been tested in some very raw ways lately!  But they say life is about balance, and in my experience, it’s absolutely the key to everything.  This happy working mom didn’t just happen by accident.

Diary of a Working Mom

I live in a new reality.

About a year ago, with very eager anticipation, I started contemplating this “going back to work” thing.  I eventually took the leap and thoroughly enjoyed the Working Mom honeymoon for a good long time.  Several months, in fact.  But as these things go, the newness and excitement of this change in our lives wore off and the real work began.  My plate was overflowing with responsibilities.  Everything was off balance because time was no longer in surplus.  Every minute of the day was dedicated to one of only three things: my children, my job or sleep.  My dad started answering the phone with, “Um, I’m sorry who’s this calling?  Kim?  Kim who?”  Ha ha ha, real funny, Dad.  The water was rising and I was nearly drowning.

But here I am a little further down the road.

I have an awesome job that I love, and that I appreciate.  I wear so many hats at work that challenge me, fulfill me and push me.  I am the Jill of All Trades, but happily so.  The paycheck is nice (and necessary).  The opportunity to do good work is also nice…and necessary as it turns out.  I admit, it’s taken some time for me to fit into my Working Mom shoes.  Going from a stay at home momma to a full-time working momma is like moving to another country.  Put simply, it’s a whole other way of living.  What I can say now though, is that it suits me well.  The work I do has always been an important part of my identity and I feel a lot more like myself doing something I love.

I have two amazing children that I adore.  My every move revolves around them day after day after day.  A friend once told me that my children will ignite a sense of joy I’d never felt before.  She was absolutely right.  It has been such a rollercoaster ride trying to find the right balance for them though.  The Summer was rough, I’m not gonna lie.  Some days I just put one foot in front of the other; other days I feel like maybe I’m doing an alright job.  Working Mom or Not, parenting is by far the toughest job I’ve ever had and I’ve accepted that it’s a constant work in progress with many peaks and valleys.

I have a better relationship with my husband.  This new, crazy life has caused…um, forced us…to up our game.  Marriage with kids is no cake walk.  Marriage with kids and two full time jobs is insanity.  With so many moving parts, there simply is no choice but to communicate openly and frequently.  We both have had to give more and do more. Relationships need a few basic elements to keep them alive – time, effort, understanding and patience.  It sure ain’t easy sometimes, but at least we still agree it’s worth it.

I have a bunch more work to do to regain true balance in my life.  For example, reconnecting with the outside world is top on my list.  The bulk of my time is really still divvied up into a small handful of things which leaves everything else sitting on the back burner.  There just aren’t enough hours in a week.  When my dad starts answering the phone like I’m not a long lost relative, that will be a sign of some progress!  Until then, I’m just glad to be on the other side of this wild transition with fewer roadblocks and a clearer game plan for how to do this Working Girl gig.