Friday, January 04, 2008

A better plan of attack

So yesterday was quite overwhelming. It was my first "full day" back at work since November 19th. Only now I've got Myles in tow and I am quite nervous about it all.

I had really just gotten the working-mom kindergarten routine down with Sam (and was feeling somewhat confident about it) when Myles arrived. Then I had six weeks to gain confidence in just being a mom to two living children and dusting off those baby skills that once were second nature but have been stored away like my skinny jeans...for that dream of "some day."

Now, as I try to become superwoman and do it all, there's not so much confidence.

By nature, I'm a planner. I like to imagine contingencies...plan for possibilities. But with this, I'm starting from square one in a life I hadn't really planned. I never in a million years thought I'd be drafting pleadings with a baby strapped to my chest in a sling. I never imagined I would have to consider whether the baby would scream if I answered my ringing telephone. I didn't plan on scheduling my time around leaking boobs and dirty diapers. There is no easy or pretty way to deal with it and it a word...nerve-wracking.

I have clearly been spoiled by the convenience of daycare. I'll admit that. It's so much easier to pack a baby and his diaper bag up and ship him off to let a trusted friend take care of all the daily little details. It's going to take a lot of planning to do this.

I'm also not afraid to admit that I'm more than a little afraid I won't be able to do this. Work...and take care of a baby? Is it possible that I can do both and one or the other won't seriously suffer from neglect? How am I going to measure success anyway? And as I generally worry about what others will think of me, I can't help but think of the impact this will have on peoples' opinions of me. Will they admire what I am doing and the reasons I am doing it? Or will they deduct points from the serious professional column on their mental scorecard?

So clearly, time is going to be an issue. I'm going to have to get out of bed for the day quite a bit earlier than I did yesterday. Planning for the worst possible nighttime routine, and therefore avoiding complete exhaustion, I'm going to have to go to bed much earlier than 11pm. I'm going to have to pack homework, lunches, and diaper bags up the night before. I'm going to have to plan dinners that are easy to make. And I'm going to have to keep better track of everything in my day planner. Sam wants to play baseball in the spring. I've got to get my act together before then or I will simply lose my mind.

I just have to make this work until the summer months when I can send both boys off to daycare a few days a week. Then when school starts next year we'll have a whole other schedule to figure out.

I don't know how it is that more women throughout history have not gone mad with the stress of it all. But I'm gonna plan...and hope like crazy that at least one or two things go according to plan.


Mandy said...

I've been able to work from home since before my daughter was born. No lie, it's the most difficult thing I've ever tried to do. Inevitably I'm dealing with important phone calls and a screaming child. Thankfully it's usually my bosses or direct coworkers and they're very understandable. But I worry that it does take away some of my credibility too.

For me, lie is a series of schedules. I try to schedule housework so that I do a little bit everyday instead of cramming it all into one afternoon on the weekend. I make weekly plans for meals, making enough that I have leftovers for lunch. One of my goals with the New Year is to try to get back on track as I have waned slightly and eased up on my scheduling.

I think the most important thing is to just roll with the punches. Plan out a week at a time (meals, chores, activities) but don't get on yourself if you get off schedule one day. So what if you do laundry on Wednesday instead of Tuesday and you eat Thursday's dinner on Friday. But it does help. Especially if you're a planner.

Cristin said...

For the record, I am going mad with stress. You're not alone. Having more than one child is really really stressful. And I don't have to bring my baby to work. Man, thats gotta be tough.

Anyway, you're not alone. I am a stressed out, anxiety filled mama for sure.

I think I've heard that it gets better ;-)

Jill said...

As sweet as your boss is to accommodate Myles' needs at his young age, I feel like the reality of what you actually have to do in your role as a mother was vastly underestimated by him.

He thinks he has made life much easier for you and so expects you to slot back in perhaps at the same capacity you were previously working?

Doing the working mother thing where you do two fulltime jobs end to end is one thing. Doing them simulateously is a massive task.

My intention is not to be discouraging, only to point out the sheer magnitude of what you are doing. It is amazing that you are together enough to be considering all that you have to consider - and then you are following through and DOING it!

From my own experience though, it's too easy to fall into the trap of believing what men of a certain generation think of mothering - that it isn't time consuming or in any way challenging. And they can expect a lot because they don't know any better. And then *you* expect too much too. Please hold on tightly to the reality of your life - it's hard work, long hours and the emotional involvelment is draining.

Take care asnd sleep well :)

Aurelia said...

Ditto Jill, she said lots of what I wanted too.

Is there any other solution you & your boss can come up with? Like having another staffperson or an au pair help out with him when you are on a critical phone call or in a meeting?

You need a little daytime relief so that you can get a meal and not feel so run off your feet. Take it slow. Maybe you need to talk with him about how he sees your work and this arrangement to reassure yourself.

kate said...

You can do it. Trial & error will tell you if this really is the right way for you, or if daycare would be better. Remember there is always a period of transition when trying anything new like this. There is a period of transition, and it is HARD. In a week or two, you will figure it out. Promise.

And yes, don't stay up until 11 pm! LOL. When school is in session, i get up at 5-5:30 and collapse by 9 pm or so. I am NOT a morning person & never imagined getting up that early but hey, you gotta do what works!

Finally, what Mandy said -- roll with the punches! I was just telling my mom last night that any plan for the day i made was inevitably fucked up somehow. But that was okay...

Becky said...

It's hard to plan it all because, just like whack-a-mole something ELSE comes up. Doesn't make it impossible, just hard.

I have the ultimate faith that you will not only kick ass, but you will take names, too.

neko said...

I'm not sure women through history have had this much on them. They had a large extended family to rely on and many didn't juggle jobs, kids, home and we blog... hell that takes time.

I'm just saying I think no wonder we feel stressed. It seems impossible to be supermom, just being alive each day and making all these pieces fit together is enough. We don't need the super pressure.

May you find a way in the chaos to have it all on your terms chica.

niobe said...

I'm sure you *can* make this work, but I think that you'll have to expect that it is going to be stressful and exhausting. And at least you'll be able to readjust things come summer.

Candy said...

I remember being in exactly the same place as you when my kids were little. Eventually, though, they grow in 17 and 15...and need you in different ways.

I would say, though, that you're fortunate to have the option of taking him to work with you. I don't know many places that would even offer that option.