Greetings friends. It’s been a minute and there’s a good reason for that! I started my job!!!! It has been truly a blessing to get back into a working schedule, earning my own money that allows me to contribute to our household. We have been able to schedule two small vacations for this year which we haven’t been able to do in quite a while. And although being at home had its conveniences such as not having to worry about after school arrangements for the kids, scheduling appointments, taking care of errands, etc, it’s nice to have the opportunity to use my education and my skills for something bigger than myself. Going back to work has had it’s challenges, however and here’s what I’ve learned so far.
- When it rains, it pours. This is not to say that bad things have happened since going back to work. But suddenly there have been a plethora of responsibilities that have suddenly been piled onto our family… me in particular. Both cars had to be re registered which because we’ve moved, has been a pain in the arse. My truck in particular was time consuming and for about a week, we were a one car family since the truck was totes illegal (registration had expired on us.) With me working, that posed an interesting situation as to who was getting the car, and who was relying on public transportation. Needless to say, that experience made us grateful to be able to be a two-car family. The truck also has some issues, some major, some minor that need to be dealt with or replaced, depending on your point of view and that has been time consuming. Finding new therapists for the kids, child care arrangements for the summer etc. It seems that with this life change and with all the transition stuff that comes with it, there have been extra complications that have further tested our ability to adapt. And I’m happy to report that we have done pretty well.
- It’s all about balance. This is pretty much how I survive day to day. Knowing how to balance what you need to do with what you want to do is key to being a successful working mom. Understanding that there are going to be things that I miss and being okay with that is also important. But its equally, if not more so, vital to understand the things that cannot be missed. I have learned to rely on all my resources, Google Calendar, Siri, the old-fashioned written weekly planner to effectively plan my life and to prioritize the things that need to be done. This way, I can avoid that dreadful mom-brain that forgets to ensure dinner is taken care of by Sunday night so no one is starving by Monday evening. Organization is key!
- I don’t have to do it by myself. I was very honest with my husband about the things I would need with me starting work. My husband was never giddy about my being home, but excepted it as what would happen upon a move to a new duty station. After all, if we are being honest, it’s not my fault that I had to leave my job so he could move to his new one. Not playing the blame game or anything but if you are the reason why I have to stop working, you can’t be mad if it takes a while for me to find something new. But that’s besides the fact. I have had to learn that it’s okay to ask for help, to take some of the load off and ask someone else to carry it for a while. And this is key to my being able to work outside of our home. It’s challenging because I like to handle things myself; I guess it’s a control thing wherein if I just do it myself, I know it gets done. But then it causes me stress and this feeling of overwhelm that just is no good. So I am learning to delegate responsibility. To ask for others to step up, whether it’s the kids or my husband or my friends. I am learning to recognize when I cannot do something and ask for the help so that things can get done. I am learning that it’s okay if something isn’t done right away or even my way. And I am coming to terms with being able to let go.
- I’m doing important work, but it’s not my life. I will admit. In the brief time that I’ve started in my position, I thought to myself at least a thousand times that “I cannot do this” or “I hope I don’t let anyone down.” My job is important and my position will important. If my bosses didn’t think I could do this work, they wouldn’t have asked me to do it in the first place. My job is going to change lives, and that a heavy pill to swallow! It’s all I’ve ever wanted, in addition to the fact that my culture at my job is what I dreamed working in the city would be like. HOWEVER…. This job is not my life, nor do I intend on bringing my work home. I am a firm believer in self-care and that all elusive work-life balance. And I’m so lucky to have found an organization that believes and promotes that as well. But being that I have three children and an husband who’s job is pretty much at the root of our family, I have expressed both to my employer and to my family that my work will not come home with me, unless absolutely necessary. When I leave my office, that’s it. If it didn’t get done in the 8 hours that I was there, it can wait until tomorrow. My kids won’t be kids forever. We won’t be in DC forever. And I am determine to still be able to enjoy this experience as much as I can.
This is not my first go round at this working mom thing, but I am older and therefore wiser. Experience has been the best teacher in my case and these are lessons that I had to learn the hard way during my other working experiences. I am determined to make the most of my experiences both as a professional woman and as a mom to three young kids. I have learned that neither role defines who I am or of what I am capable. And I think that is how I going to do both and be damn good at that!