Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Back at work and figuring it all out


I went back to work on May 7th. The past four weeks have felt like an out of body experience. I don’t feel like myself for many reasons. For starters, my life revolves around my kid’s schedule. For a tiny person, there is a lot that is required. There is a schedule for pumping, a schedule for feeding, a schedule for sleeping, and a schedule for napping. Somewhere between all that I need to insert working, meetings, eating, getting dressed, errands and sleeping. Needless to say, it has been messy.

I am a fairly structured person but this has been challenging. Despite the required schedules, no two days are the same. I have left the house in mismatched shoes, with half my makeup on, without work documents, without pump parts and have basically had to make a u-turn for home many times in these first few weeks. When I used to see women put makeup on while driving, I just figured they were running late. Now I know they are probably mothers who took care of everyone else and ran out of time for themselves.

Speaking of, this has consequences. I was making it all work but becoming really angry and resentful towards my husband along the way. It’s tough to communicate this when there really isn’t a clean cut solution for the problem. And so I learned to be kinder to myself and ask for a lot of help. Asghar and I are trying to figure out the new balance every day.

I have also been running on discombobulated sleep cycles. Sometimes there are sets of three full hours, sometimes two and sometimes four. But hardly a full six or seven. After a week of very little sleep, I was a hot mess exhibiting symptoms like shaking, forgetfulness, exhaustion and headaches. I literally had to sleep in one morning to feel human again. I know this will pass but it is still painful. And more reason why maternity leave should be at least four or five months.

Then there is the physical aspect. I might have lost all the baby weight but I certainly don't look the same. I basically need to rebuild my core muscles again. Which means this will happen sometime in 2019!  In all seriousness, I still get random pangs by the incision and my waist is not what it used to be. Getting dressed in the morning is driven by comfort and what is most convenient for pumping which means most of my closet is useless right now.

I am also discovering the world of daycare. The first day did not go as I thought it would. But I did bring all the items on the checklist! Only to find out the list was recently changed by DCF and no one bothered to tell the parents?! Why isn’t anything clearly written? I want to volunteer to fix the orientation documents just so another mom doesn’t feel like a failure because of unclear directions. And then there is this etiquette dance. You want to be nice since they are taking care of your child but you also don’t want to feel pressured to do everything. Do I have to donate to a family I have never met? Do I need to stop and make small talk with everyone every day? I always leave with a guilty feeling; I have no idea why!

I am lucky that I make my own hours and can work from anywhere at any time. This flexibility has been immensely helpful in this time of chaos. But when 5:30pm rolls around, you will find me babbling and playing with my little guy and that will always be the best part of my day.