I was blessed to be a SAHM for 3-1/2 years. So many things were considered when I started thinking of re-joining the working world. In the end, the decision was made heavily based on my personal needs. I feel slightly selfish typing that out, but when an amazing opportunity is present at your door, how do you say no?
I knew the transition would be difficult. I had all the mom-guilt in the WORLD when it became a reality that I was heading back. Yes, this was exactly what I wanted but also, was it really? I started questing myself; was I being too selfish or would my kids adjust well? It seems silly to think about it now, months after the chaos of change occurred and we have settled into our new normal. At the time, though, the changes were happening at lightning speed and as much as I thought I was ready, emotionally I was barely hanging on.
The first month was rough. Between my husbands schedule, the babysitter we just hired left me hanging high and dry during the week I needed her the most, and adjusting to a new job left me spread so thing. I was exhausted. I really took that month to try and figure out my new normal and the work/life balance I was desperately trying to find.
Here are a few ways I feel more balanced.
Unplug at Home.
When I was a stay at home mom, I think I fell into a daily routine with my kids. I definitely had a large quantity of time with them and unfortunately it was not always spent the best. It was unlimited, for the most part, so anything they wanted to do I could schedule throughout the entire week. It would change based on moods and weather. But now my time with them is split, so I’m aiming for more quality over quantity. I like to “unplug” once home. I’ll turn off the volume on my phone and set it down on the kitchen counter so it’s not walking around the house with me. I am so, so guilty of mindless scrolling through social media sites.
I’m fortunate that the job I took allows me to have very defined boundaries. This means that when I am done at work, it’s not something that comes home with me. This allows me to switch my professional hat to my mom hat on the drive home. Having those boundaries is something I value in my workplace.
Saying “Yes” More
Now that my time during the day is a little more limited, I’m trying to say “yes” more to the things my kids want to do. I’m not talking about ice cream for dinner or staying up until midnight. But if they want to bake cookies after dinner? Why not; there’s no better time like the present. Do they want to spend a little extra time in the bath? Sure, it doesn’t hurt me at all. Do they want to play outside before dinner? Yes, let’s go ahead. I don’t know how many more nice evenings we will have before winter is here. I hate to admit it, but these are all things I would have said no to before. Why? I wish I had a good answer. I wasn’t living in the moment because I had so many moments.
Take Care of Myself.
This absolutely plays a part in how I balance work and mom life. During the first month, I was so consumed with trying to make this a seemless transition for my kids and husband that I forgot to take care of myself. I had pulled myself out of other things I was doing. I felt guilty with things went wrong and tried to fix EVERYTHING – even if it was outside completely out of my control. I was so unhappy that my life at home had turned upside down that I was feeling guilty for loving the joy my job was bringing me. I had to constantly remind myself driving into work every morning that loving my job didn’t mean that I didn’t love my kids or want to be around them. Honestly? There were times when being a SAHM were so, so hard and taking this job for ME was one of the best things I could do for myself as a person and as a mom.
I’m typing this blog post in early November, unsure of when it will get published. I just got a message from my son’s daycare that he’s just feeling a little off and extra snuggly. He doesn’t have a fever, so I don’t need to come get him, but they just wanted to let me know. I immediately felt my heart sink a little; I would love to go pick him up and snuggle up a ton on the couch at home. Some days my balance will be 60% work/40% home, or other days (like today) my balance will be 80% home/20% work. It’s not always going to be an equal 50/50 and it’s something I will always be working on.