As a second time mom, I know the routine about working full time. But it doesn’t make it easier.
It’s been 10 weeks, the same amount of time I took with Leo, but tomorrow I’ll drop off both Leo and Warren James to daycare, and if I’m lucky, I’ll get to the highway before tearing up. But I’m a second time mom, and I know a thing or two. I’ll only make it to the yield sign at the end of the street and I’ve buffered in 10 minutes to the schedule.
So much of being a full time working mom revolves around time.
What time you need to leave, what time you absolutely need to leave, what time you’ll absolutely be caught in traffic and pick up late at daycare and owe them $10 additional dollars every 15 minutes, and what time your kids will be waiting for you in their driveway, shoes on and all, fighting back tears as you choke out a deaf apology.
It’s such a stark contrast to being home with the kids, finding myself wishing 10 am was 1 pm and 4pm was bedtime, or wasting time while shopping since they were
buckled in contained anyways. Now every minute matters on the guilt clock. Do other mamas working full time feel this way? I’d explore it, but there’s no time to linger, even in my thoughts. Tonight I only have room for the practical.
Tonight I’m packing the bags: diaper bag, work bag, breastpump bag. Forget a purse. There are no purses for the next year, I’m out of arms.
And within each bag:
diaper bag: diapers and outfits and bottles and bags of frozen breast milk. I have no idea how much he actually eats each feeding since I’m exclusively nursing. I have 9 oz pumped and ready in a bottle in the fridge and relocate 5 frozen bags from the freezer to the fridge to thaw overnight. By Thursday, I’ll be kicking myself for how much I should’ve been pumping extra while on leave and will debate whether I should set middle of the night alarms now to make up for it.
work bag: two phones, a laptop, an ipad, and chargers for all. I look in the small pockets and make a mental note to request more business cards in the morning.
breast pump bag: insurance covered a basic pump, but I know from last time that splurging on an upgrade is worth it. My research showed the purse style to work well for working mamas with the built in cooler and battery pack option. I look for the car charger but can’t find it and know I’ll need to make my first stop at buybuybaby tomorrow to pick up another.
Tomorrow I’ll start pumping in my car, since I’m a sales rep with no office, covering Michigan and Ohio. Canan is also a sales rep, covering Michigan, Ohio, and Indiana. My job is more flexible than his and his requires both wining and dining and early morning meetings, so its back and forth across the state for me each day, at least for now, until we can catch our breath, until we can come up with a plan that works for both. The voltage and current from the pump adapter in the car produces much less than an outlet in the wall, which means I’ll need to pump every hour instead of 2.5, but there’s air conditioning and no flies, which is more than I can say for rest stops. As a second time mom, I know that stopping at a Starbucks restroom won’t do, unless I want to hold up the bathroom for 20-30 minutes for everyone else and I know that most restrooms do not have an outlet in the stalls. I’ll take a photo of the ones that do so I can plan my work days around them. Hopefully the battery pack in the upgraded, expensive pump will help make up for it.
I make notes of how I’ll arrange and start my day, from the admin details that need attention: contacting HR, IT, and checking in to make sure that daily 9 am conference calls are still a thing, to the routes and visits and territory updates that need planning. I’ll visit my best customers this week and the ones I’m closest to, and the ones that I know will give me a hug.
Today is my last day home with my boys. Tomorrow, I’ll go back to working full time and Leo and Warren will go to daycare full-time. This is our new normal. We feel great about our daycare, but transition doesn’t come without its challenges.
The blog will take a backseat again as we navigate the days and weeks ahead. I gave this dream what I could while I was also able to be home with my newborn. I wrote 16 posts, reached out to brands, tried to figure out SEO, and did as much with instagram as I could despite algorithms I truly don’t understand. (if you want to help, I’d love for you to subscribe with your email below.)
I’m excited to work, I like my job, and working full time is the best decision for our family at this point in time. But leaving them is hard and guilt comes easily.
There are undeniably awesome things that can come out of working full time. My boys are immersed in another culture through daycare, and will hear other languages. They have friends, structure, and learn to play. They’re on a routine and know what to expect in their day.
There are many things they’ll learn by seeing their mom work as well: a strong role model for work ethic, providing for a family, and the importance of education, commitment, and hard work. By working now, Canan and I hope to achieve flexibility in the future and the ability to achieve other dreams, individually and as a family.
Family schedules and work commitments can vary widely from part time or full time work, one parent staying home exclusively, one or both parents working from home, etc. There are pros and cons, sacrifices, limitations, and privileges to each option, even when you know you’re making the best decision for your family.
So tomorrow it is.
And every day after that, at least for now.
Cheers to the moms that make it look easy, who manage and shuffle and compromise.
As a second time mom, I know the routine. But it doesn’t make it easier.