Returning to Full-Time Employee, Full-Time Mom

As I back out of the driveway, tears streaming down my face, I wonder how I am going to leave my new baby boy five days a week. Maternity leave has ended, reality has set in and it’s back to the real world. Back to the commute, real clothes and the overwhelming stress of working full time and full-time mom-ing. 

As I drive into work blaring the obvious choice of John Mayer, I am overcome with the yearning to be holding my little guy just one more day. I also have the tug to get back to the grind. As tears well up, once again, I let the last one roll down my cheek, wipe it away and head into the office.

The first week back, my heart and mind felt like they were in an endless battle. My heartstrings being pulled in every direction. I feel as though I am missing a limb when my baby isn’t with me. But, I love my job, and this is my third maternity leave I’ve returned to work from. Why is this so difficult? I knew what to expect. It seems only natural to have all these feelings but it’s not easily or often discussed.

When I’m at work, I do my best to focus in-between my pumping sessions and using my time most effectively. I feel easily distracted thinking about all the tasks needing to be done at home, on top of missing seeing Teddy’s first roll or hearing his little coos. 

When I get home, I have 2.5 hours of time with my little guy before he goes to sleep. There have been multiple evenings I skip the crib until it’s time for me to go to bed and just hold him on the couch while he sleeps. He’s my last baby, and I’m relishing in the snuggles because I know how quickly the time passes. 

When I’m back on the computer after bedtime the guilt settles in. I’m not putting in enough hours at work, there isn’t enough concealer to disguise the bags under my eyes and all in all I feel like I am failing at my job. I love my job, and I’m very competitive so the feeling that I’m not performing to my best potential crushes me. The immense pressure we put on ourselves to perform at work and at home builds up until you hit a breaking point. But, I have to take a step back and look at all the positive things.

Teddy is in great hands and getting socialization. He is learning to sleep on a schedule. While he observes the older kids he is watching, listening and learning communication skills. His immune system is building up with exposure to germs outside the house. He is very happy every time I pick up and drop off.

When I’ve been up since 2 a.m. with my 6-year-old daughter with insomnia, I have to be resilient and push the emotional exhaustion of the situation aside. I am so grateful to have a fabulous job and supportive co-workers as an outlet. The few hours of using my brain to problem solve and be creative as opposed to diffusing tantrums helps me re-charge for the evening. 

Every morning is a marathon. Getting three kids fed, dressed, ready for school or daycare, dropped off between my husband and I at three different locations and making it into the office by 8:25 a.m.. This is an accomplishment in itself.

When I get discouraged that I am failing at being a mom, I remind myself that I have three little kiddos that will love me unconditionally whether the breakfast dishes make it into the dishwasher in the morning or the evening. At the end of the day, all they want is my undivided attention, to roll on the ground laughing and have one-on-one playtime. I’ve learned to be intentional with my time because I don’t have a lot of it between work and bedtime. I try to lay with each child at night so that they each get some special time.

I hope one day my children look back and are proud of me for showing them that I can do it. I can be a great mom and a great employee. I hope they learn that hard work, flexibility and family time can all coincide together. Whether you are cuddled up close or across town at the office, the most important thing is that your kids know that you love them. 

I am a mom of two girls, 4 & 6 and a baby boy who arrived in June as well as our fur-baby, Walter. I've been married to my southern raised, patient and silly husband for 8 years. Born and raised in Kansas City, I am naturally an avid Chiefs fan. I am the Director of E-Commerce & Retail at J. Rieger & Co. distillery and thoroughly enjoy being a full time-working mom. I am an open book and hope that my real stories of what works for our family and the raw emotions that come with each of life's curve balls helps guide other families along their journey. Being a Mom of two wildly active girls, one whose spirit needs some extra attention, I am currently navigating child advocacy and support for parents who lean on professional resources for children with behavioral disorders. I love getting lost in the kitchen or a book, going on walks and spending time with friends & family.

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