Working mom life {6 months later}

by Kim on April 24, 2014

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As most of you know, I was a stay-at-home mom for the first year and a half of Mason’s life. Then, a little over six months ago, I decided I was ready to give the whole working mom thing a shot. (You can read about my reasons here.)

So, how are things going now? Do I have any regrets?

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Really, I don’t think things could be going any better. Mason loooooves his daycare (like, that probably isn’t enough o’s) and is in very, very good hands, so that’s the most important thing. And while I miss my stay-at-home mom days sometimes, I’ve found that working has put me in a really good place mentally.

I come into work, my office is quiet, my time is my own, and it’s just…easy. In comparison. I’m not spending my days going through the same cycle of feeding, cleaning, changing, and entertaining, dealing with tantrums and poor sleep habits and weird phases, and feeling myself go a little bit crazier every day. (But like I said, I still do miss it!)

And at the end of the day, I’m not desperate for a break—I’m eager to get into mom mode. I even have energy to work out and clean the house a lot of the time.

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I know people say that being a mom is the hardest job on earth, but I always wonder if they’re just saying that. In my experience, after having done both the SAHM and working mom gigs, staying home (at least with a baby) is definitely harder–at least mentally.

Some of that might be unique to my situation, though, I’m not sure. I struggled a lot during Mason’s first year, trying to sort out his health situation and make the “right decisions” while feeling pretty isolated and overwhelmed. If I could do it all over again, there are lots of things I would change to make things easier on myself (for example, I’d force myself to get more social with mom groups, etc., despite the scheduling challenges with a baby). Plus, Mason is no easy kid, on any front.

But I think the first baby is a huge learning experience for every mom, and no matter what your situation is, it ain’t easy.

Logistically, being a working mom is more difficult—setting up and getting to appointments during the day is much more of a hassle, for one thing. When he’s sick, we have to scramble a little. Things like grocery shopping, laundry, cooking, and cleaning are harder to keep up with (and much more of it falls onto the weekends). And, of course, there’s all the commuting and getting up early.

But one thing that’s nice about daycare–that I didn’t really expect–is having other primary care providers of Mason to talk to about him. It’s so nice to get some help on all the decision-making, from people who know my kid as well as I do. To get gut checks from people who are simultaneously caring for several other kids at the exact same age. (Really helps with the whole “is this normal??” paranoia.)

It’s easy to assume that moms know what they’re doing with their kids, but a lot of the time, we don’t.

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Before daycare, I couldn’t imagine letting someone else be the person my kid spends the majority of his waking hours with. And while I’m still jealous of that sometimes, now that we’ve been at it for awhile, I’d feel guilty keeping him home with me all day. Having him miss out on all the fun activities they do at daycare, the socialization with other kids, the huge variety of toys, the constant exposure to new foods and experiences… (He eats a wide variety of foods that I doubt he’d be eating if it weren’t for daycare—kudos to peer pressure!)

I’m not saying that daycare is the only answer—I can’t even promise that we’ll do it forever. I just know that it’s working great for us right now. Everyone is benefiting.

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I also definitely don’t regret staying home for that first year and a half. Not only was it a blessing to be able to spend those precious first months with him, but it was easier in a lot of ways (like not having to pump at work and being able to manage the allergy situation) and he wouldn’t have been benefiting from daycare the way he is at this age.

I know I’m going to be missing my stay-at-home mom days like craaazy this summer, though. But only for selfish reasons: I remember all the long, long daily walks and the lazy afternoons at the park last year. I remember feeling energetic and fit from all the activity and fresh air, and I’m already jealous of last summer’s tan (haha).

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But I know Mason will have a complete blast at daycare this summer—way more fun than he’d have with his old lady, ha.

In a perfect world, I’d have a part time job that would let us get the best of both worlds. Who knew those would be so hard to come by?

Anyway. We’re in a nice little routine now. I leave for work a little earlier in the morning so I can also leave earlier in the afternoon (I’m out the door by 4:30), which gives me a tiny bit more Mason time before he goes to bed. For a few months, I was being super selfish and keeping him up until 8, basically to hang out with me, but I’ve finally come to my senses and we’re working back toward a more reasonable 7/7:30 bedtime.

The end of the day is hard sometimes, when he’s tired and hungry, and I just want to spend time with him. So that’s a definite pitfall.

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And as much as I still hate the idea that I spend at least an hour and a half in the car everyday, I’m totally used to my commute. My only complaint is that my favorite podcasts don’t release new episodes fast enough.

I’ve also decided that the world needs more podcasts in general—anyone want to start one?? I’ll listen!

So that’s where things stand right now.

Ask me again in 4 months, when we have to rethink everything to make room for kid #2!

Anyone else done both the SAHM and working mom things? What were your experiences?

xoxo

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{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

Marielle April 25, 2014 at 10:55 am

Thanks for sharing your story! I don’t have any kids yet, but hopefully soon and like hearing other people’s experiences. Sounds like a great choice for you and your family!
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char eats greens April 25, 2014 at 9:45 am

First of all, how has it already been SIX months since you started working?!?! I swear time goes by much faster for everyone else, but me/my life haha

Even though I do stay home with Nia, I completely agree with everything you say. I think my one regret–even right now!!–is having too much time/contact with Nia. I also don’t know how to look for mom groups, and other things for kids her age to get her involved in. I might not be looking hard enough, but I should definitely make this my mission to get her out in the world. Especially for the mentality side for me; it would be a win-win. Because I’m really feeling the mental weakness in this whole SAHM situation right now. I’m really aching for a break (and I’m sure Nia could use one from me also!).
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emma @ be mom strong April 25, 2014 at 5:59 am

Great topic. I have been a SAHM since Gentry was born (so almost 2 years now). But now I’m starting my SAHBusiness because I just needed something else in my life. Don’t get me wrong she fills PLENTY of it, but I wanted to do a little more for this world than just raise a child!
Again, the business is ill timing with #2 coming in August, but we will see!
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Giselle@myhealthyhappyhome April 24, 2014 at 10:40 pm

What a great post Kim! I definitely have days where I wish I were working but I also love being a Stay at home mom. Like you said, a part time job would be ideal or even a work from home job. The Love Nugget starts Preschool in the fall and I’ve been thinking about getting certified to teach a few fitness classes since he’ll only be there 3 hours a day. Teaching one class those two days would be perfect! I just have to get motivated to do it! I agree, more podcasts please! Have you started listening to Everyday Paleo yet? Or Underground Wellness?
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Heidi April 24, 2014 at 4:05 pm

YES! i read your first post about this right when i was struggling and was starting to make the decision to go back to work. I was bored staying at home, I was frustrated and felt I wasn’t doing enough with him. Like the routine had gotten so mundane and I was in a downward spiral/a massive rut. And i had a play group and friends but…i was lacking something and/or over the itsy bitsy spider and all the Sandra Boynton books. My dream job came at just the right time – with plenty of benefits and flexibility which is nice. We’re (finally) about to put E into a great daycare and while life is crazy (especially with a husband in a PT MBA program, and me with other commitments) I find that i don’t over schedule weekends, I value family time, I value our (sometimes crazy) mornings and I feel fulfilled. Don’t get me wrong – like you – I’ll certainly miss our summer together and i miss our playgroups and the socialization – but I never wanted to be a stay at home long term.
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Kim April 24, 2014 at 4:13 pm

Awesoooome! So glad you went after what you needed and found what’s right for your fam! Sounds like it’s working out great. :)

Initially, I felt guilty about daycare, but it helped a lot to think of it as “school” instead. They really do get a lot of the same benefits, even as toddlers. And they’re constantly doing messy activities I’d never attempt at home–playing with shaving cream, colored water, indoor snow, etc. :)

I can’t guarantee I’ll never stay home again with future kids, because I do think it’s really nice for babies. We’ll see I guess!

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Ashley @ My Food N Fitness Diaries April 24, 2014 at 1:03 pm

Thanks so much for sharing your experience. Now that Hunter is more of a toddler, I have reconsidered my “stay at home mom” decision, so it’s interesting to hear both sides. I think depending on the day, whether you’re working OR staying at home, it’s easy to have the “grass is always greener” attitude, ya know?
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Kim April 24, 2014 at 1:07 pm

Oh my gosh, yes. I totally see the pros and cons of both sides now, which is why I always think part-time work would be so awesome. :)

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char eats greens April 25, 2014 at 9:47 am

I totally love the idea of part-time work. If I could find some within the next 6 months, I think that would be ideal! I can’t believe part-time work was hard for you to find. Like you said, who would have thought!
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Katie @ running4cupcakes April 24, 2014 at 12:56 pm

I totally agree with your views on this. I loved my time at home with Luke, but for our family – it works really good for him to go to daycare and get that stimulation/exposure to things I wouldn’t dream of doing with him –> he just started singing Yankee Doodle the other day!
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Kim April 24, 2014 at 1:09 pm

Haha, that’s hilarious! Mason knows a ton of songs I don’t know, too. (Something called “Bubble bubble pop???”) I just wish work days were shorter so I’d get a few more hours with him, but other than that, feeling pretty content right now.

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Katie @ Live Half Full April 24, 2014 at 12:13 pm

Thanks so much for writing this post! My husband and I want to start trying for kids soon- and one of my most nerve-wracking things to think about it how we will handle it both working. This eases my mind a lot!
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Kim April 24, 2014 at 1:11 pm

Ooh congrats, that’s exciting!! You will figure it what works for your family and it’ll be just fine. :) The transition to daycare suuuuucks at first, for everyone, regardless of the age of the baby, so you just have to remember that that crappy part is normal and temporary!

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Presley @ Run Pretty April 24, 2014 at 10:45 am

Yessss. I get summers with Maddux, so I sort of get to experience both worlds. Staying home is mentally taxing but working is physically taxing. The hardest part about being a working mom, for me, is finding the time to do things without just being slap worn out. When you’re at home, some of the smaller chores get done randomly. When you’re working, it all falls to nights or weekends.

Let’s just win the lottery and hire maids? ;)
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Kim April 24, 2014 at 1:16 pm

Yeah, that summer deal is so sweet! And I think your job is a lot more physically taxing than mine, considering that I sit at a desk all day and maybe get up to go to the bathroom now and then. I WISH I moved more during the day.

In other words, I think you’re basically killing it at life.

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