Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Heart of a Working Mom

I have been wanting to write a post lately about how things have been going since I have returned to work. To be honest, it has been tough and I just dread going every day even if it is for only three days a week. The worst part about going back to work, of course, is leaving Jillian. Jeff's Mom watches her on Mondays and she also attends daycare on Wednesdays and Thursdays. I feel horrible taking her to daycare and dropping her off with some strange women. Sure, they seem nice enough, but it just seems weird to me. I don't like it at all and I always leave every morning after dropping her off feeling sorry for myself. Even when Jeff's Mom comes over to watch her on Mondays, I still feel awful because I am not the one spending the day with her. I am at work feeling jealous that she gets to spend all day with her and I am stuck at work.

Getting to work on time is a joke. There should be a new attendance policy for new working moms. A grace period of sorts. I now wake up at 5am, pump, shower, get myself ready which takes an hour, feed the baby, change the baby, pack up the bottles for daycare, change the baby again, take the baby to daycare, stop at the Dunkin Donuts across the street from daycare to start the caffeine drip, and then drive twenty minutes to work praying all the way that there isn't an accident on I-90to make me later than I already am. I have to do all of this by the time I start work at 7:30am.

Leaving Jill is absolutely the worst thing about going back to work without a doubt but there are other things have been really getting to me lately too. I am still beyond sleep deprived. Jill still doesn't sleep through the night. She is up twice to eat and then a few more times for some other random reason. We are always trying to guess why she is up. Is she teething? Too hot? Too cold? Needs to burp? Who knows, it's always a guessing game to why she wakes up. Or, after I feed her, she doesn't want to fall back asleep. She falls asleep on the boppy after I feed her, but when I place her in her crib, her eyes spring open and she starts smiling at me like it's time to play. Last night I couldn't take anymore of her playing the pacifier game so I let her cry for fifteen minutes and it worked. I felt awful but she really needed it to fall asleep. Constantly sticking the pacifier back in her mouth after she spits it out over and over again just wasn't working. Because I am so sleep deprived, I walk around at work feeling out of it and incompetent all day long. My boss asks me questions and my brain literally can not function fast enough to answer his questions promptly. I feel like I just give everyone blank stares waiting for my brain to catch up to what the heck they are saying. I hate feeling dumb. I used to excel at work, hit the ground running every morning, and blow through my work with amazing productivity. Now I am lucky if I remember to attach a file to my emails.

I am so glad that I decided to change my schedule from full time to part time after returning from leave, but that even has a lot of disadvantages that I am discovering. I feel like I am always the last one to know about everything. I am always playing catch up with emails, phone calls, and every day tasks which is pretty stressful. Don't get me wrong, I am so grateful to even have the opportunity to have a part time schedule at work in the role that I am in, but it hasn't been an easy transition.

Trying to get ready the night before work the next day is also insanely time consuming. I am constantly washing bottles and pump parts to prepare for the next work day. I have to leave at least four bottles with daycare/Jeff's mom with four ounces of breast milk in each bottle. Jillian is now starting to eat more than four ounces and I am barely producing enough milk to give her the sixteen ounces that she need. I am trying to increase my milk supply by pumping more on my days off and taking Fenugreek but it doesn't seem to be working. I really don't know how much Jillian is getting when I nurse her on the days on my days off but it can't be more than that or else I would be producing more milk. I just feel like my supply is not catching up with the demand. Since I am still breast feeding Jillian trying to find the time to pump at work has been a challenge. I try to pump at least three times a day but I get caught up in meetings, phone calls, fire drills from internal customers, or just plain old deadlines that I only seem to find the time to pump twice throughout the day. When I do find the time to pump, I just sit in our little lactation room and try not to fall asleep. I have nodded off a few times just from the humming sound of the pump.

I never thought I would want to be a stay at home until I read fellow Mommy blogger's post. As much as they couldn't afford her to quit her job, she knew in heart that they would make it work because all they really needed was their love for each other and their son, everything else would just fall into place. I felt horribly guilty all day after reading it. I felt like a horrible Mommy because I didn't do the same. I haven't been able to really shake that feeling ever since. I know I need to give it more time and don't want to make a snap decision just because I am feeling so horrible about it now. I am trying to do the responsible thing by sticking with my job and seeing how things are perhaps when I less sleep deprived. Until then, I am enjoying every minute of my Tuesdays and Fridays home with my little girl, they are the happiest days of my life.

I couldn't resist throwing in a few pics of the two most important people in my life, the reasons why I do work so hard.


  1. Working and leaving your little one is so hard and I wish I could say it gets easier but it doesn't, at least for me it didn't. I miss her all the time. Randi has that cute little outfit too! We got the same taste in baby clothes my friend! :)

  2. Hugs to you.

    I went back to work with my first and didn't go part time. I worked all the time. I became a sahm when he was 15 months old and it was a huge adjustment for me. he's turning 10 next week, and I'm not handling it. I feel like the 10 years flew too quickly and that in one blink he'll be heading off to college. I just find something everyday to be thankful for.

  3. I found you on the D-List and have enjoyed checking out your blog! I know its hard to leave her and I can not imagine working when your child doesn't sleep through the night. A lot of your anxiety may be a result of sleep depravation. I found that once we got the little man sleeping through the night I felt less stressed about life in general. But, if you do decide that you want to stay home there are a lot of things that you can change that will help make ends meet. I did it because I just couldn't leave him, we coupon clip, I make a lot of his food from scratch and we cut back on stuff. I would look at the financials, lossing my income dropped us in a lower tax braket and we actually brought home almost the same amount. Good Luck and I look forward to reading more.
    Check us out at and

  4. Hi Karen - I don't want you to feel guilty, you're helping to provide for your family: keep a roof over their heads, feed them, and love them. B and I have talked about this for the future - and the fact of the matter is I'll just have to work when we have kids, at least for awhile. Faith that things will work out is wonderful, but it doesn't pay mortgages and hospital bills. For us, knowing that things will work out - because we bring in more than we spend a month - is just how it's going to have to work.

    I cannot imagine how hard it would be to leave beautiful little Jillian,but she will be a strong, independent and well-loved young lady whether you work three days a week or don't. Hang in there, you will figure out what's right for you guys when the time is right!

  5. I is so hard going to work. I only work part time too and I am always out of the loop. I have just accepted it and rather enjoy "flying under the radar". The other day my principal saw me in the hall and said, "Hey! Rose is here today!" like she was all surprised....I swear she doesn't even know what my schedule is! Could be worse, I guess!

    hang in there! You are doing a great job!!

  6. Aw I can't imagine how crazy my life will be when we have a baby in the future! Your post gave me a glimpse into it ;)

    I'm sure going to work is hard, but you are still a wonderful mother! I can tell :)

  7. Karen-

    I think you are reading my mind. With my little one on the way this is a constant stressor for me. I just keep thinking I am doing this for him. Like a previous poster keeping a roof over his head and allowing him the things he needs. I just want you to know that I am not even there yet but your feelings are not alone! You little one seems beyond loved and thats what matters!

  8. Oh honey, I know how you feel! Working and being a momma is so hard, but it will get better. You'll get into a routine and catch up on your sleep... or just get used to functioning in a completely sleep deprived state of mind. I know what you mean about getting to work late, washing pump parts and panicking about not pumping enough. My Mr. now has the role of washing bottles and parts, I just could not do it all! Try eating some oatmeal when you get to work, it really helps boost supply!

  9. I'm sorry you're in this position Karen!

    My best advice is to pray about it. A lot. For me, I knew without a doubt that I was being called to stay home. I know other moms who felt that they were being called to work. And both are FINE, as long as you're heeding God's word, in my humble opinion!

  10. Karen, my heart breaks for you! I know it is hard bc I'm a working Momma, too! As a previous commenter said, it gets easier when the sleep schedule gets better. Right now, everything is hard to deal with bc of the lack of sleep. And the pumping is so difficult. My milk dried up early on and it was horribly (and I mean HORRIBLE!) depressing bc I thought I was not being a good Mom if I could not BF my child! Just know if that does happen, you are still a good Mother!! Don't let the guilt get to you! It almost destroyed me! Now, looking back, I laugh bc I think to myself, "Wow, kids got a lot more to deal with in life than if she was breastfeed for a year or not!" When I had to switch to formula (after trying everything else) I found that it was much easier. Maybe it is God's way of trying to help you out some! My last piece of advise is to think of the postive things about being able to work and her going to day care. As she gets older, you'll really see how the interaction is good for her and she'll probably love it! And if you don't feel comfortable with the people who are taking care of your child, then think of switching. I think that might really help! I could go on and on as this touches my heart!

  11. I don't have much advice since I haven't been blessed enough to have a child of my own yet but I wanted to give you a big {{HUG}}, I hope with time things will start becoming more clear and you can realize that you are working to provide a better life for Jillian.

  12. Don't beat yourself over it Karen but really sit down and have a heart to heart with yourself and then with your hubby. Do you really "need" to work or do you just feel like you"need" to work? There are tons of moms who have to work to help pay the bills and I soo admire them for being able to juggle both things. I have no idea how they do it. We did not know how we would do it. At the time we basically had our salary cut in half. After six years we now have caught up plus some but we do do with less but never do we do without. We have all we need plus some.
    If you are still beating yourself up over leaving Jillian than I say if your finances can handle it even doing with less for a little while and your hubby has a solid job I say STAY home girl! You will feel so much better about yourself and be an even more terrific mommy to Jillian than you are now with this guilt inside of you. Jillian is only little once so take and grab hold of it!

  13. I feel the same way. It's so much work, just to get to work each day and what's worse is you work so hard to go somewhere you really don't want to be. Hang in there, it seems like you're doing an awesome job. This too shall pass and things will get easier eventually (that's what I keep telling myself!) :-)

  14. Don't make the decision based on money. Make it on what you want for your life a few years out from now. If your job gives you satisfaction and is something you want to pursue and advance in, then you can find ways to make it work. But if you're only doing it for the money/house, etc..., you will probably regret it. I am in a similar situation and all I can say is pray a lot about it--God will answer you one way or the other! But don't feel like you "have" to stay home either. Kids do great with stay at home parents and they do just as great with working parents, as long as they are happy and well cared for. God calls us all to do different things. He doesn't want us all to be stay at home moms, and He doesn't want us all to be working moms. The "right" answer is different for everyone. You've just got to listen to where He's calling you.

  15. First of all, adorable pics!!!
    What a tough thing, don't be so hard on yourself, sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do. I think part time is a good balance. You can be there more for her, but still bring in some extra money. You're a great mom!
    And I can't imagine having to do ALL that and be to work by 7:30, no way! I couldn't do it ;)

  16. Karen,
    I work fulltime as a nurse(3 12 hr shifts a week) so I also get 2 days at home with my daugher (she is 17 months.) Going back to work was THE HARDEST thing I have ever had to do, but it did get so much easier for me. The older she gets and the better she sleeps does help also. I urge you to get to know the women at daycare a little better, my daughter's daycare teachers are like family to us now. They truly care for our little girl and love what they do, that makes me feel so at ease! They also do projects and activities at school that I couldn't do with her at home and that is priceless to me. My little girl comes home talking about her friends from school, and this makes me so happy! I also breastfed (for a year) and pumped while I was at work and you just have to make sure you are making that a priority and your milk supply will pick up. Everything you are feeling is valid, I just urge you to see the positive side of things. Anne

  17. Karen,
    I know what post you are referring to, and I can only imagine how hard it is to leave Jillian. Unfortunately, after our baby is born in December, I will HAVE to work. We would not be able to make ends meet without it. It already breaks my heart to think about it. Everything will work out for your family. God certainly has a plan for you!


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