Thursday, September 2, 2010

Lessons Learned by a Working Mom

The beginning of September marks a huge milestone for me. On September 1st last year, I ended my maternity leave and became a full-time working mom, or WOH mom for short. (WOH stands for works-outside-home. I certainly would never dis my stay-at-home mom (SAHM) friends. As it was explained to me early on, all mothers work full-time, some in the home and others out.)

My first day back to work was tougher than I thought it would be. Miss Patti had to literally take Lana out of my arms. I cried the entire way to work and for ten minutes or so in the parking lot. I cried again when Dan called to check on me before I walked in the building. Fortunately no other day this year has been more difficult than that first day.

It’s been a challenging year. I knew it would be when we started on this adventure, but I never dreamed of all that we’d go through and all that I’d learn. Here’s a sampling of lessons and wisdom gained from the past year:

1. Spit up happens. It just does. It took me a few days, but I quit freaking out and just changed clothes (mine and Lana’s) and moved on. Poo happens too.

2. If I need to wear nice clothes for a special work event, I get the baby and myself ready while still wearing my pjs. Once she’s loaded in the carseat, then I quickly change into my good clothes.

3. Meal planning gets old, but it is the only way I know to guarantee I always drive home from work knowing what’s for dinner and what I need to do to get in on the table by 6:00.

4. The crock-pot is my friend. We’re BFFs. Seriously, I put ingredients in it in the morning, turn it on, set the timer, and viola! Dinner is ready when I get home.

5. Tickle time takes priority over house cleaning time. I would much rather hear Lana laugh than have a spotless house. Remember that if you come over and see the light fixtures need a good dusting and all the laundry isn’t folded.

6. Some mornings, everything takes twice as long as it should. I don’t know if it’s due to the pull of the moon or what, but occasionally my hair won’t cooperate, I’ll have to change clothes (see #1), Lana will have to be changed (again, see #1), she’ll take sooooo long to eat, I’ll drop the mascara wand on my face and shirt and have to change again and wash my face, and I’ll realize after we’ve driven three miles down the road that I forgot the diapers. Yup, mornings like that happen.

7. I work with a great group of people, but as wonderful as I think my daughter is, I know they don’t want to hear about her all the time. Nope, they don’t care that she babbled adorably or didn’t sleep as well as expected and I’m exhausted; they just care that I get my work done.

8. I now run after-work errands according to the child restraints involved. For example, running to the grocery store is fairly do-able because Lana can be put in the shopping cart seat. Going to the bank however is much, much tougher. The bank has no shopping carts and no way to contain a 14 month-old. Bank trips now happen on my lunch.

9. My supportive, encouraging husband is worth his weight in gold. He works hard every day. He comes home with a kiss and a hug for each of his girls. He eats what I put on his dinner plate, even when it looks questionable, and he usually is ready with a compliment. He never complains about the chores that have to be done and looks for ways to make things easier for me. He’s the best Daddy little Lana-girl could ask for and the greatest husband ever.

10. I like things done a certain way and I prefer order and routine to randomness and chaos, but that’s not always the way things happen. I’ve learned that being flexible and just rolling with the waves is the best way to not go crazy.

So, Been-there, Done-that Moms, please share your wisdom with this working-mom rookie. What lessons are there still to learn? What are the best ways you know to do it all?


Anita Cory said...

You are a fast learner. I have nothing to add, except wait until it is 2 kidlets! It is all a matter of perspective:)

AngMomof3 said...

I remember major spit up down my lovely silk blouse just before work... not even the dry cleaners could save it. Ack!

You've got it! Just remember that every time you think you've got it figured out, soemthing changes. :) Keeps us on our toes.

mommyneedsanap said...

I remember being home on maternity leave when a friend stopped by. As I turned around to invite her into the house she quietly said, "um, I think you have something on your shoulder." Spit up happens indeed! She was much too polite (and she was an understanding new mom) to point out it was on my shoulder in my ponytail and halfway down my back.
I don't think there are any secrets to having it all regardless of if you are a WOH or SAHM. It's about picking and chosing and deciding what is important to you. (Which I think you're doing a great job of!)