Monday, May 19, 2008

Adjusting to a New Schedule

Last week was officially the first week of my new job. I quit my previous job when I got the feeling that they just weren't going to be very flexible with my new schedule and it wasn't where I wanted to be money and career wise. So I decided to start my own Marketing Consulting firm and work out of my home. I was able to find a part-time day care which is a miracle, and things were going great. I wasn't even really looking for a "real job" when a friend of mine called and asked about my situation. She had heard of a part-time position that might be right up my alley. I thought, well, I have one client for my consulting firm but it is going to take awhile to get this thing up and running and I'm not sure if I'm up for the challenge just yet. So, I decided to humor my friend, forward my resume along and see what happened.

What happened was I started about two weeks later. Now I have a "real job" three days a week and a little more here and there when I can get to it. Ada can hang out in day care those three days, I get some "adult" time that is a much needed relief from her recent bouts of teething and gas and just overall "gosh it's hard being a baby" fussiness. And most importantly, I get some balance in life - hopefully.

So these last two weeks I've had to get back into the swing of things and I realized that everything in life is exhausting, not just babies!

Thursday(the week before last) was my very first day. I tried to get going in the morning but boy was it ever hard. Figuring out what part of your work wardrobe still fits you is challenge #2 (getting out of bed is #1). Thankfully, my husband has flex time and can go to work anywhere between 7 and 9 and leave 8 work hours later. So he helped get Ada and me ready for our big days. And this particular day, Rick had worked late earlier in the week and earned a half day off for putting in so many late nights. What should have been a great opportunity for him to sleep in and relax didn't quite turn out that way.

Knowing that I needed to drop Ada off at 8, get to work at 8:30, leave at 4:30 and pick Ada up at 5, I thought I'd drive to work my first day to make things easier. Little did I know that you really can't park anywhere near my new job unless you want to feed a meter all day or pay $14 for a spot. Yikes! I ended up parking at a meter a few blocks from the office and Rick had to come move the car back to the street Ada's day care is on so that I could ride the el to pick her up. What a fiasco. But it all worked out. So much for Rick getting any sleep.

Then I had the weekend to recover -- but I didn't recover much because Ada and I got sick with colds, she was teething and we spent Mother's day at our parent's houses so we weren't in the comfort of our own homes to heal and reset our systems.

Then Monday came. We did some errands, and prepared for our new schedule.

Then Tuesday came and we figured it out a bit better. Ada slept in which allowed me to get ready. But it really is a juggling act and when a baby is involved, you have to be flexible. If she isn't ready to get up or wants to eat when you're supposed to be in the car, it can really mess up the timetables.

Wednesday was better. I even took snacks and my own lunch to work. I started to feel more comfortable disappearing into the bathroom for 25 minutes to pump after lunch. But boy was I ever tired once I got home. I was yawning all day and trying not to let the boss notice but it was pretty obvious since I work in an office with four people. You can't really hide easily. That night, in my exhaustion, I entertained friends for knitting club at my house. The social calendar must go on.

Then Thursday was nice as I was already looking forward to the weekend and getting my four days with Ada and a weekend in my own bed. Wooohooo! What a relief it would be if I can just make it through the day. It started with Thursday treats and ended with lunch. Yes. lunch. Being the boss's birthday meant we had a long lunch which cut into my productivity but made the day fly by. Before I knew it, I was back on the el headed to get Ada. Then once she's in bed, more social time to catch up with a friend.

A big part of the adjustment of going back to work is only seeing your child for a few hours a day, if that. I got to see Ada from when I picked her up from day care until she went to bed, and maybe an hour in the morning. Typically you can feed them, cuddle a bit, maybe play and go for a short walk. Then it's time for their bedtime routine and you get to prepare to do it all again the next day. I think the harder adjustment is for parents who don't get home until the kids are ready for bed or already asleep. They just get to see the kids on the weekends. That's like having joint custody. Ug.

Knowing how hard it is for me to adjust to this schedule makes me thankful for the arrangement I have. It's just another thing to think about when deciding to have kids. How much time will we get to see them and how can we make that work financially. It's sad that this is how the world works nowadays. All we can do is try our best to achieve some sort of balance in life, and try to get some rest.

Moral of the story: Not only is having a baby tough and a lot of work, but adjusting to life after having a baby is tough and a lot of work, and then you get to adjust to maybe going back to work, or "working" as a parent. Anyway you slice it, it's tough and tiring. I wish all parents the best of luck.

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