28 October 2011

Guest Post: The Tale of the Unintentional Working Mama Turtle

Happy Friday! Today, I'm guest posting at Thriving is Elegant aka my person

Guess what peeps, she is here to talk about being a working Momma. This woman is my working mom hero. She does it all wife, mom, work and still finds time to do the diy projects that she loves. I barely get a shower every three day. Without further ado, The Tale of an Unintentional Working Mama Turtle

(Papa Turtle, Mama Turtle and Lil Turtle)

First let me say that I think “working mom” is redundant.  All mom’s are working moms. I only use the term because it shorter than works-in-a-cubical-during-the-day-mom.

Now that that’s out of the way, let me introduce myself. I’m Mama Turtle. My husband gave me my nickname when I was pregnant and would get stuck on my back on the couch. Then, from the moment our daughter was born, she had amazing neck strength and looked like a turtle stretching her neck out. So, that’s how we became Mama Turtle and Baby Turtle.

I never set out to be a working mom, but that is the situation I’ve found myself in. Just like everything else in life, it has its joys and its challenges. I’ll start with the challenges because they are usually more fun.
(B packs all these bags EVERY day. Oh my!)

The Look of Pity and Her Evil Twin “I don’t know how you do it.”: Ah yes! You run into a friend  who hasn’t seen you since the baby was born. They ask you if you’ve gone back to work and when you reply, they make this sad little noise laced with pity and just a hint of judgement. Then, when you respond that it’s actually not been as bad as you expected, they say, “Well, I just don’t know how you do it.” I always want to reply with, “Well, it’s quite easy actually seeing that I don’t really like my kid or spending time with her.” But instead I politely reply that we make it work while imaginary daggers shoot into their eyes. And as I walk away I shout in my head, “SUCK IT, JUDGEY!”

The Dreaded Firsts: I think one of the hardest parts of being a working mom is knowing that no matter what you do, you will miss out on some of those firsts. The first time she crawls, the first time she walks, the first time she lodges something in her nose (Have fun Grandma!). Thankfully, having been a working mom for the first few months of my life, my mother (our nanny) understands this frustration and has thus far kept any firsts to herself allowing me my delusion that that-time-she-did-it-on-the-weekend was in fact the first time.

Time Itself: Ah, Father Time, you giant pain in my … well you know. No matter what we do, there is never enough time. You work 40 hours a week, but that doesn’t include your lunch hour which makes it 45 and then your hour and a half commute every day which makes it over 50 hours a week away from the house. And that’s on a good week with no major traffic accidents or extra projects. And because of our hectic schedule I have to be in bed by 9-ish or I can’t function. So by the time I get home in the evenings, I have approximately 3 hours to spend with my daughter, plus feed myself and her, get ready for the next day, and attempt to maintain some sort of order in my house. Oh and did I mention that my husband go to school 4 nights a week? Yeah, Father Time can SUCK IT, too!

The Mommy Guilt: I think “mommy guilt” is the one universal challenge that every. single. mother faces. For me the guilt manifests in a couple of ways. First, I worry that she will think I don’t love her and that’s why I leave her with Grandma every day. I soothe this fear by buying her expensive toys which she discards in order to chew on the packaging.  Additionally, because I have so little time with her each week, any time I take to myself away from her comes riddled with even more guilt. Yeah, Mommy Guilt, you can SUCK IT too!

But it’s not all bad.  There are some advantages to be a working Turtle Mama.
(Is there anything cuter than a baby in a carrier?)

Peeing Alone: I figured I’d lead with the biggest advantage of being a working mama. :-)

Adult Interaction: I do enjoy having conversations with people that do not involve itsy-bitsy spiders or the phrase, “OMG! How did you get poop THERE?!” Granted most of my conversations are about work and highly uninteresting, but I’ll take uninteresting over that annoying spider any day. (I mean, really! How many times does he have to get washed away before he hitches a ride on the elevator? He’s not so bright.)

Time to Oneself: Granted the majority of my day is consumed by work, I do get a lunch break and the occasional slow day to spend as I see fit. I’d like to say that this time is spent contributing to the betterment of mankind, but most of it is spent blogging, screwing around on Pinterest, or shopping for the next expensive packaging for Turtle to chew on.

Appreciation of Family Time: I’m not saying that stay-at-home-moms don’t appreciate their family time, I just find myself especially grateful for the time I have with my daughter.  It’s like Christmas comes every day at 5pm, and that look on her face when I come in the door in the evenings makes my heart melt along with all the guilt and worry.

So what are some of my tips to other working Mama Turtles?

Good Child Care:  Find child care you trust! Whether it’s a family member, an in-home child care provider, or a rocking day care, knowing your child is being cared for while you are away makes all the difference.

Organization: I cannot stress enough the importance of organization.  In our house Google is king! We use Google Calendar to share activities and appointments.  We have bill spreadsheets along with lists for things like chores and groceries in Google Docs, giving by husband and I a joint place to keep track of things since we only really see each other Friday-Sunday.  I cook on the weekends and freeze stuff in individual servings for lunches and dinners throughout the week.  I also do a lot in the evenings so that our mornings run smoothly.

Letting Go: You know what? My house is far from immaculate.  I stopped taking the weekly pictures of Turtle I swore I’d take the whole first year right after returning to work.  I had to forgo my goal of making all of her baby food in order to retain my sanity. And I can’t get very much done during the week because around 7:30 or 8:00 pm I stop everything I’m doing to feed and then play with my Turtle, dishes and laundry be damned. And I’m totally ok with that. … Most days.

A Good Carrier: I wouldn’t be able to accomplish anything without my Soft Structured Carrier (I have a Boba but the Ergos are good as well as many other brands).  I can put her on my back in the mornings and get us packed up and out the door.  Then I put her in it when we get home in order to get stuff done around the house.  I love being able to “hold” her and still get a few things done.  We truly wouldn’t be able to survive without this.

Friends:  I also wouldn’t be able to do this thing without the support of my friends and family.  They let me voice my frustration, cry on their shoulders, and celebrate over my accomplishments.  They remind me that life is hard for everyone and keep me focused on what’s important.  Which leads me to my final tip.

A Good Attitude: Life is hard for everyone. No exceptions.  The grass isn’t greener on the other side, it’s greener where you water it and even though this isn’t were I thought I’d be, I’m choosing to water it right here where I am, as a Working Mama Turtle.

1 comment:

Krysten @ Why Girls Are Weird said...

I love what you have to say about a good attitude. Right now I'm having a hard time remembering that EVERYONE falls on hard times because my hard time is RIGHT NOW. But everyone goes through it and I need to remember that.