I’m home with C today. It’s nap time and I have a moment to myself. I’m staving off the afternoon sleepies with a half-caf coffee from Starbucks, and am committed to getting a post up today. I have work I need to get done, but I’m pushing it off to write instead.
I was fearful of going back to work and not being able to cut it (I swear I wrote about this somewhere, but I’m at a loss to find the post). Among other fears, I worried that I would feel even more exhausted than I already did every day. But here’s the thing… although work seems to use up most of my energy by 5pm, I don’t find myself tired during the day. For the most part, I’ve been on the go, fully functioning and plugging away. Which is good. Very good.
The other thing I’ve found? I’m still exhausted the days I’m home with C. By her nap time, I’m ready to nap as well. And, I am at liberty to do so (assuming I don’t have any accounting work outstanding). Is it the freedom to do so that makes me feel more tired? Or is it just because it’s a different kind of work? Spending the days constantly distracted, never able to finish anything, and everything taking twice as long as it should to get done can be quite draining. Coffee helps, but it doesn’t take away the fact that I feel completely wiped by mid day.
I enjoy the time I spend with C, and it’s definitely high on my priority list, but I don’t feel like I’m at my best when I’m with her. I tend to feel scattered, halfway put together and frustrated. Simple tasks like going to the store are complicated acts and require careful planning. Everything becomes a negotiation. I just don’t feel like it’s my best “me”, but I’m not sure how to behave any other way when I’m wearing my mommy hat. It’s like my brain just doesn’t work as well as it should.
There are pros and cons to going back to work. Working outside the home gives me back the freedom to go to the store unencumbered (pro). However, sometimes trips to the store are a great learning opportunity for C and she misses out (con). I love being able to put my degree and CPA license to good use (pro), and even missed doing training for work (pro), but I worry that C ‘s education might be stifled by the “teaching to the lowest common denominator” approach that you find in many education settings (con). The money from working is a definite bonus (pro), and more than covers our preschool costs for the week, but it’s a balancing act, as I find that the more I work, the fussier and clingier C gets (con). One big con is the shorter nap times on days she’s at school. At home, she takes 2-3 hour naps, but at school, they only allocate 1.5 hours for nap time, so she’s getting short changed a bit on sleep, which is probably contributing to her being fussy and clingy.
I can tell that C’s adjusting to the change and trying to figure things out, and although outwardly she seems ok with it all (she talks about how much fun she has at school), little shifts in her behavior lead me to believe it’s harder on her than she lets on. It’s all about easing in to things right now and getting her used to being away from me for longer stretches of time. Really, there are work arounds for all the cons above, and ways to give C the best home and school experiences possible in a complimentary fashion – it’s just a matter of figuring out what works best for us.
We have C signed up for preschool 5 full days a week now, mostly because that was the best deal and gave me flexibility to schedule work as needed. The difference between 3 full days a week and 4 was $12. The jump between 4 and 5 days a week was $4 more – we’d be crazy not to sign up for full time! So, for $16 more per week, I can keep C home when I have time off, and take her in to school when I need to work. I make that back in less than an hour of work, so it’s not a bad deal. However, she was at school 4 very long days last week, and that was just too much for her. Taking her in late and picking her up early seems to work best – it gives me a good chunk of time to get work done and she seems happy.
I’ve picked up more work these past few weeks than I originally intended. The first two weeks of April, I clocked 65 billable hours – plus I had nonbillable hours for training and business related tasks. That’s with working 3 days per week. Phew, I’ve been busy.
So quickly I forgot how all consuming work can be. Very recently, I was giving a friend a hard time about not blogging. And, yet, I find myself 3 weeks out from my last post, struggling to find time to fit in the briefest of posts. It’s not just the time commitment – it’s getting my head out of accounting mode and in to writing mode. Even my last few posts were canned entries that wrote weeks before and had in the queue for times when the writing tank was low. Guess we’ve hit that space.
I’ll try to keep up with posting more frequently. I’ve gotten through a big chunk of work and have a bit of a lull (although I’m meeting with a CPA firm regarding some potential consulting work this week). It really is good to be back at work, and I’m glad I’m doing this. C will adjust, regardless, and so will I.
Until next time!