My day technically starts at 6:30am. I don't start my day until about 6:45am. I get P ready in the morning and finally start working on myself. I try to hurry and have everything ready the night before, but sometimes it just doesn't work out that way. I'm usually late to work. 8:02 a.m. Never fails. Some days I'm early. 7:58 a.m.....yessss.
I work for a great company. I spend 9 hours a day there and sometimes I'm not ready to leave at 5. Sometimes I wish I could stay longer, not because I don't want to go home to my baby, but because I'm really into what I'm doing and wish I could keep working on it. I get a sincere sense of enjoyment and fulfillment from my job. Not every day at work is a great day, but I've never truly felt a sense of dread when I walk into the office on a Monday morning.
I think working full time and wanting to work full time throws a lot of people for a loop, especially stay at home moms. I've been asked if I don't get a sense of enjoyment from my baby if I'm needing to find it in my work at the office. These two things, family and work, are not the same thing. It is not the same feeling. I am a mom, but I am also me. When I became a mother I added another being in my life for me to love, but it did not replace the love I have for other things. Becoming a mom did not take away the passion I have for other endeavors. It added to it. I work because I want my family to have the best health care. I work so my family can have the income to send our children to the best day care. I work so my family can live in a nice home, take vacations, support two hungry furbabies and have opportunities we might otherwise have to go without. I want P to go to college. I want P to not have to worry about how she will go to college. I might never be able to afford to pay for her entire college experience, but when the time comes I want to be able to tell her I tried, I am trying, and we're going to make it work. I want P to grow up in a place where she can take advantage of every opportunity she wants, not just the ones I can fit into my budget. I work and give up time during the day with her so I can provide her with life long advantages, not just short term ones.
After work I am overjoyed to pick up P from daycare. We go home and I let the dogs out and feed them their supper. Then her and I play, she helps me make dinner, watches me fold laundry and unload the dishwasher. On a rare occasion we might have to run an errand. We eat dinner together and clean up the house, then Hubs comes home and gives her a bath and puts her to bed. I keep cleaning and doing laundry, letting the dogs out, prepping meals and snacks for the next day and making grocery lists. I might pay a bill or answer some emails. I'm constantly moving. Sometimes I go to the gym or make a late grocery store run. By 8 p.m. I am almost always settled in on the couch with a glass of wine and Words With Friends.
My day ends at 10 p.m. I'm exhausted. But sometimes I am enjoying this time with Hubs so much that I just can't bring myself to close my eyes. I enjoy his company. I enjoy having conversations with him and laughing with him after a long day without the distractions of a little person tugging on my pant leg or crying because a dog licked her face. Sometimes my day ends at 11 p.m. Sometimes later.
My days are busy, crazy, non-stop, and rarely involve a break. I am constantly multi-tasking and constantly wishing coffee stayed warmer longer. There are days I feel like saying screw it and letting the house get messy and grabbing a pizza for dinner instead of cooking, but my mom never did that. My mom never stopped working, moving and giving. Whether I like it or not, P is watching me. P is studying and learning from everything I'm doing. If I give up, if I say screw it, if I let myself stop living these crazy days, what will she think of me? What will she think of our family? Of herself? Of her future? Maybe I'm over thinking it.
Of course I miss her! I have her picture on my desk. I have her artwork on my walls. I think about her almost all day. I talk about her to my co-workers and show them funny pictures of her on my phone. I don't think about the time I'm missing out on with her because I'm too busy planning all the things we're going to do together in the time we do have. I don't worry about milestones she's making without me, but I hope if she does start walking that daycare keeps their mouths shut and lets me think she's doing it for the first time with me. I leave P every day with people who keep her safe and meet her needs, who play with her and provide her with way cooler toys than what I can. I leave her with people she loves and reaches for when we drop her off every morning, and I wouldn't have it any other way.
At the end of the day I love being a working mom. I take pride in the fact that I work my 45 hours a week, can come home and still take care of my family, the household, my two Ferrel dogs, and keep everyone happy. That's why I work. That's why I won't be a stay at home mom. That's why I won't ever feel guilty for putting P in daycare so I can go to work. And that's why I'm grateful for the opportunities I have and that I'm able to provide my family with. And one day, I hope P will be grateful too.
**Disclaimer: this post is a reflection of our everyday life post-recovery from PPD. This is not a representation of what life was like before seeking help and starting a treatment plan. I also want to make it clear that I in no way feel superior to stay at home parents. Two, full time working parents is what works for our family at this moment in our lives. For those who do stay home with their children, it truly does take a tremendous amount of strength and integrity and I admire you for those qualities.**