Today marks 10 weeks since I started my new job. Things are getting a tiny bit better as far as having work to do and feeling involved, but we're coming up on the end of the fiscal year so things are crazy and most people are in "just get it done mode"...which means that in a lot of cases it doesn't make logical sense to pass a lot of things off to me because it takes time to explain and train. I have no doubt that as time goes on and I'm involved in the start-to-finish process things will get very busy and I'll be dreaming about this time where things weren't wall-to-wall projects. But for now I'm just contributing where I can and taking it as a good sign when they say they're happy with my work and my progression.
But the job itself is not what this post is about. As we hit the 10-week mark I find myself disappointed in myself that I seem to be right back in the working mom rut I was in before. Misguided though it may have been, I really hoped that my time off would refresh me and have a lasting impact on my perspective even after that break was over. Turns out that whatever impact it had didn't last long.
At the very least, I had hoped that having nearly three months off would have refreshed me to the point that I wouldn't feel desperate for vacation time too soon. I'd hoped that the mere sense of gratefulness for having a job would sustain me through tough weeks and I'd feel rested and ready to take on any project that came my way. That lasted for a month or so, and then I guess reality set in. I'm still just tired. It didn't matter so much when I was home all day (though, strangely, I probably only took a couple naps the entire time I was off), but being tired makes working so much harder, and there simply aren't enough hours in the day to do what I need to do AND get enough sleep. I'm back to having a hard time getting up, then rushing around in the morning, daydreaming during the day about all the things I'd like to be doing instead, and cramming my evening with as many to-do list items as possible. Add Jacob's sports or even a workout into the mix and we're facing a dinner time that runs directly into bedtime. Once the kids are in bed, most nights I struggle to stay awake while sitting in my chair. You'd think that should be a sign that I should just get up and go to bed, but I'm simply too tired for that and often I'm still groggily convincing myself that I need to wake up and get things done. Sometimes it happens, sometimes it doesn't. But I'm not spending enough quality time with the kids, and I'm not getting enough sleep...and that's a recipe for disaster all around.
I find myself longing for the weekends, and dreaming about all of the things I'd like to do with my vacation days, although I definitely can't take them until July since everyone is busting their butts for the next two weeks. Even then I need to work around being out of the office for my conference in July, and I don't want to miss out on any important planning meetings as the summer progresses. But I know how this goes...suddenly the summer will be over, I won't have taken advantage of the nice weather and the kids' flexibility, and I'll be kicking myself.
I realized the other day that I really haven't sat down and played with Carter and his toys in far too long. Honestly, we've been relying on the kids' joint fascination with the show "Paw Patrol" more than we should. Both kids like it, and it's awfully easy to pop an episode on after dinner and have the kids snuggle in with Daddy on the couch for a bit. Craig relaxes, and I try to get a few things done before I run out of energy. Then suddenly it's bedtime and the battles begin. I've tried in the last couple days to make more of an effort to just play with Carter, particularly because I know he's at such a great age for it. I'm trying, but it's hard sometimes. If I had all the time in the world, sure, it would be at the top of my list...but when I look around the house at the piles and the dirty floors and all of the things that I need to do to keep the house functional, it's almost an impossible scenario. How can I do both? It seems like the easy choice to sit down and play, but as the list grows longer, it becomes an even bigger monster to slay and soon enough it's overwhelming. Ultimately, fixing it pulls me away from my mom role even more. I often feel like when I don't put in enough time to keep household things functioning, suddenly I'm forced to play catch-up in a more concentrated period of time, meaning I'm available even less than usual for a while. It's all about finding the balance, and I guess I still haven't.
I really hoped that having a cleaner, neater house while I was off would inspire me to keep it that way once I was back to work. I discovered that I didn't hate cleaning--I just hated devoting valuable time to doing it amidst a busy schedule. I also learned that it didn't take long to make an impact--15 minutes here and there can do a lot--and I try to remind myself of that when a project seems unmanageable. Sometimes that thinking does work, but most of the time I feel like I don't even have that 15 minutes to take, or I take it and 15 minutes turns into 30 or 45 and any spare time I'd set aside to be a good mom goes right out the window. The mom guilt gets pretty bad at that point, and while I know people will poo-poo that because we all just do the best we can, it's still not fair to my kids that I'm choosing other things over them. I don't want them to live in filth or not have food in their lunch bag or miss the deadline to bring a picture in for their Father's Day project either, but again, there aren't enough hours in the day to fulfill the physical and emotional needs the way I should. It sucks. Seriously.
Every day I look at the pictures of the boys on my desk and find it so ironic that they're both the reason that I sit at that desk and the reason why it's so hard to sit at that desk. I'm so thankful to have this job and I know this is just how life has to be. We have two pretty happy kids, loving families, and a nice home, so we really don't have much to complain about. I just hate that it's so hard to find balance, and I hate that all of the de-stressing I did over those three months has faded away so quickly. Boo.