Friday, January 7, 2011

Debating About Going Back to Work

My daughter is 7 months old today.  For 6 full months, I have been a stay-at-home mom.  This new career of mine has been nothing short of a roller coaster ride.  I have literally loved and hated it, but the hate generally coincided with terrible bouts of postpartum struggles.

Somewhere around the 4th month, I began to think my postpartum anger and emotional outbursts were never going to leave.  However, in the 6th month, I started to feel like myself again.  Perhaps this is because we visited family across the country for the first time since before the baby was born.  Perhaps it is because my hormones are finally leveling out.  I don't know.  I do know, however, that I am ready to jump into something again.  I say "something" because I'm not sure what "something" is.  I want to go back to work; I want to pursue my master's degree; I want to continue staying home with the baby; I want to challenge myself again.

The easiest place to start would be to go back to work.  I am a high school English teacher and have a position available to me.  I miss the students, and I miss feeling productive.  I'm not saying being a stay-at-home mother isn't a worthwhile job.  I have so much respect for SAHMs.  It's difficult.  I love the baby aspect of it all.  I love the time I spend with my little one and the fact that I don't miss a single movement or sound.  Being stuck in this house day in and day out is where I am struggling.  If we lived closer to family and friends, it would be easier.  We're stuck in the middle of nowhere, far away from our loved ones... far away from my sanity.  Soo... I kind of want to get back into the grind of teaching, but I feel as though the cons outweigh the pros....

Let me sort this out....

Pros:

  1. Seeing my students and teaching each day
  2. Paycheck
  3. Accomplishing set goals
  4. Interacting with colleagues
  5. Having to dress professionally
  6. Running around like a mad woman
  7. Problem solving 
Cons:
  1. Being away from Emma
  2. Worrying about Emma ALL day
  3. Knowing that someone else will be responsible for catering to my daughter like only I know how 
  4. NO BABYSITTER (counts 10 times because this will be impossible unless we find someone I completely trust)
  5. I can't fit into any of my old work clothes and can't really afford to buy new ones.
  6. Emma sleeps until 7 or 8am and goes to bed by 6:30pm.  I would only have about 2-3 (awake) hours with her each day. 
  7. Interacting with colleagues (falls into both categories)
  8. All of the work I would have to do outside of the school day
Conclusion:  The majority of my "cons" could be lumped into the first point on the list.  I would have to be away from Emma.  Ugh.  

I don't know what I'm supposed to do.  If we could find a great babysitter, maybe this wouldn't be such a difficult decision.  

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Postpartum Issues: Better In Time

If you have found my blog because you are experiencing postpartum insomnia, depression, anger, and/or hair loss (as I've written much about these areas), I am happy to share the best "cure" I have found.

TIME.

I am very happy to report that after 6 months of craziness, life is finally starting to get back to whatever excuse for normal I had prior to the insanity brought on by postpartum.

I still have some difficulty sleeping but not so much that it causes problems.  I am still opinionated and have trouble keeping thoughts to myself, but that uncontrollable anger and intense frustration are gone.  My hair is still falling out but not nearly as much as it was.  It is also growing back!  Finally!  I did have to chop it off and color it darker because it changed so much after Emma was born.  I am OK with that though.  Seeing new hair growth where bald spots once were is well worth the shorter, darker hair.

When people would tell me to be patient a few months ago and "just give it time," I would get annoyed. I was at my last rope and needed to know how to fix my postpartum issues at that exact moment.  I did try a lot of strategies, and I'm sure all of them helped, but the biggest factor is "giving it time."  Don't lose hope, and keep trying everything you can to cope with your postpartum struggles.  Just know that it does get better in each day that passes.

The Bond Between a Little Girl and Her Daddy

This may sound cliche, but I was initially drawn to my husband because of his obvious "good dad" characteristics....

We were only 18 when we first met, and I had no desire to be a mother.  I had created this image of a powerful businesswoman in a suit (who kept tennis shoes in her briefcase).  I was going to go straight into graduate school after earning my bachelor's degree... yadda, yadda, yadda.  Subconsciously, I must have been looking for a great guy who would eventually be an amazing father because that is exactly what I found.  Right away, he told me about his 4 younger brothers and sisters.  I could tell how much he cared about them by the way he spoke, but it was solidified when I visited his family for the first time.  His youngest sister was only 2 years old.  All of the kids are significantly younger than he, and he had clearly learned how to care for little ones.  I had never met a guy with such fatherly instincts.

I was hooked.  Not having had my own dad around much, I knew having a good father for my children was an area where there would be no compromise.

I am so thankful to have found such an awesome guy.  When Emma kicks her feet and that crooked smile spreads across her face each time her dad walks in the door, I get those warm, fuzzy feelings inside.  She loves her daddy.  They're best buddies.  She's a very lucky little girl.  :-)


Two 6 Month Old Babies/Polar Opposites

This particular Christmas was an exciting one.  Our family lives in Indiana; we live in Arizona, and in June, my sister and I gave birth to beautiful little girls within 3 days of each other.  This Christmas vacation was the first time we were able to introduce the babies.

It is so incredibly interesting how 2 babies who are only 3 days apart can be so different.  My gorgeous niece has beautiful, brown skin, dark hair (parts of it very long), dark eyes, and long legs.  Our little girl has porcelain skin (a.k.a super pale), big blue eyes, blond fuzz for hair (if anything), short, stubby legs, and rolls upon rolls of chubbiness.  My niece has an old soul and knowing eyes.  She's calm, reserved, and rather independent.  Our little one is a ball of energy, gets bored easily, and remains busy all day.  Everything she touches goes straight to her mouth.  Already a bully, she pulled the niece's hair and made her cry.  The difference in cries is interesting as well.  My daughter's cry could shatter glass.  Well, maybe not, but it is loud and clear.  The niece?  Soft and muffled.

The niece is a little sturdier on her feet (probably because of the longer legs) and sits by herself with no problem.  Emma still topples over (probably because of her chubbier torso) but is constantly on the move.  She is figuring out how to crawl and the niece is perfectly content remaining still.  The niece is quiet and introspective.  Emma is a chatterbox and tells everyone how she's feeling.  :-)

It was fun having the girls together.  I'm excited to see how they grow and become best friends.  :-)  My point for this post, however, is to reiterate how different babies are.  Every baby develops at his or her own pace.  If you're a new mom and constantly comparing your little one to others or even to the milestone charts found all over the internet, don't obsess over it.  We're individuals from birth.  We all learn and grow in various ways and at various times.


Procrastination...

I don't know if anyone actually "follows" my blog regularly; I highly doubt it.  I am assuming my friends and family read it on occasion, but for the most part, random passersby stumble upon it through Google search boxes.  Perhaps a mother or two see a post pop up on their Blogger dashboard and take a gander once in a while.  However, if you happen to have been checking up on my blog over the past few weeks, I apologize for dropping off the face of the earth.

The first time I took a break from blogging was because of holiday travel.  Then, my daughter got sick (for weeks), and I just continued to put it off.  Once I get out of the habit of doing something and try to get back into it, procrastination overcomes me.

Alas, here I am.  We are back from our 2nd round of holiday travels and finally settling into our routine once again.  Honestly, I had no intentions of jumping back into the blog today, but my husband is watching football, the baby is asleep, and I'm pretty much caught up with my cleaning.

I've been thinking about this blog for days.  I have many ideas for posts, but they aren't specifically related to the original purpose of this blog.  When I started writing this, I wanted to help other moms who are in my shoes by organizing useful information.  My daughter is almost 7 months old now.  I think after about 6 months, you're not really a "new" mom anymore.  I think I've gotten the hang of this, and I don't freak out or worry much about things.  What I'm saying is, there aren't really any burning issues in the back of my mind when it comes to providing information to new moms.  I've also managed to get my postpartum craziness under control.  My hair is still falling out, but it's gotten much better.  Plus, it's growing back!  :-)  I am no longer angry at the world.  My motivation to write has somewhat decreased.

Because of all of this, my posts might be a little more random in content and timing.  I do, however, still want to offer my advice (whatever it may be worth) to anyone seeking it.  If you are a new mother and want my opinion on "mom stuff", please let me know.