Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Working Mama . . . .

On March 1, I return to work. As I've said, I've really, really missed work. I haven't been in my office with any sort of regularity since that doctor's appointment in June where I got put on bedrest and that feels forever long ago. So, I AM anxious to return to work. To get dressed up every day, drive downtown to my office, and to be a lawyer again. Because I LIKE (love) being a lawyer.

But, it IS a mixed bag. I'm already remembering how it felt to work late and miss my girl. To have my heart literally ache because I missed her. And now, my heart will ache for TWO little girls, and I'll have TWO little girls to balance my time with when I am home.

(Oh how I'll miss weekday lunches with this little lady!)

But, I truly do know that I'm a more complete person when I'm working. And, maternity leave and bed rest has shown me that my children are no worse off for it. (That's not to say there haven't been times in the past when I've sobbed and felt like I *should* be home with Sam and mourned that staying home simply isn't in the cards for me, particularly since I'm our primary breadwinner -- and I'm sure I'll have those moments in the future too -- but my view on "having" to work has really changed in the last year).

In all this time I've been home, Sammie B's amazing, wonderful, fabulous nanny has kept working with her. They are always in and out -- to school, to therapies, etc., but in between all of that, I've had the absolute pleasure of watching them together, and I know my girl is in amazing hands -- dare I say, the BEST hands. Having this fabulous person (that Sam just adores) "working" with Sammie B all day, every day, truly, truly has allowed B and I the freedom to just be "mom" and "dad" and not feel as much pressure to play therapists all the time. We work with Sammie B too, but there's a certain freedom (one that we deserve!) that comes with knowing that her nanny does so much with her. And, I've probably said it before, but Sammie B always, always does better at therapy appointments when I'm not there. There's definitely some "rescue me" whining when I'm there, and things are hard. But her nanny truly is like her best friend, and Sammie B is motivated by her in a way that only a best friend can be . . . so although I will miss Sammie B like crazy when I'm back at work, there isn't even a little part of me that thinks, "I should stay home with her," because I actually believe that her nanny is BETTER than me at "working with her" and that Sammie B deserves a mama who is just that . . . "mama," not therapist.

The hardest part about going back to work is of course the hours. I KNOW that the ebb and flow of litigation makes work/life balance hard, and I also realize that I'm at a point in my career where I have to really decide where I want to be in three years and start working toward that . . . if I want to make partner, it is time to step it up, travel more, take opportunities that come my way (even when they might skew that work-life balance in a way that is hard for us) and start thinking more and more about client-development. B and I have talked a lot about this . . . because of two pregnancies, two times on bed rest and two maternity leaves, I feel like I've sacrificed a lot of career development in the last four years (though of course, I wouldn't trade it for the world) and now's the time that I have to step it up to keep moving forward. The timing isn't exactly ideal -- as we adjust to life as a family of four, but it is what it is, and we are determined to make it all work. I'm lucky that I work for a firm that has afforded me a lot of flexibility. I can work from home any day that I need (or just want) to be at an appointment with Sammie B. That flexibility (even when it sometimes means sleepless nights for me because I've done the "mom" thing during daylight on a day when Sammie B has needed me, and end up working all night . . . ) is invaluable to me in my life right now. B's job is not flexible, but he has super regular hours. The predictability/regularity of his hours and the flexibility my firm has allowed me is how we've made the work/life balance thing work thus far.

B is actually taking all of March off, which is going to make the transition from maternity leave to work so much easier and he'll get to have a little taste of what I've enjoyed the last months. Watching Sammie B with her nanny, having lunch with them each day, and lots and lots of cuddle time with Mia. He didn't get to take any long leave with Sammie B, so this is a great opportunity for him to have some time home, and we are both really excited about it!

And once B and I are both back at work, Miss Mia will be going to day-care part time -- just three days a week, on Sammie B's heavy therapy appointment days. This has been a tough decision for us. Our childcare costs are literally going to be astronomical, because we'll be paying for both daycare AND a nanny, but we want Sammie B to continue to get the one-on-one time she needs and we didn't want Mia to spend her life in waiting rooms at therapy offices. So, she'll be in daycare Monday, Wednesday and Friday, I'll be home on Tuesdays (HOPEFULLY more often than not! and plan to do a Mommy & Me swim class with Mia in the mornings, and Sammie B's usual swimming therapy with her in the afternoon), and our nanny will only have both girls on Thursdays. I was feeling terrible about this arrangement, trying to figure out how we could give each girl the best . . . and wishing we could afford two nannies (I KNOW - INSANE, right?!) but then I toured the daycare, liked it, and I truly left with such peace thinking "this is going to be great for Mia!" So that's the plan.

I'm nervous, but hopeful and cautiously optimistic. Here's to hoping that daycare IS fabulous for Mia, and that things DO fall into place this year for my little family. And, here's to hoping that someday, we'll be able to afford a vacation . . . because we darn sure won't be able to this year . . . our already non-existent "vacation" fund is going straight to childcare expenses!

One month left . . . and I plan to spend this month enjoying my two girls (and trying to lose this last ten pounds of baby weight so I can fit in my work clothes)!

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