Earlier this week, my sweet James Michael turned four months old. That means I’ve been back at work for more than a month, and just when I thought I was getting the hang of it all and finding some sort of balance, baby boy’s sleeping habits reverted so that he started waking up more often at night.
Being a full-time working mom is tough, but I know millions of women do it. Knowing that doesn’t make it easier, but it makes me realize it’s survivable. During maternity leave, my sole focus was James Michael. Even though I was constantly sleep deprived, my attention was on him and his needs. So if I had a couple particularly bad nights in a row, I could still manage and take care of him and plan my days accordingly.
Now that I’m working, my attention is divided and I’m juggling the expectations of my baby, myself, my husband, friends, family, in-laws, etc. It seemed much more manageable to balance these relationships when I wasn’t working. But now, it seems I’m always in catch-up mode.
There are never (and I realize will never be) enough hours in a day to get everything done. I constantly remind myself that taking a step back and slowing down is ok–that I should enjoy the moments I have with my son while he is this young. But it’s hard (as all working moms know), because even when you’re spending time with your baby after work, you’re constantly thinking about that ever-increasing to-do list and scheming how to make time to check off one more task within a very short window of free time: clean the bottles, prep bottles for next day, do laundry, cook dinner, prep lunch, pump, clean, blog (who am I kidding, this is obviously lowest on my priority list!).
This past week, I briefly had another one of those “I can’t do this” moments. I’m sure the lack of sleep and the imbalanced horomones definitely contributed to it. I’m one of those people who wants to do it all–to be it all for those I care about. It’s crazy, but I feel bad when I’m either too tired or don’t have time to make the kind of dinner I want for my husband. I feel bad when the house is dirty and I’m too tired to clean it after the baby’s in bed. I feel bad when I only get to spend a couple hours at night with James Michael.
I truly admire all the single moms out there who make it work. I’m pretty much a single mom at night during the week while James is running the gym, and I know just how hard it is.
I’m still learning how to balance everything, and I’m honestly not sure if I’ll ever get the hang of it or have enough attention to devote to everything I’d like. But I’m trying to catch myself and remember to take a few steps back every so often to mentally capture these moments that are so fleetingly precious.