Balancing act

Babbling baby has become the soundtrack of my sanity these past few weeks (and no, I’m not a glutten for punishment).

Deciding to come back to work was agonizing. Thankfully I have a supportive boss and have been able to work out a schedule that allows me to be both a reporter and a mom. A chunk of my day is spent in the office and then I can fill in with extra hours making calls or writing from my kitchen table.

I worried I would feel like I wasn’t doing either job well and that I would be constantly distracted by the one while doing the other.

But having Baby Girl spend at least half of her day with me instead of at daycare means I don’t feel like I’m abandoning her.

The downside is that sometimes she gets vocal when I’m trying to have a conversation with someone on the phone – like yesterday when she sang away during two separate interviews.

I gave her a card and that entertained her for awhile as she tried to stretch it and eat it and had a lengthy conversation with it (I imagine she said things like: “Get in my mouth” and “Boy, you taste good”).

But the novelty quickly disappeared and she became frustrated (the card must have said “No, I will not get in your mouth”). Her cooing turned into the sounds that signal an impending major crying fit, which would have drowned out the voice of the person I was trying to interview.

Balancing her in my lap while I used my shoulder to hold my phone to my ear and typed notes wasn’t the most graceful thing I’ve ever done, but it got the job(s) finished. Neither person on the other end of the line minded Baby Girl’s noise either, or at least they said they didn’t. And I’m feeling accomplished for writing two stories and having time to read to Baby Girl in between interviews.

The other downside is that she likes to eat things, and by things I mean everything, including notes and my laptop screen. At least I know I have a smile built into my day ‘cause she sure is cute when she does it.

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Heartbreaking work

 

Welcome back to work! How are you doing? my coworkers asked.

I tried to put on a brave face, but I still cried.

Brokenhearted is how I had described how I felt about going back to work to Jared.

While working as a reporter fulfills me, motherhood is me.

But if I stay home, I give up an enjoyable career I spent years building, and once Baby Girl goes to school I won’t be content at home. In the meantime I won’t be contributing to the household income. I already took four-and-a-half months off for maternity leave.

But am I being selfish by not taking the chance that I would find a similar job later? Am I shortchanging Baby Girl at a time when she needs me most?

Just as much as I want to be with her, though, I want to show her how she can do anything and the value of meaningful work. I want her to shape the world and not be hindered by guilt for having priorities in addition to having a family.

I won’t lie to her, though. Having priorities in addition to the priority of family is gut wrenching.

I’m filled with grief for the once-in-a-lifetime moments I likely won’t experience and I’m jealous that Baby Girl will look to someone else to soothe her discomforts and for guidance.

My heart seizes in my chest every time I leave for work and I blink away tears caused by uncertainty about my decision and just plain missing her.

I’ll try to focus on the positives, like a supportive husband, a flexible workplace, coworkers who also are friends, a job about which I am passionate, and knowing that my sister-in-law loves Baby Girl and is happy to spend the day with her.

And I’ll hope fervently that those are enough to stop my heart from breaking anymore.

 

 

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