Wednesday, January 12, 2011
On working and baby raising…
The day before Lu was born Andy was promoted to a salaried position at his company. We knew it was probably going to happen, but it was a comforting blessing to have it happen the day before she was born. When I went into labor that night, in the back of our minds we knew that now I could stay home with the baby if I wanted to. In fact, it made the most sense for our lives for me to stay home since childcare cost so much.
During those first few weeks I was so excited that I didn’t have to go back to work, but I knew that at some point I would probably get tired of being home all the time. I had always admired those industrious stay at home moms who seem to make home and children a lovely, exciting full time job. However, I had never envisioned myself as a stay at home mom. I enjoy little of domesticity (although I have come to enjoy some aspects of the home) and I’ve always liked having a traditional job.
So after we moved I started looking for a part time job. I looked into a few different things-realty, coffee shops, freelance writing, etsy, I even had a bad stint with a survey company that had me getting telemarketing calls for months after. Nothing really fit me or our lives. I applied to lots of jobs, but applying to jobs online has always felt a bit like entering the lottery to me.
In mid-October, I got an email asking me to interview for a technical writing job. To this day I have no memory of applying to the job, although I did finally find a copy of the add in my email, so I know I did apply to it at some point. I got that email on a Tuesday and was doing work for an IT company by the following Monday. It has been an amazing job. I’m still part time but working up to full time, and it is all working from home. I am learning so much about the technical community and improving my writing skills for the niche.
However, I have definitely had to adjust to being a double working mama. It’s true, baby raising is truly a full time job, one that Andy and I share, but during the day while he is at the office, I am Lu’s main caretaker. And now, I am also logging 20 hours a week in my other job—technical writing. So during the day I work a little on my laptop, chase the baby, make her some oatmeal, write a little more, and swap again. It’s a delicate balance, and I struggle sometimes to pay full attention to my work. I am slowly getting better at it. She now goes for long 20 minute stretches happily playing by herself, and I use that time to focus more intently on work.
It has also been interesting working at home in general. This is the first time I’ve had a work from home job, and it can be difficult to separate home from work, and work from home. I tend to be distracted by home type work, sorting, cleaning, dishes, while I’m working and distracted by work problems when I’m doing house projects. I’m slowly learning how to separate the two. I structure our days as well as I can with an 11-month-old’s whims to answer to. In the morning I focus primarily on work since Lu tends to be pretty happy during that time. Around noon we make lunch, and then Lu usually (theoretically) takes a good long nap, while I go get in a work out with the wii fit (side note, the wii fit has been amazing in helping me begin a work out regime after a long absence). After Lu wakes up, I usually spend some time just playing with her, do a bit more work, then around four I let myself do house work—cleaning, maybe a little laundry. I find that for me housework tends to take over if I start. One project leads to another and sucks up my day.
So if you read this long post, well that’s amazing. I just have not found much out there in the realm of double working mamas so I thought I would share some of my experiences so far. Definitely a huge part of making it all work is Andy as my teammate. He has taken on more of the house related work since I’ve been working keeping me from feeling over committed. I like that we share in all of this—raising Lu, taking care of our house, earning our income, and support each other in each area. Me working has helped us be a team in each area of our lives.