Work Woes

Tomorrow starts my personal countdown of the return to civilization. The nanny is scheduled to start Thursday, and then the following Thursday I go back to work. Tick tock, tick tock

The anxiety has subsided a bit, and I am feeling more confident about leaving Elliott for a couple of days a week. He is hearty (17.5 lbs!!!), and healthy and overall a very happy, peaceful baby. He adapts well to changing environments, isnt scared when new people hold him, and is in good spirits most days.

Hence, the reason why when my boss called me this past Thursday I hung up feeling a bit stressed. The conversation lasted 2 days, and we still dont have a resolution. But, the cliff notes version is that one of the companies owners doesnt like the schedule that I will be working, as he doesnt feel that it supports the best interest of our clients. After hearing his reasoning, I dont disagree… But, if you recall…my boss was the one who set my new schedule.

We ended the conversation on Friday without closure. Boss man needs to talk with the owner, and then get back with me. But, basically…I explained that I can’t currently work the schedule he wants, as everyone is already committed and contracted, and there is not a way to change course now…or at least right now. I suggested that I come back to work under our previously agreed upon schedule, try it out, and hope that I can switch some days around in the long run and that the nanny’s schedule opens up. Or, I offered to train a replacement should this not work out for the company.

I have a ton of mixed feelings about this exchange…first off, why didnt my boss clear it with the owners BEFORE he approved it for me? Second, why are they waiting until 2 weeks before I go back to work to bring all of this up? Third, if some sketchy things hadnt occurred in our other office, we would still have the other trainer on staff and this wouldnt be an issue. Fourth, will my be boss be a stand up kind of guy, and tell the owners that HE was the one who already approved my schedule…and that it isn’t me being a difficult employee? And lastly, in a small way…I hope it doesn’t work out, and I can stay home after all (although, there is NO WAY we could afford it…i checked and re-checked the budget, and then checked it again. No matter how many things I cut out of the budget, or expenses I pair down–we wouldn’t have enough money to even pay the basic expenses without my income).

So, I am trying not to stress or worry. But, failing miserably at both. Suggestions? Thoughts?

Part-time Mama

My bosses, reluctantly, approved my request to work part-time when I return from Maternity Leave. Woot!

I feel pretty relieved to be able to be home with Elliott 2 week days, and only have to work 3 days. Hubby will also be taking off 1 day a week to be with Elliott. The other 2 days we will have a nanny come to the house and watch him. I feel like this is the best decision for all parties.

If I would have stayed home, and not gone back to work…I suspect that I would have resented it. More directed towards my husband than anything. Just over the last few weeks, I have noticed and observed some behaviors and feelings that I didnt think would permeate my thought cavity. For example-if my husband is the sole financial provider…he would be under a lot of stress top provide for us, and need to work all the time to feel comfortable and confident that he is doing just that. I would become resentful that he is working too much, and not spending enough time with his son and I. He would then feel more stressed out, and not be any fun to be around. Thereby perpetuating a vicious cycle of disappointment and anger. Another scenario would be one where I am home all day with Elliott taking care of him, and doing household chores. Once my husband came home from work, I would expect to get a break from kid duty. But, if he was tired too, or had to work late, or wanted to go out with the boys or to a game…I could become bitter and resentful at being ‘stuck in the house’. Neither of these situations speak to the stressors that are associated with not being a financial contributor anymore either. There are an entirely new set of worries that I dont even want to think about.

So, being a part-time professional and a full-time Mommy seems to be the best thing for me and my family right now. The time that I am away from my career and the work force in the grand scheme of my working lifetime is minuscule, and the impact will hopefully be small. But the impact of me being home with Elliott I think is going to be grand.

There are some practical things to work out of course. Since I will not be working more than 30 hours, I no longer will qualify for medical/dental/vision insurance. So, they will have to offer me COBRA, which we will pay out of pocket…at the low, low price of $500 for the 2 of us. Yikes, is right. But, either I pay it, or hubby pays it. Either way it has to get paid. Then, when I go back to work full-time, the company will pick up the cost again.

We also have to budget for the loss of my income and the nanny’s salary. Plus, should we ever want to go out sans kiddo, we need to factor in childcare costs.

The benefits to the company are that I will likely not need to take off too much work to attend doctors appointments and the like, since I will be home 2 days a week. I can schedule most of those things on the days I am home. And since I will only be in the office 20 odd hours a week, I will be forced to be efficient and very time conscious. That can only be good for the company!

So, I have been communicating via email and phone conversations with my bosses, and while they want me to wait until the end of September to commit to anything (I imagine for fear of committing and then changing my mind…), I am already starting to plan in my head for my return (boo hoo only 5 more weeks). I put my re-start date on the calendar and the nanny’s start date on the calendar for the week prior.

Things that I have to prepare or get ready before I go back:
a new budget
a pumping schedule for Elliott and for my donations
Elliott’s schedule (as soon as he has one…add that to the list too)
Lose 15 more pounds so that my work clothes fit again (lose another 30 after that to look good)
keep training for the Mud Run so I dont look and act the fool at the race

Cleared for takeoff

I had my 6 week post-partum follow up appointment with my Midwife yesterday. All is well, my incision is healing nicely. I am clear for exercise and sex. My breasts and nipples look good, and (drum roll please….) they didnt ask me if I had help at home. Maybe by now they know that I dont.

I also decided to have an IUD placed, so that for a bit I am safe from worrying about getting pregnant again. Even though, if I am exclusively breastfeeding, I should be pretty safe…you can never be too sure. What a process the IUD placement was. Apparently my cervix is oddly placed, and it took the midwife and an assistant both working down under to get a clear sight path. All the while, I had Elliott on my chest trying to pacify him (he was a crank pot yesterday), trying not to move so they wouldn’t botch the procedure.

I also sent the email to my employer to request a part-time gig. My immediate boss wrote back and said that once he discusses it with the 2 owners, he will call me to discuss. I am keeping my fingers crossed.

I have been milking (no pun) the whole 6 weeks no exercise thing, and havent really done too much in the way of physical activity. But, since I now have no more excuses as to why I havent lost all my pregnancy weight (30 pounds down, 15 more pounds to go)…I got off my rump and went for a 2 mile walk this AM with the kiddo and pooch in tow. We walked often when I was pregnant and recovering. But, now I have to get serious.

It was a good feeling to be out and about again, and it was still early enough that it wasnt too muggy. The humidity here is a killer lately, and we dont have AC. Part of my motivation is also the fact that in October, my work sponsors us in the Mud Run. We are competing against our times last year, and for every minute we finish faster than our time last year, they will pay us $100!!! Last year I completed it in 95 minutes, and made $550 (the prize last year was $50 per minute). This year I dont have any hopes of beating my time, but I am still going to walk the 6.2 miles and finish the race. Since I havent put my running shoes on in 9 plus months, I am going to keep my goals reasonable. Plus, they have already secured me a spot, and a T-shirt!

Elliott is doing great. He is adorable and of course I am falling more and more in love with him every day. Hubby is taking a day and half off of on site work each week to be with him. So, for the first time today, I left during this time. I only went to the grocery store, and was back just as he awoke from a nap and needed to nurse. But, it felt good and liberating to be able to leave and know that he was in good, safe hands and to still be able to nurse him.

I am still pumping every morning to control the over-active let down, and occasionally in the middle of the night (depending on how long he sleeps and if we get to nurse on both sides), but the breastfeeding this has taken a very positive turn. And I also am getting a nice supply built up in the freezer. I am still uncertain how much he eats for each meal, but I am going to guess its about 3-4 ounces. Every time we go to a breastfeeding support meeting, his has already eaten and is napping on and off so we cant get a true gage of actual ouncage consumed.

My friend, who works here suggested that I pump and donate my extra milk. I am going to get screened for it, and see if I qualify. No sense in letting the over-supply go to waste. Thoughts?

SAHM or not…

Why in my rational mind do I know that I have to go back to work, at least part time. But, my everyday brain keeps looking for ways to make it work with me being a SAHM?

It is coming down to the wire now too. The nanny needs to set her fall schedule. I need to get clearance from my work. We need to plan out our budget (for either variable). My hubby needs to plan his schedule, depending on what I end up doing. Etc. etc.

I need help. Please put your 2 cents worth in, and let me know what you think.

PS-finally made it to the LLL meeting, and 2 times to a breastfeeding support group. We also got a new bed, which makes night feeding a ton easier!

Consider this:

I am ready for maternity leave

I am currently struggling with myself and my abilities. I am at home today, and not at work where i should be (or should i?). Therein lies my dilemma. If I feel like I am ready for maternity leave, will I be letting my boss, employer, husband or self down? Am I being weak, and a whiner?

Today marks my 36th week of being pregnant, and starting about half way through last week- I started to feel pretty run down. I don’t mean like I am getting a cold, or something like that. I mean-I am starting to really feel this pregnancy. My boss starting asking me last week, on daily basis when I thought I would be going out of leave (as if i can just set the date and go-I tried that and he shot that idea down). He is obviously worried about the transition, who will train our clients while I am out, and the like. But, inversely-he has known about my pregnancy almost as long as I have-and has had plenty of time to prepare.

Let me list of some of my complaints, hopefully it will make me feel better, and in my attempt to feel better through venting, perhaps win you over to my side.

  • Elliott’s favorite place in my womb is tucked nicely under my rib cage. I don’t mean just a foot either. I mean him whole body is nestled in there. This of course, means that I can not look over my shoulder when driving, I cant sit up straight or lean forward, nor can I breathe or eat with ease. It is also triggering painful BH. This position is especially comfortable for my son when I try to sleep lying down (like in bed). I have been sleeping on the couch, sitting up for the last few nights( which also helps with my chronic acid reflux and heartburn-a bonus).
  • The lack of sleep hasn’t affected me too much up until this point. I didn’t have any energy loss during the first 2 trimesters, and always managed to get enough rest and not feel too tired. Well, apparently those days (and nights) are over. I am now fatigued just as a matter of daily practice. So fatigue along with lack of sleep is a double whammy for me. And it is starting to grade on my patience and my nerves, as well as my energy levels.
  • Since my lack of restful nights, I am having increasing trouble getting out of bed in the morning. I rack my brain thinking about all of the lies and ways I can get out of going to work. But, do I really need to burden myself with this? I am ‘sick’ and am entitled to time off if I don’t feel well, for whatever reason, right?
  • I cant go to the bathroom (number 2). I have taken all of the midwives advise-eat a bowl of oatmeal with prunes every day. Take a DHA supplement, take a magnesium supplement. Walk or get exercise. Drink 8-10 glasses of water every day (what pregnant person who works full time can actually do this, although god knows I try). In addition to this daily regimen, I also eat a high fiber diet loaded with fruits and veggies. As a last ditch effort, I take a Colace or two every few days….but nothing seems to help.
  • Which brings me to my next problem that is triggered in part by the previous one…hemorrhoids. Yup, I have them. And from what I hear, they will only get worse with a vaginal birth. Yippee! Sitting for 8 plus hours a day at work doesn’t make them feel any better either.
  • Now this one is more superficial than anything…but, I have gained 40 odd pounds since the day I conceived (feelings regarding this is a post all on its own-which I will spare you). And even maternity clothes are uncomfortable. Is it OK for me to wear sweat pants everywhere? And when do I draw the line between comfort and just plain trashy.
  • Of course, there is my waddle. Now, I know that this happens to most pregnant women. It is inevitable, or so I hear. But, it is also unsightly and quite uncomfortable. I am grateful my body is releasing chemicals to aide and help in childbirth, trust me I am. But, try to get out of bed from a dead sleep, with an extremely full bladder, trying not to grunt and wake your husband-and make it to the bathroom before your sleep inertia wears off and you up for the next 1-2 hours. I look like a sumo wrestler when I first stand up, legs with a wide stance, trying not to put pressure on my back and throw that out of alignment. Then the wide leg walk/waddle to the RR starts. My legs, hips and lower back are so unstable I feel like I just ran a marathon.
  • Swelling on my left foot and ankle is a new thing. Although the more appropriate term would be cankle. And my plantar fasciitis is acting up (with the increased weight, lack of good shoes that fit, and swelling-no doubt).

I don’t want to complain too much, and scare any prospective parents to be off. I also realize that the 9th and final month is the last push, before the real pushing begins. So, I also want to mention some of the things I am grateful about, and feel joyous not to have-

Backaches, I only get them occasionally. I have a very supportive, loving and helpful husband. Sick days-I have a few saved up. A comfortable couch. I don’t have to work right now, since we managed to put a few bucks in the bank to prepare for this event. I got my first official stretchmark only yesterday (although my sister said she could see it in a photo from 2 weeks ago…but, she also told me I was fat-so I ignored most of what she said after that).

So, after all of that-here is my problem. I don’t want to be at work anymore. I am too tired, and when I am there I don’t have any strength left to do my household chores at home. But, I feel guilty about mentioning all of these reasons to my midwife, and asking her to write me out. But, I am 9 months pregnant, and working full time, and tired.

I feel silly complaining about this to you, my midwife, my husband, my boss, and my friends. But, I need to take my health and feelings seriously and not let my own inner guilt and drive push me beyond what I comfortable with. But, I also don’t want to be perceived as wimpy and weak. On the inverse, my Doula said that I should take this time to rest, and that if stress from work is causing me worry -to go on leave. She said that women who worry and don’t relax are more prone to late babies because you haven’t given their bodies a chance to relax and prepare for the birth.

I have my next appointment on Friday, and have a busy schedule at work this week. So, I have a few days to decide how to proceed (and by then I will be 37 weeks). Any suggestions or thoughts would be greatly appreciated and carefully considered prior to Friday.

bitter, angry and slightly taken advantage of

Something must be wrong with me today. I started my day happy and smiling, talking to the dog and the cat. Going about my morning chores and routines.

Then I came to work, and fell back into a glum state.

I have been struggling with a game plan for my maternity leave. I submitted a plan of action to my boss yesterday (which Jeff and I discussed and agreed was reasonable both in terms of my legal rights, and giving enough consideration to the small company I work for), and we discussed it. Which left me feeling less than positive about the companies perspective on my leave (and frankly a little bitter at the response I received). *A disclaimer is that my boss, still has to clear it with the 2 owners who are much more reasonable and rational, as well as with our HR department. But, I guess I expected a warmer response since he has toddler age twin boys and both him and his wife work full time.

I am also struggling with the fact that I have to put my goals on hold, while my husband doesn’t have to in the same way or for a set time period. His responsibilities are more intermittent during the first year or so.

On top of feeling bitter, angry and slightly taken advantage of–I am inversely happy and then teary eyed sad. Like the flipping of the light switch. I cant seem to control my emotions today.

I can’t talk to Jeff about it, because is working 5am to 9pm this week, and the last thing he needs is my sorry pathetic pregnant self adding to his stress level.

Then, while I was expressing my concerns regarding my discussion with the boss about my leave to a female co-worker–her (male) office mate interjected with a true, but very rudely expressed comment. I think it was this that made me feel the worst. It isn’t that I disagree with the comment, but it was so ill placed that it really hurt my feelings (which are clearly on the fritz today).

Lastly, I am wondering what other people (both moms and dads) have felt when trying to make the right decision regarding family leave and extended time off to care for your child, and how long they took off before and after the birth of their children, and how their employers responded. How their marriages changed with the disproportionate amount of work and commitment a mother puts in. I wonder a lot of things, and no matter what any one else experiences, it is only a guideline, since my relationship is my own (and theirs their own…).

The joy of detachment

I had forgotten how much I like my line of work. I left the comforts of my cozy office, and ventured downtown to conduct an on-site training at a clients office. My goal was to train them on how to use our software in a real environment (using real loan data and not a training file). In addition to training them on our software, I was lucky enough to be able to impart some of my own experience into the training.

This client is new to this part of the industry and doesn’t have too much experience with the banking side of the biz. It was excited and invigorated to be able to be in the mix again. it has been about 6 months since I was involved with the operational side of the mortgage biz, and i forgot how much I enjoyed it.

I don’t miss the stress, the deadlines, or the loan officers…but I miss the decisions and the day to day. I miss being needed.

Don’t get me wrong, I love my current position and would never consider going back to trenches (stress, sleepless nights, anxiety, and problems), but similar to other peoples children-the fun is you get to give them back. As such, when training on-site…I am able to get into the thick of it, and at the end of the day I leave and never worry about it again. They on the other hand have to clean up the mess and worry about the outcome. I simply move on to another client.

The joy of detachment.