Isn't life crazy?? It sure seems to be for me lately. I wouldn't have guessed I would be doing what I am doing now...but here I am! And, I'm surviving.
I worked at a corporate job for three years before having Carter. After my maternity leave was over I gave my notice and never returned. If you would have asked me then where I would be in almost two years I would have told you: Claudy would be in a master's program, I would be pregnant with my second and that we'd be living in North Carolina.
Yet, here we are still in Utah. Claudy is still working on his bachelors, and I am back at the very same job!
We've decided that Claudy just needs to get done with school. So, he
isn't working at all. I guess you could say he's working because he's
home while I'm at work and there is certainly no studying that will get
done when Carter is awake and on the prowl. But, hopefully him not
having to work or commute somewhere will help him have more time to
dedicate to getting his schooling done. I don't enjoy being the
breadwinner, but life isn't about having everything you want.
While the job I had just gotten a few weeks ago was nice, my previous job offered me a better deal that I couldn't ignore. I felt terrible giving my notice when I had only been there a few weeks. I am grateful for that job because it was really needed and helped us float along. I think I needed that temporary job to get me used to working again. I think if I had gone right back to my old job that I wouldn't appreciate it as much as I do now. Funny how the Lord uses things as stepping stones for us!
I had my first day "back" at my old corporate job yesterday. It certainly didn't feel like almost two years had passed. It felt more like maybe a month. I felt instantly at home and was welcomed and even hugged by many good people. I felt right at home and was digging into emails and projects before the day was over. It was so nice not to have to go through training, or being the "new" person but to just get back to work. (Granted, lots of things have changed, but I'm not starting from scratch.) I'm glad that there are sooo many familiar faces there. Honestly, that was a big draw to me. Not only do I like the type of work I do (product marketing for a global company) but there are some fabulous people and some really good friends there that I have kept in touch with so that is a huge perk!
I will be working a bit more than my last job. I was just working 15 hours a week at the last job and will now be working 20. It's still just in the afternoons, but I'm going in an hour earlier than I was at my last job. I know it seems silly, but that hour makes a difference. So, I'm trying to run around like a mad woman doing wash, cleaning, grocery shopping, playing with Carter, and making dinner before I leave. I laugh when I used to think that it would take me all day to do these things. I now have half the time to get them done. It's hard because Carter doesn't go to day-care so he's home making messes all day long. So, I come home to a house that has been played in and wrecked, versus coming home to an undisturbed house. But, that con is definitely outweighed by the pro of having Claudy to be the one watching him. Thankfully Claudy is a huge help too. It's hard trying to get things done, but still feel like I spend quality time with Carter. I almost hear an audible "tick-tock" when Carter is up and I'm not playing with him. I feel every second slip away when I'm having to clean or do something else when he's awake like I'm "wasting" my time with him. Yet, I know these things can't be ignored. I try as hard as I can to save them for his nap time, but I just can't possibly get everything done I need to in two hours.
Carter is getting SO fun lately too. His language has just burst and he is wanting to repeat everything! It is so fun to hear him try out every single word. He will have full on babble conversations with us too. If I give him a "Is that so?" and other prompts he'll go on and on like a little chatter box! He is so earnest about what he is saying, and even uses hand actions and inflections. I sure feel bad I have no clue what he is saying, because by the way he makes it sound, I'm missing out on some really important information he's imparting. When I see growth and changes like that I feel extra guilty because I remember when I quit I thought to myself, "I will never come back here. No matter how tight and hard things get I will find a way to stay home with my baby." And, here I am, not two years later. So, I feel a bit like I'm breaking a promise to myself, but we've really weighed out options and this seems to be the best fit for us right now. Plus, I know I did try my best and made things stretch way longer than they probably should have. Some things were just out of my control. I don't discredit those 20 months I had, and know I am incredibly lucky to have had the time I did. I'll always look back on it fondly as some of the best days of my life.
Another headache is that I REALLY wish sometimes that I could just throw in a frozen pizza or chicken nuggets. Or, even grab take-out. But, thanks to Carter's disease I've got to make something every single night on top of working. So, if you know of any clean, easy meals...please pass them my way. I have a decent collection started, thanks to cooking like this for a few months...but not nearly as many as I would like. I hate eating the same things over and over and we're certainly getting to that point. Again, Claudy helps and makes many things but it's a lot of work.
Most days, I'll be leaving when he's still napping (unless he wakes up earlier) so while I'm "only" working 20 hours per week, I'll not be seeing him for 7 hours a day once you combine him sleeping and me working. That still depresses me a bit. But, on the same hand I am so, SO grateful I have a job that I enjoy, that pays decent and is super flexible. If I have to be working, it couldn't work out better. It's a bittersweet mixture for sure. I certainly feel for mother's who work full time and don't know how you do it. I have mad respect for you!
Even though I've been working for almost a month now (between the first job I quit and now this one) Carter still runs to the door wailing when he sees me getting my keys. I can hear him even from outside as I walk to the truck. It breaks my heart. Then, as I drive to work I think about how short of time we get with our kids. We only get 18 years with them and that is already a minute fraction of their life, and then you put in school and sleep our time with them is so short.
I'm trying super hard to be positive. That is my new goal as of lately. When I get upset we're not where I wish we were, or that life hasn't worked out according to my amazing master plan I tell myself that right now is just a snap shot. Claudy and I still have our whole lives to figure things out and get to a better place. I have faith that we will end up on higher ground than we are now. So, we just have to keep hacking it out and not be mad that today's picture isn't perfect, because it can be someday and today is not the final destination.
I was up until almost 11 last night cleaning and trying to get everything done that didn't get done while I was at work. I'm realizing I'm probably going to have to let some things go as I continue to learn how to balance everything. Life is certainly a juggling act, especially this stage for me right now.
I look forward to the learning opportunities work will certainly give me. It already felt good to start critically thinking and working in a team environment. This job gives such great experience and I know I will grow professionally.
And, I'll start living for the weekends again and try to squeeze out lots of book reading, kisses and cuddles while I'm with Carter. I'm trying to have realistic expectations, which is hard for me. I want to be super-mom when I'm at home and a super-employee while I'm at work, but I'll need to pace myself so I don't get burned out. I'm praying for strength, energy and wisdom and know that the Lord will bless me if I continue to allow him to be a part of all of my craziness.