It’s been about 6 weeks since I started back at work and if I’m honest, it’s been a tougher transition than I expected.
UGH, that was harder to write down than I was expecting.
One of the best things about B and I is what a great team we make, the way we pull together when the going gets tough.
Lately I feel like I’ve been letting the team down.
I feel flat.
Not just like I’m letting the rest of the team down, but like I’m letting myself down too.
I expected the exhaustion. I’ve gone back to work after having a child before, I knew. Mental exhaustion is as real as physical and that first little while while your brain gets used to functioning for more than just nap schedules can be rough!
I expected the sickness – the snotty noses from day care, the weird bugs and unusual viruses. To be fair, I didn’t expect quite so much explosive diarrhea……….. (I also didn’t expect Cooper to suddenly begin a war against sleep!!) But the first 6 months of daycare are tough. And then they never really get sick again! Alex has an incredible immune system now – he’s hardly ever unwell.
I expected a little settling in period while we figured out how to work all day and stay on top of the chores. I was ok with falling a little behind in that department while we found our feet.
I expected difficult.
I didn’t expect to feel so… Mediocre.
I’ve never been much of a ‘housewife’. The washing is always behind and there is always vacuuming to be done. But, I have strengths where B’s weaknesses lie to make up for it (I like to call it a good balance… And amazing luck that we found each other!!) So before, where I was procrastinating with the chores, I was keeping track of all the kids schedules, budgeting, oh LORD this man was terrible at budgeting when we met, and, even when some days were tough, there was at least one parenting win I could look back on in the day with pride. (Don’t be too impressed by this. There are 4 kids. The odds were stacked in my favour.)
I’m in no way glorifying my stay at home mum life. Those days were hard. Isolated. Long. But I knew where my strengths lay. I could always confidently say, this is where I’m great. This is what I bring to our table.
Lately, I feel like all greatness is gone.
There have been days since I started back at work when I’ve left home before Coops has woken and come home after he’s gone to bed.
We’ve had home made pizza, spaghetti with tomato sauce or eggs for dinner more than I’d like to admit and when we haven’t, it’s usually been because B has taken care of dinner.
Even the week after Cooper was born I made our family dinners. I made it a priority. I love doing it. It’s been hard to let go of that.
B does the morning routines now too – I leave at 6.30am. He gets the kids to their respective places before work, always with big grins on their faces because B is that kind of dad. He gets home first some days so he’s been the one sorting out dinners and he’s been in charge of the washing more often than not lately.
The fact is, he’s at home more than I am – he has the time to do it all and so he does.
I thought I’d had an epiphany on Monday.
Coops woke early, which meant we did too and instead of trying to snooze after B took him upstairs, I got up and got ready early and found I had enough time to sit and have a coffee and a chat with B before I left and still made it to the station early!
I walked to the train station with a bounce in my step I thought might be gone for good.
I told myself I had been being ridiculous.
Parenting isn’t meant to be a one man job, sharing the duties isn’t a bad thing and it didn’t mean I was failing – it meant I was pretty darn lucky. When Alex was this age, I had no choice but to manage everything alone. I don’t have to take on that stress this time. That pressure.
I think part of this whole situation is not knowing how to let go of that.
I think another – the biggest even maybe, is purely just not enough sleep. It’s been hard to go back to several wakes every night with everything else going on. It’s taking its toll and we’ve been bickering more than we ever have before.
I made a pact with myself to get up earlier so I could have this same kind of productive, relaxed, positive morning every day of the week! I reminded myself that apart from my crazy, everything was going really well and to ease up on myself a little. I walked to the office along the waterfront and the sunrise was a beautiful pink and I felt better than I had in weeks.
Then the day happened and I walked to the train station at the end of it feeling even more heavy than I had in the weeks prior.
I can’t shake this feeling.
I keep reminding myself that I haven’t just started a new job, it’s an entirely new career.
It’s been an overwhelming whirlwind of new terms that don’t make any sense yet and all the acronyms you could possibly imagine. Patching and failovers and CR’s. NSSR’s, mini projects, VDI’s and application clients being delivered to ADP’s. Licencing and firewalls and servers and switches. Engineers and resourcing issues and reporting. So. Much. Reporting.
That’s just the tip of the iceberg. (And as many of the words I can remember as I type in between adding to my growing pile of cry face tissues.)
When I think about it logically, I remember feeling like this before. It’s hard being new and not knowing who does what and where to find what you need! I put too much pressure on myself to be amazing right away. It’s not realistic, and it’s never happened before.
My brain is doing that thing it does after a break up where it inconveniently forgets all the bad stuff and remembers all the great stuff to torture you. (Side note. Sometimes it’s really hard to tell who’s corner the brain is in….).
But also, this isn’t just a new job, it’s new everything. New routines in every area and so many changes all at once.
I miss having time to write.
I miss Cooper.
He loves daycare – he’s settled in so well we’ve considered calling the Guinness Book of World Records because this kind of settling in is unheard of. The ladies are incredible. His daycare is amazing. But. The happiest part of my day is the end, where we walk in to pick him up and he sees us. His whole face lights up and he runs towards us (me) with his huge grin and his arms stretched out ready for cuddles.
I miss being at home when Alex finishes school and hearing about his day. The bad ones and the good. Though, he’s settled into after school care so well he is sad when we collect him too early!! Kids.
I train into the city with Milla in the mornings and she talks my ears off all the way in. She loves the change and has settled in well too.
It really only seems to be me here, feeling all over the place and like I need to be anchored down to something.
(There’s Fynn too, but I’m not sure he’s even noticed there’s been a change. Teenage boys…..)
I don’t know.
I don’t have a well rounded conclusion with a positive outcome and lessons learnt to share.
I’ve pulled out all the stops. Positive affirmations, upbeat playlists for my commutes, pink nails, fancy hair, hazelnut shots in my coffees, making lists of my daily wins..
The ‘flat’ has settled in.
It’ll be ok.
Some settling in periods take a little longer than others. I need to figure out how to remember that that’s ok. To remember that despite the struggles, I know this was the right choice. I work with some incredible people – I’m learning so much and I know I’m going to love my job when I can finally get my head around it all. And, the kids are happy. All of them. That’s enough of a sign that everything will work out.
I’ll get there with a little faith, time and some patience.