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Friday, August 10, 2018

Adjusting To The Full-Time Working Mom Life

    As some of you may know, I recently started working full-time and I wrote a blog post about it here. Officially full-time, like 40 hours a week. In the past I've typically worked 30-35 hours a week ever since my son was born, Let me tell you something; I really, REALLY enjoyed the flexibility. I usually worked 2-3 full days and 2-3 half days, which was so unbelievably nice. I was so spoiled! I had so much time to spend with my son, actual quality time, and it was incredible. But after our recent move, a change in jobs, a change in daycare, plus a necessary new car along with a new car payment, (my previous car almost literally blew up), it was safe to say that things needed to change. 






    The new car payment, along with a very expensive vehicle insurance plan, meant I needed to start making some more money to be able to afford a vehicle that I could rely on. We were moving 2 hours away to be with my boyfriend and wanted to be able to drive back and forth for visits, and my old 1995 Oldsmobile wasn’t going to cut it. After a trip, it literally died on the side of the road and never came back to life. *Moment of silence for good ol' Blue.* 

    Moving also meant a change in daycare and our new daycare required either a full-time commitment or a part-time commitment, nothing in-between. This was a huge change, because our last daycare billed an hourly rate and was drop-in once children were 1 year old. If I wanted to fill a part-time slot, I needed to work less than 20 hours a week to only need 20 hours a week of daycare, because once you factor in drive time, pickups and drop offs, it actually eats up about a half an hour before and after your shift, for only about 15 workable hours a week, which wasn’t going to yield enough income. This left me severely stressed and with two options; work full-time, (which I was totally opposed to at first,) or continue looking for work for only 30 hours a week. I really wanted the flexibility that working only 30-35 hours a week afforded me and I didn't want to sacrifice that time with my son. Ten extra working hours a week translated to 2 extra hours a day, which isn't terrible in the grand scheme of things. But once you break it down, it's really a lot! It meant two hours a day every day during the week I lost with my son. I wasn't willing to sacrifice that kind of time with my son!

    I'm sure a lot of you are no stranger to sitting hunched over a calculator, biting your nails, probably crying if you're like me, figuring numbers every which way to try and make things work. It didn't take long for me to figure out that working 30 hours a week wasn’t going to pay, and it was extremely hard to find any work for exactly 30 hours a week. It was either 20 hours or less, or 40 hours, firm. I had done the math; I really needed to work exactly 30 hours a week for a very certain, definite amount of money to be able to afford bills and daycare, but it left me with less than two pennies to rub together for everything else I needed. It was going to be a stretch... I mean a REAL STRETCH on funds, but I didn't want to forfeit that time. I was willing to go without so much, and we are talking bare minimum here, if it meant time with my son. 

    Unfortunately, most of the jobs I found were either 20 hours or less, or strictly full-time. Working only 30 hours a week wasn’t going to pay, because the new daycare was also going to be twice as expensive. I would still end up paying for 40-50 hours a week of daycare, even if I didn’t use those hours. And if I went with a job that was only part-time, I would only be working 20 hours a week, which didn't qualify for part-time daycare, which meant less money being made while paying the same price for daycare. That's without mentioning that "part-time" daycare meant for less than 5 hours a day, and was only $5 cheaper a day, and if you were working 5 days a week, it ended up being more expensive than the full-time rate.

    After many nights fretting, crying, and being angry at the universe for making life so hard for working moms, or moms of any kind, along with many more things I care not to mention, I finally made the decision to move to working full-time, because anything less wasn’t going to pay the bills. 

    So a little over three weeks ago I started working full-time, 40 hours a week for a newspaper. The first week was rough; I was really excited about the job. It was a great gateway into what could be my dream job someday. But I was struggling. It was hard taking my son to daycare. Getting him up and only spending the time it took to get ready and the ride to work together was miserable. And it really wasn't any sort of real quality time. We were constantly rushing through getting dressed and running out the door, which equals nothing but more stress. And if my son woke up too early, I was sacrificing a shower or losing time to get ready because my son needed me.

    It was hard to go to work for 9 hours a day and then go and pick my son up at anywhere from 5:15 to 5:30 pm. It was unbelievably hard to take him and put him in the car seat for a fifteen-minute drive home, which he was incredibly unhappy about immediately after I buckled him in. The first week, he broke down in tears every day, erupting in a fit with real tears the second I closed the door and continued for most of the ride home. Which not only broke my heart, but it also made me feel tremendously guilty. I hated it. By the time we got home every night, it was nearly 6 pm and my son was crying for a whole host of reasons. He was hungry, he was tired, he was crabby, and I felt like I was doing a terrible job! The second we were in the door he would go directly to his chair at the table or the fridge, raising his hands and reaching for food or screaming for a cookie! 

"TRUST ME, Kid! 
Mommy wants a cookie, too!"

    By the time we were done eating dinner, there was hardly any time left for anything other than some forced play time, which was primarily made up of whining, crying and temper tantrums. And no, I’m not talking about myself, though I totally could be... by the end of the night I totally felt like whining, crying and throwing a temper tantrum. Though, mostly I just ended up crying because I felt so awful.

    My second week at work, my son had Hand Foot and Mouth! I know, great right? My boyfriend stayed home from work with him for three days, and took amazing care of him, but the evenings when I got home were so rough. My son missed me, which was obvious, but he was also bored to tears because he was too tired and sick to do anything. The worst, most confusing part was the way he acted once I had settled in to being home for the evening. I’d tell you he was mean, but that’s a little extreme. Anything I tried to do, he threw an ultimate fit! Even something as simple as trying to wipe his face, he would throw himself to the floor or try to launch himself from his booster seat, erupting immediately in tears! Real tears. My son very rarely cries real tears. 

    Once we started our bedtime routine, he would scream and cry and whine all through bath time, cry and flail and throw a fit while I dried him off. Screamed bloody murder while I tried to put his diaper on and get him dressed, and then proceeded to whine and cry until he finally fell half asleep in my arms before I put him in his crib... I was exhausted beyond belief  (and relief!) and felt like I was doing EVERYTHING WRONG. It was literally breaking everything that was left of my spirit. This went on for an entire week and weekend. Until that Sunday night.


 "Toddlers are like horses that can sense frustration..."

    Now, my boyfriend will tell you that he thinks toddlers can sense frustration, particularly that my toddler can sense my frustration, like horses do, he says. And he will also tell you that we had an absolutely splendid afternoon and evening together, all three of us, and bedtime went off without a hitch and was a ridiculously easy walk through the park without even a single whine... because he was home all day and the frustrations and aggravations that come with spending an entire day with a child was evenly distributed between two parents, instead of just me, therefore I wasn’t as frustrated by the day's end and therefore, my son was more pleasant… But we really did have an amazing time, filled with laughs and hugs and cuddles and not a single temper tantrum in sight. Granted, we spent an entire day together all three of us.

    Last week was my third week, and I went into it feeling much better than the week before, and even better my fourth week! I’ve made it through training and feel much more confident in what I’m doing. I really enjoyed my first two weeks, but last week something felt different. I was actually working with people and navigating my way through everything with very little help, which felt really good

    My new job is working with customers and placing ads in various newspapers for them. It is literally the perfect combination for me. I spent three years working on an English Communication and Writing Concentration Bachelor’s Degree before I had my son, and before that I was really into Graphic Design and Photography, so this job really combines all of my passions; writing, typing, type-facing, placing photos, making text and copy content look good with things like bolding, sizing and paragraphs. We send proofs to customers and send their photos and text to the art department for them to create the ads and then we send it back to the customers. All around, it’s just something I’m really enjoying learning and doing. Plus, it’s really going to open some amazing doors for a future career once I manage to finish my English Degree. They have job openings for reporters and writing positions, and I am just really stoked all the way around about the possibilities. This week, blogging has become a stepping stone for me and I’ve found renewed inspiration and purpose. I've really decided to apply myself and make this a priority not only for myself, but also for my future in writing, because someday I could look back on this and use it as an amazing writing/blogging reference. It's my dream to someday spend my time writing for myself. All in all, I am really excited about my future prospects with this company.

    I am a person who really needs to enjoy what I do every single day. There are people who will tell you, “It’s just a job! It’s just a way to make money and pay the bills.” It is so much more than that to me. If I’m not enjoying what I’m doing, it affects every aspect of my life; my mood, my happiness, my day-to-day activities, everything. If I’m going to do something for 40 hours a week, even if it's paid, it has to be something that I absolutely enjoy! 

    And I think I finally found something and it looks so unbelievably promising. I have no idea how I will ever finish my English degree but someday I will. And I know it’ll prove so useful in this field. For once I actually feel like I have a chance of actually writing for a living, and that idea makes me so happy and that hopes reignites my faith in the possibility and inspiration drive for what I’m doing every day. Most importantly, it has given me a lot of ideas for blogging and really lifted my spirits and I’m so excited to create amazing content for you guys. I have had the best time these last few months and have made some amazingly genuine connections with people in this Twitter community, connections I feel like that could last a lifetime. So, thank you guys for that. Thank you for coming back and reading what I have to say. And thank you for helping me reach some amazing people every single day that I never would’ve connected with otherwise. As always, keep on loving those amazing little ones like only you know how. I hope you guys have a great week!

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