A Breath of Fresh Air

I popped out of bed this morning, fed the baby and loaded her up for a morning walk. It was a beautiful 70 degrees, the birds were chirping, I had a coffee with me, and I was going to carpe the heck out of that diem. “So this is it,” I thought. That moment, regardless of how small it was, completely solidified my decision I had made the day before.

After four years at my current job, I had finally made the leap to take a new opportunity. It was something I had been rolling around in my head since the days of my maternity leave were dwindling. I knew going back to work full time was going to be difficult. It is for every mom, regardless of her profession. I knew it would be extra hard for me as an event coordinator since I often worked nights and weekends. It was so much easier when I wasn’t a mom. The six-day-a-week work weeks weren’t as bad because my husband was working Saturdays too. And staying late or popping in early required very little prep or planning. Now, that simply wasn’t the case.

But I LOVED what I did, and I still do. I love the event industry. I love celebrating milestones with clients, and I love the event community here in Columbia. It truly isn’t about competition but a community of wonderful individuals, entrepreneurs and celebrators.

This simple “aha moment” I had on my morning walk was the result of an event that had to rescheduled due to unfortunate circumstances. But I almost feel like that free morning that I didn’t have originally was also God’s way of telling me I made the right decision. There were so many reasons why I almost didn’t take the job. I thought about what everyone else would think. I thought about my clients I was supposed to still work with this year. I thought about all my co-workers and amazing vendors and people who I wouldn’t see on a day-t0-day basis anymore.

But it wasn’t until after all of those thoughts entered my mind did I think about myself–my needs and wants. It was continually getting harder and harder to leave my daughter with Gigi and Papa or a baby-sitter after I had already dropped her off at daycare five days that week. I felt like I wasn’t giving my marriage its full attention when my husband and I were like passing ships on Saturdays. And that was only when we could make our schedules work so that he worked the morning and I worked the evening. It made me so sad to miss out on family events or leave early from personal celebrations to coordinate celebrations of others.

As much as I adored what I did and loved the work I was doing, it wasn’t as fulfilling as it used to be. My heart was constantly telling me to do something about it when my mouth was telling people I was fine. It was this decision I made when I finally allowed myself to admit that I had needed a change now for a while.

I finally admitted that I was in a new season of life and a new job is exactly what I needed to balance my changing world. Will I miss events? Absolutely. Will I come back to doing them full-time? Who knows. All I know is that on that beautiful Saturday morning, I had a pep in my step I had been missing for a while. I felt I had finally found the balance of motherhood and work, times of busy successes and enjoyable stillness. I had found something else that was fueling my professional fire. For the first time in a long time, I felt completely happy.


The Transition

I officially finished my second week back to work after maternity leave, and we are getting the hang of things. I say we, but really I mean me. Parker loves daycare and is great with all sorts of new people. It’s Mom who has taken some time to getting used to everything.

Obviously, the hardest part about returning to work is going from being with my little peanut all day every day to spending 8 hours a day away from her. Luckily, we found daycare that I feel very comfortable leaving her at and feel she is truly getting one-on-one attention. Originally, I swayed toward an in-home daycare, but we ended up enrolling her in a daycare facility, and I could not be more pleased. Finding daycare was a nightmare, but that’s whole other post…

What I’ve learned, however, is the separation anxiety from being away from her is just the beginning of the at-home to work transition. It’s definitely not easy, but there have been a few products that have made it a little bit smoother.

1. Clothing: The healing process after childbirth is extensive. Whether you have a vaginal birth or a C-section, there are tons of changes happening with your body. Upon returning to work, I was still dealing with these changes. Not only was I trying to dress a body that I still wasn’t completely confident in, but my incision from my C-section was still very sensitive. Wearing regular pants was hard because the buttons and zippers would rub and make it uncomfortable. But I stumbled upon a pair of awesome pants at Old Navy that were professional looking for the office and comfortable enough to wear with a healing belly. Thank goodness elastic waist bands are in! The style is called The Stevie, which is stretch knit. I purchased a pair of burgundy pants and a pair of black and white polka dot pants, and I love them both

2. The Little Things: As if breastfeeding wasn’t enough of a challenge, keeping up with your milk supply at work is a whole other issue. Now if you’re fortunate enough to work at an office that has those fancy lactation rooms, this point might not apply to you. But coming from someone who pumps in a storage closet for a little privacy, I found just a little something that made me feel more comfortable about pumping at work. They are called Bella B Nipple Nurture Breast Wipes and make cleaning up after pumping a breeze. Plus, they make me feel refreshed before returning to my desk.


3. A Little Cuteness: I invested in a few extra cute and girly office supplies to get me excited to go to the office each day. I hung a new calendar that had monthly inspirations, and I started with a fresh legal pad that was decorated with flowers along the top. And each morning (that I don’t go to Starbucks), I bring my coffee in a color block Kate Spade mug.

The second challenge is our new morning routine. Let me preface this by saying I have never been a morning person in my entire life, and now I am learning to be one. Actually, I am learning to live on 5-6 hours of sleep a night instead of 9. I should be incredibly grateful that I am, yes, getting a full 5-6 hours of sleep a night with a newborn.

I used to be able to get up, shower, get ready and be out the door to work in 45 minutes. I had my routine down, and it was easy peasy every morning. Now, I block out about two hours to get out of the house. And this morning, I was still 15 minutes late. Why? Because everything is different with a tiny human. As much as you plan and prep, there’s always a hang up like the hiccups she got this morning right before I was about to put her in her car seat or the blowout she had the other morning.

And the third challenge, which I mentally addressed prior to her arrival but emotionally feel now that she is here, is weighing the pros and cons between working at staying at home. I truly don’t think I could be a full-time, stay-at-home mom. First of all, I give them a lot of credit. As wonderful as it is to spend all that time with your children, it’s a lot of work. There’s juggling the different schedules of multiple children and making sure you’re planning and executing quality, interactive activities. Not to mention unless there’s a Target run involved, she speaks to nobody over the age of her oldest child until her husband returns home from work. That being said, I also crave a schedule, getting up in the morning and going somewhere, and I have always been motivated to have my own career. But when you start looking at how much you’re paying for daycare and how many hours you are spending away from your little one, it just doesn’t seem entirely worth it. I work over a third of the month just to pay for daycare. that means I spend roughly 7 days of the month working just to be able to afford to be away from her during the work day. Seems a little messed up when I’m missing out on valuable time when she’s growing, developing and hitting milestones. Thus, I’ve decided in a perfect world, I would be a part-time working mom.

For now, it’s back to work full-time for me! As much as I miss Parker during the day, I am getting back to something I love. I love working events, I love planning and prepping, I love being creative, I love weddings and I love love. And that makes doing something so hard just that much easier.