It’s Monday, September 15, 2014. Both boys are at their sitters’ home for a practice day. My cell phone is next to me, and the ringer is on full blast. I return to work this Wednesday, September 17.
I am, of course, intimidated by the emotions and logistics involved. I’ve done this before, and I know working out of the home full time is like being the remote CEO of a small company. I delegate, anticipate, and stage so many things I am not physically present for. It’s extremely humbling and exhausting.
In addition to a truckload–no–an ocean of prayer and faith, going back to work also requires the following:
1. A sweet stash
On Sunday night, I make sure I have Costco-sized portions of everything I need for the week or weeks ahead. Go buy stock in Cliff Bars! I eat a lot of them. Not pictured: Trader Joe’s oatmeal cookies; large cartons of rice milk (when I nurse, I avoid dairy); and enough chicken, brown rice, and salad to cover my lunches at the office for the week.
A baby who sleeps through the night Perspective that one day the baby will sleep through the night
Lincoln did not sleep through the night until he was eight months old. Long story, but of course this is actually pretty common. I was so red-eyed for so long when I went back to work last time. I thought if I smiled a lot and stayed really busy and positive, people wouldn’t notice. Ah, the human spirit!
So, this time around, I was sure the Lord was going to give me one of those dear babies that sleeps through the night almost immediately. Hadn’t I earned it?? Didn’t He know I had to go to work and all?
Whelp, Hyatt is on the same exact “schedule” as Lincoln. I will relish in the fact he goes back to sleep more quickly after a night feeding than Lincoln did, and I do indeed have more perspective this time. Get ready, Unboxed Technology: your red-eyed Liz is back.
3. An awesome sitter
I work with three beautiful Shannons. At least one of them was raised by two wonderful parents who worked full time. Because Shannon impresses me so much, and if I ever had a daughter like her I’d be so pleased, I asked if she would have coffee with me and tell me about her experience as a child with two working parents.
Two things stood out the most. First, Shannon’s parents made sure if they couldn’t watch her, someone amazing could. This seems obvious, but finding excellent, safe childcare that’s a really good fit for your child can be hard sometimes.
We’ve been blessed by two sitters in particular who understand Lincoln, enrich his life, and make it easier to be at work. They’ve taught me things, too, like “Lincoln is a little too big for his carseat” and fun activities we can do at home.
The boys have another great sitter: their dad. This fact is worthy of a blog post in itself, but Bryce chooses to use his days off from the firehouse being Mr. Mom. Excuse me. Mr. Awesome Dad. The books I read and conversations I have assure me boys benefit beyond belief when they spend quality time with their dad. So, thanks, Bryce! I hope two is twice the fun.
4. Pump pride
It adds to the logistics, but I aspire to breastfeed for all of those obvious reasons. Since I work out of the home, that means a whole lotta pumping. I do three-month increments: nurse for three months, and then evaluate how we’re doing; go for another three months, then evaluate how we’re doing; and so on. With Lincoln, we made it to ten. We’ll see how it goes with Hyatt.
My job is busy and includes some travel, so I’ve learned to pump with pride. I have to protect the time to pump, I have to pump in airports, and I have to be frank with male clients and coworkers. They totally understand and respect!
Once, I walked out of an airport bathroom stall after a pumping session to find a female airport worker about to burst into tears. She was on her break, her pump had died, and she didn’t have any more batteries. Solidarity and hugs to you, fellow pumping sister: I have batteries, and I can lend a hand (or a Duracell)!
The second thing that stood out during my conversation with Shannon is this: her parents were very intentional and made sure their time with her was quality. They left their work baggage at the door and kept their laptops shut. They made it to her important events. They loved being together as a family.
Like anything else that matters, parenting requires energy and thought. Hmmm, do Lincoln’s shoes fit? Are we giving him enough chances to run around outside and just be a boy?
Being intentional also means praying for the boys because we don’t actually know what we’re doing and don’t actually have all of the energy and thoughtfulness we wish we did. I’m sure if I talked with Shannon’s parents (which doesn’t sound like a bad idea), they’d say they didn’t always ace it. Like me, they’re human and need the grace of Jesus to strengthen and restore all things.
I’ll end on that note. If you’re the praying sort, pray for our family this week. Thanks for reading, and high fives to all of you working hard, at home or away.