This is the moment
I have started, stopped, revised, and rewritten this blog post more times than I can count. It’s not because this topic is overly difficult, but rather because I am doing my best to practice what I preach - and, yes, I also struggle on the daily to master certain solutions that I have for problems. After all, I am farrrrrrr from perfect. But this time it is different. It’s about me. It’s about my career. It’s about my children and loving husband. Next week marks my final week of maternity leave. I cried this morning as it hit me like a ton of bricks: I am entering the final stretch of my maternity leave, these last few precious days at home with my family.
I know that the stay-at-home life isn’t for me, but it’s still ok for me to know that I will miss my boys. Am I excited to go back to work? On certain days, yes. But I still have many worries. I worry about not getting enough baby snuggles. I am saddened that I might not have enough time to play cars with my toddler. I’m going to miss Gus’s excitement as he races me around the house on his school bus or Oscar’s big smile as he looks up into my face. And I remember that I will still have these moments, just less of them. I have spent so much time fearing what I will miss that I sometimes forget to be present in the moment.
I forget that my blog can be put on hold so I can spend time with my children, that I shouldn’t do both at once. I keep reminding myself that I don’t want my children only knowing me with an electronic device in my hands. When I go back to work I know that I can put my work phone in the car at the end of the day so I can shut off from my work day (but I also have to make a conscious effort to do so). I want my children to see my face and feel my presence. I forget that my kids shouldn’t have to fight for my attention. On the flip side, it is important to me as a professional that I do not half-ass my blog or my career. This feeling is a constant reminder that I need to be present in the moment in all aspects of my life. So what does this mean for me as I go back to work?
This means that when I am at work I am not constantly texting my husband or calling home to see what they are doing. This means that I have to trust that Danny has all daily activities, doctors appointments, meals, etc. taken care of and that I don’t need to micromanage every aspect of the day. This means that when I am home I am not constantly checking work emails or answering phone calls. If my child is sick and I am very concerned, then I need to take the day off and be at home with him. Or if I have a big deadline coming up then I need to be purposeful with my time: Work the hours that I can in the office, come home and spend time with my family (offline!) for a few hours, then hop back on once everyone else is in bed.
It is so easy to get distracted when our children are sick or a big life event takes place. I find that when I am in a big phase of a project that I end up doing both Mom and Working Mom tasks at once, because we know we are super moms and can handle it. The problem is that we then end up half-assing every aspect of our lives: Our children do not get the attention they deserve, we half listen to our husbands as they tell us about their day, and the people that are paying us only get 50% of our attention when they are paying us for 100% - all of this happens as we click away at our phones taking care of the other half of our lives and we get burned out. It’s not fair to anyone.
With more and more people going back into the workplace, my suggestion to you is to be purposeful with your time. Can the work call wait for your dinner to finish? Enjoy the chaos that is family dinner. Does the email need to be responded to while your child tells you about her day? They are dying to fill you in on their exciting news. Did everything that happened on Instagram this past Tuesday need to be watched while your baby is on your lap? Are you getting as much done at work as you could if you weren’t constantly checking in on Social Media or texting the nanny to see what the kids were up to? I find that when I channel my energy to focus on finishing certain tasks without distraction then I am a more effective worker. Easier said than done, amiright?! This then translates into more time at home with my kids and husband, all of whom (ideally) don’t have to fight for my attention.
I know that you are probably scoffing at me behind your phone thinking to yourself, “Yes, Brittany, it would be great if I could put my work phone down once I got home from the office.” Or, “If I didn’t care about my children then I would be able to refrain from texting my caregiver to find out how they are doing.” But, what if less texting throughout the day meant more work completed which then translated into more time spent with your family. What if putting your phone away once you got home from work meant that the time spent with your family was more meaningful (even if you had to hop back on once the kiddos went to bed)? Wouldn’t that be great? I know it would, that’s why I am suggesting it ;)
If you love my blogs, and I hope you do, please purchase a children’s book to give back to working moms: A Stay-at-Home Dad?