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Finding Work/Life Balance

May 16, 2016 - Rachel Seiler
Before my daughter was born, I had already planned on returning to work after my maternity leave. Not that I didn't want to stay home with her, it was just the best choice for our family. My husband and I both had good jobs and my parents had offered to watch her during the week. Not only did I not have to worry about the cost of childcare, there's no one I'd trust more to take care of my precious baby than my mom. So after my 12 week leave, I was ready to get back into the groove of things! At least, so I thought.

My first day back to work was a bit of a celebration. My coworkers welcomed me with balloons, well wishes, and a nice tidy desk. I was happy to be back and spent the first few days getting back up to speed. But, by the end of the week I was crying. I missed being with Quinn, being the one to feed her, put her to sleep, and hold her. I felt like I was being striped of my "mom" title. All that hard work of trying to establish a routine for her was thrown out the window. Quinn was also feeling the stress. That first week, she was one unhappy baby. My mom even questioned if she could keep her. Nothing consoled Quinn. Everybody was crying!

On top of that, I was still breastfeeding and was trying to pump while at work. What a joke. I'd try to fine 20 minutes between deadlines to run out to my car hoping no one could see me in the backseat. Wouldn't be so bad if I only needed to go out once during the workday, but I had to do it 4-5 times a day! Needless to say, I quit breastfeeding 3 weeks later. It just wasn't feasible.

Then there were the changes at home. I like to keep a clean house and love to cook. Even with a newborn, I was able to keep the house in order and had dinner cooked most nights before my husband got home. All this changed when I returned back to work. Once one of us picked up our daughter from her grandparents and we both made it home, I would try to whip something up quick for dinner (which I felt totally defeated the purpose of cooking). Even in our rush, we still had no time to do anything beyond getting Quinn's things cleaned and ready for the next day. The day was over. More tears. The way I saw it, I was going to work to support my family financially but gave up spending any time with them. I felt completely detached, as though I had abandoned Quinn. I began to panic thinking she wasn't even going to know me. I only saw her a few hours a night and on weekends! Not that my mom wouldn't do an outstanding job, but I don't believe God gave me this child for someone else to raise. The only solution I saw was to quit my job.

My husband was surprisingly supportive. He said, "if that's what you feel you need do, we'll make it work." Somehow I think he knew I'd find another solution. Knowing he supported me gave me some relief. I started out examining our schedules to see if there were some things we could change to allow more time to do the things we love and spend more time as a family.

I decided I'd cook the weeks meals on Sunday's so all we would have to do is heat it up during the week. I enjoy working out, so I set my alarm early to do it before everyone woke up. One night a week Quinn and I would have a mother/daughter night while Andy worked in his garage or did whatever manly thing he wanted. Then one night we'd reverse. I hired someone to clean my house. I was even able to work out a 4 day work week schedule with my job giving me 3 days a week to be with Quinn.

It took about 8 months, but I've finally found a work/life balance that works for our family. Life is too short to live with regrets. If you're unhappy with your work/life balance the only thing I can suggest is to examine your priorities and find a solution that falls in line. Good luck!

 
 

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