Dear Working Mommy-To-Be

DearWorkingMommytobe

I’m sure most moms-to-be are working, so let me clarify…  This is for all of the moms-to-be and new moms who plan to return to work {outside of the home} after maternity leave.  That title was just way to long!

There are many things to know and prepare for if you are a mom who plans to return to the workforce after your 6 weeks to 3 month leave.  There is the topic of who to leave your child with, all of the logistics with breastfeeding and pumping, and how to cope with your new and sometimes crazy schedule.  As I’ve said before, it will get better and you will figure it out.  I promise.  But that doesn’t mean it’s always easy.

There are days that I feel like a supermom who is totally making it work and kicking a**.  And there are other days that I cry all the way to work and feel like I’m failing at every. single. aspect of my life.

My words of wisdom today are specifically for all you married {or coupled} ladies to prepare yourself for :: things will NOT be equal or fair.  My close friends are now chuckling because this is my constant soapbox, but I totally wish that someone would have given it to me straight when I was expecting.

My husband and I both have careers, and we actually bring in about the same amount of money.  Therefore one job isn’t “more important” than the other.  My naive, feminist, idealist, pre-baby self thought that meant that we would divide parenting duties and household chores in half.  Silly, silly girl.

My job is the more flexible/understanding one, so I’m the one who stays home with the baby if he is sick, arrives late to work if our nanny is late, takes our child to doctor’s appointments, the list goes on…and on…and oon.  Because my job is more flexible, I had a feeling that a lot of the childcare tasks would fall in my lap, and so we opted to move closer to my office rather than my husband’s.  This is yet another reason why it’s “easier” for me to take on these responsibilities.

I often wonder though if these responsibilities would still fall into my lap even if my job wasn’t as flexible or I didn’t work close to my house.  Is this yet another example of society’s gender roles being forced on us?  I feel like it’s easier for a woman to leave work for a sick child than a man.

As a woman’s studies minor in college, I studied the concept of a working mom’s “second shift” – you work an entire day in the workplace only to come home and start your second shift of childcare, dinner, homework, bath time, bedtime, and house cleaning.  Of course, I’m not forgetting that a stay-at-home mom’s shift never ends, but one could justify that since staying at home is their job those responsibilities {at least many of them} should fall on her plate.

The hope is that if you have a partner, you two can figure out a way to make it work together as a team.  What I’ve found is that as much as I’ve tried to make it equal, it just doesn’t shake out that way.  And I’m not throwing my husband under the bus here.  He truly does help out when he can, but with a stressful job, longer hours, and just being the dad rather than the more nurturing mom {I know, I know, gender roles}, most of the stress falls on momma!

I picture this best in the book turned Sarah Jessica Parker movie, “I Don’t Know How She Does It” when SJP’s character is laying in bed going over “The List” of all the things she has to do the next day — while her husband is laying next to her peacefully snoozing away.   Go watch this movie now if you plan to work after baby. {Horrible reviews, but so, so true in showing this mommy struggle.}  You can also cheat and just watch the trailer here…hilarious!

So there you have it expecting moms who will re-enter the workforce.  Throw away the idea of an equal partnership!  It was a hard pill for me to swallow, and I’m still struggling with it.

…And go ahead and order yourself a gold glitter “I’m So Tired” Sweatshirt by Hello Apparel.  Tired moms unite!  It will brighten your spirits on the days {heck, all of them!} when you are so tired.  Forget diapers, this would make a great shower gift!

If you have a totally different experience, please comment below.  This is only based on my experiences both personally and what I’ve observed, and I am sure there are lots of other mommy opinions out there too!

4 COMMENTS

  1. I have to be honest, my hubby and I split most child care 50/50. I say most for a reason. He works retail, 5 days a week that change weekly, 10 hrs a day. Some days he’s off during the week so he may take the girls to school or run dr appointments. I take them to school most days because he leaves before we do, or he needs to sleep because he’s on a night shift. They mostly ride the bus home at this point, but when they’re at afterschool care we split pick ups. My job is very flexible when it comes to family, but his is as well so even if he’s working on a Saturday, he can still get away for an hour for soccer. Some things may fall on me more, but we’ve definitely worked out what works best for us over the last 13 years with two kids. We’re planning for another, and luckily we now have the option of grandma to watch a new baby, but hubby plans to take baby duties on his week days off. It’s a lot of give and take, but there comes a point where you have to break gender rolls. It’s perfectly fine for dad to cook and get the kids to bed so mom can work late. Or mom and dad to take off work to enroll a kid into school or go to a teacher conference. The main thing, figure out what works best for you and your family.

  2. I recently went back to work after being a stay-at-home mom, and I have to say, my situation is different. It even was when I was a stay at home mom. Because, yes I wasn’t in an out of the “house” job all day, but I was working all day, so we split duties in the evening whether I was a stay-at-home mom or working mom. I was/am on duty until my husband gets home, so that usually means I’ve got dinner-BUT- I’m just usually heating what we/mostly he has cooked on Sunday.
    We/mostly he cooks for the week on Sunday. After dinner, he plays with the baby to get in quality time while I work on laundry, etc… And he does week day baths & I put baby to bed. Husband does dishes, too. I do weekend baths, we meal plan together, I do grocery shopping, and I mainly do the picking up, etc… Of the baby, but if he’s needed he does it, even though he works much farther away and longer hours. We each do a “me” time of 2 hrs each week and do moms night out/dad’s night out about once a month. Basically I was direct and honest before I would even agree to get pregnant- this HAS to be 50/50 or Im not doing it!!!……Also we take turns getting up with the baby in the night, he gets a night, I get a night, and we each get a morning to sleep in on the weekends. Working all this out has helped us to take care of ourselves and be a more equal partnership. That way I don’t get bitter towards him and the baby is bonded to both of us. Oh and we do date night 1-2 times a month to connect to each other 🙂 hope what I’ve shared has helped.

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