Balancing Goals, Family Life, Work Life, and Most Importantly, My Happiness
As mentioned before, I got on the Express Train to family life in 2016. My husband and I started out as friends… 16 years later we were married. Our 3rdwedding anniversary is fast approaching, and we have a 2-year-old and an 8-month-old. During our transition from single life to family life, we have both made career changes, moved twice, (I) assisted with moving a library (while moving ourselves and planning a wedding), and became a nursing mother of two girls (in 16 months). Needless to say, it has been an adventurous ride thus far, and I must say I’m happy I have “Mr. Cocoa”on my side, but it has come with its fair share of turmoil. Trust me, there’s tea, cocoa, vodka, and whatever you like to sip, THIS MARRIAGE and FAMILY life if ROUGH!!! Rough in the way they describe a ‘diamond in the rough” rough.
This exact time last year, I had to face the 2ndhardest decision of 2017. I briefly mention before, I only had 9 weeks to recover from my emergency C-section and bond with my newborn since I went out on leave early due to Hyperemesis Gravidarum (aka HG) and my baby was born almost 2 weeks late. Reluctantly I went back to work and I had a hard time adjusting, and when I say a HARD TIME, it was very rough for me. I was a new mom, still a newlywed, working a full-time day job, and a part-time (2 evenings a week & 2 Saturdays a month) job. This was such a hard transition, I was so used to being a go-getter and multitasker, this became challenging for me. Breastfeeding and pumping were a chore, I HATED it, but I did it because I was capable and knew the benefits of it. My ft job was becoming extremely stressful, and I love my pt job & wish I could work there full-time. I didn’t have postpartum depression, but I was STRESSED, and honestly, I am surprised I didn’t suffer from it. Eventually I resorted to having a very hard conversation with my husband (at this point we were ONLY married for 1 year) expressing that I no longer wanted nor felt it was in the best interest of the family for me to work full time. Let me tell ya, your girl was prepared for his rebuttal and I came hard to sell my argument. Upon having this conversation, I had aggressively started seeking part-time employment, and I was now working TWO pt jobs, ONE ft job, and breastfeeding and pumping for my newborn. Oh, did I mention my newborn had acid reflux and would scream for hours at night and would only sleep upright, until I found the secret of the swing. So ya girl was a HOT DIGGITIY MESS for several months. BTW he hesitantly agreed to me working Part-time, however it came with conditions. I was excited, I got my green light to freedom. I put in my papers at work and went on childcare leave (I did not quit my job.)
So, from May 15thuntil December 20, 2017 I was out here living my best life. Ok, maybe not my best life, but at least I wasn’t at that job I hated, so to me that equated to the same thing. I was happier and that meant I was a better mother and spouse and a better version of me. I was able to spend the mornings and afternoons with my baby and nurse her most of the day (which meant less pumping, TOTAL WIN), and I worked evenings and Saturdays (which neither of us had off), so I would see my husband briefly some afternoons and other days I would see him when I got home. Although I didn’t see my husband as often as I wished, I felt like I was winning at this game of parenthood, because my child got to spend time with both of her parents each day.
August 18th, (yes, I have exact dates, lol) I texted my husband that I wasn’t feeling well and that I was extremely nauseous. August 19th, we had a family birthday party that was a 2-hour drive away and I was the designated driver for a few family members. I also had the task of driving them back home that night. At this point I’m still not feeling my best, but the show must go on; so I pushed through and went to the party. August 20th, it’s my 37thbirthday, and I’m home solo with the baby because my husband stayed the night at the party. I’m tired, still not feeling well, and I don’t care that it’s my birthday, me and baby girl sleep most of the day. A thought crosses my mind, but I’m too tired to engage in my crazy thoughts. August 21st, I’m nauseous AGAIN, hmmm (I say to myself). I go to the hall closet and grab a pregnancy test (the wild thought I had the day before) and since it’s going to expire soon (10/17), I take the test. POSITIVE!!!! Oh wow! Baby NUMBER 2 is here sooner than expected (by 2 months, for you who really want the tea) HAPPY BIRTHDAY to me!!! SO NOW I know WHY I’ve been sick and NOW I’m scared, but not because I’m pregnant, I’m scared because I’ve been sick lately. With my first child my HG started to set in at week 9. I wasn’t even 4 weeks pregnant and it had already started to set in, and that, my sippers is why I was scared (more on my HG struggle in another post.) How will I manage this pregnancy with a soon to be 1 year old, family life, and work while being sick? The stress starts to set in.
My two part time jobs were stress free so that helped for this new pregnancy. I was enjoying my schedule, the new routine, and it was making managing my HG easier. Then Miss CharlieB sleep schedule started to change. My baby who used to go to bed late, now needed mommy home earlier, so she could nurse (yes, I was nursing while pregnant, and YES I got pregnant while breastfeeding) and be comforted at night. Working in midtown and leaving work at 10pm, and taking the subway, I was getting home at 11pm, three nights a week. It began to take a toll on her and my husband, and I recognized this (Sip Alert: it helps to recognize signs as soon as possible, in order to minimize stress). Now I had to step up and be the wife and mom that I said I would be and for me that meant I needed to return to my day time job for the duration of this pregnancy. This was THE MOST DIFFICULT decision I made for the year. My boss hated me, I disliked how she treated me and others around her. The workplace environment was hostile, and she lacked compassion and nitpicked on everything I did. It wasn’t the ideal situation to go back to, BUT I did, this time with a plan and THE LARGEST CUP OF FAITH on earth. I was sipping prayers all day every day.
I went back to work on a Wednesday, because going to work mid-week is an easier transition than starting on a Monday, (Sip Alert), three-day work week then a two-day break. The next week was Christmas and followed by New Year’s. Making the calendar work for this transition was key to my survival. Since I was about to enter my third trimester, I knew that would mean days off for appointments, so I would make them on Wednesdays to break my week up, (told ya I had a plan.) Once 2018 began, I would implement step 2 of my plan “Operation FIND A JOB”.
One of my selling points in convincing my husband to let me work part-time was “…in order work full time in the field I wanted, I needed experience and the only entry level positions in my field was part time work.” With working the two pt jobs, I had two years working experience in an Academic setting. Now it was time for me to put this master’s degree and my work experience to work. I aggressively searched, and I mean aggressively, I must have sent out nearly 5-10 emails out a week. I perfected my cover letter, I have never written a better cover letter before in my life. I always struggled with cover letters and now I was ‘pouring’ them out. It’s interesting what Faith, a Plan, and a little (well, maybe a lot of) pressure will do to you. I guess my other motivation was the fact that I was fed up and after working in such pleasant atmospheres, I refused to stay where I was (I had a taste of the Good life and couldn’t turn back.) I interviewed, with no success and finally I got to the point where I told myself that I needed to relax, either they take me for who I am or it’s their loss.
February 13, 2018, I got an offer to interview, but honestly the day they wanted to interview me did not fit in with my schedule. I got the response that this was the ONLYday they were doing interviews, so I accepted. February 16th, I went into that interview VERY PREGNANT, with NO CARES TO GIVE with my TAKE ME AS I AM ATTITUDE… and let me tell you I rocked that interview and GOT THE job. Now, this job came with its own conditions, it was a temporary GRANT based job that would only result in re-employment contingent upon renewal of the grant. It was also only Spring/Fall semester based, which actually worked out with my maternity leave dates. So many people thought I was nuts for taking this job… well let’s just say, not only did I come back for the Fall semester, I am No Longer on a grant. I was rehired as a reoccurring Adjunct Professor and did I mention it is ONLY 2 days a week 9-5, AND I’M HAPPY, I’m so happy at this job (I still work my other PT job 2 evenings a week and 2 Saturdays a month). Those CUPS OF FAITH and PRAYERS came ALL THE WAY through. I am so grateful for being persistent and having that faith because, although it was scary and there was so much uncertainty, it worked out. Thank you, God, for answering those prayers and providing me with the tenacity to reach my goal.
Sip of advice for my sippers, Faith, Prayers, Confidence, and A PLAN can get you so far. Have a Happy Holiday and we will take a sip together in the New Year. It’s the beginning of anything you want, if you are willing to work towards it.