It was one of those mornings when your alarm goes off and you think “already?” Finn had been up most of the night with a stuffy nose from teething. He couldn’t breathe laying flat, so I held him upright for the majority of the night and laid him in his crib just in time to fall asleep and have the alarm go off a few minutes later. I got ready quickly and quietly while he was still asleep. He woke up just in time for us to leave looking well rested and happy, of course. When I got to work one of my co-workers glanced strangely at my shoulder and said, “Um, I think you have something on your shirt.” Yep. Crusted green snot.
My last post outlined some of the things I have done in recent months to help with the transition of going back to work after having a baby, and they have helped tremendously, but that doesn’t mean I don’t still have rough days. Days where there isn’t enough coffee in the world. So, I wanted to share a second list that might help for those particularly rough days.
- Your kids pick up on your attitude
I came across a video by Lisa-Jo Baker where she talked about saying goodbye to your kids. Here's what she had to say:
We can do one of two things. We can feel really guilty about it and our kids will pick up on that and respond to that emotion. And by that I mean we can say we’re "so sorry to leave them" and they can see how sad we are and our kids will think then that what we’re doing is somehow less than. But here’s what I’m learning to do. I’m learning that when I walk out the door to do something I’m certain God has called me to do, I want my kids to be on the same team as me. I want them to know I’m not choosing something over them, that instead I am inviting them into something God has called their mom to. I want them to understand it and to be brave and feel passionate about it right alongside me. I want them to know that they matter so much to me that I want them to know the heart of what God has called their mama into. -Lisa-Jo Baker
This was a big change for me, but since I’ve started doing this, not only is Finn in a better mood when I drop him off, I am too. After saying this to myself enough times, I started to believe it, and as time has gone on, I can finally say I know it is true. Lisa-Jo has an amazing blog, check it out here and watch the video at the bottom (grab the Kleenex first).
- Look for the blessings at work
All jobs are hard. It is easy to talk about the shortcomings of an employer, position, schedule, etc. What isn’t so easy, especially on the bad days, is finding the positives. The blessings I am currently thankful for are my amazing co-workers, who will tell me when there’s a massive amount of dried snot on my shoulder. Our Keurig machine, which is always fully stocked. My commute, because it gives me time to pray.
- Avoid doing both drop-off and pick-up (if possible)
If you can, try to have one day a week where you don’t have to do both drop-off and pick-up. I have two days a week where I don’t have to do drop-off, so I go to work early. It allows me to have some quiet work time before the day starts. Some days I get more done in this extra hour than I do the rest of the day. If I get behind on work I know I will have a block of uninterrupted time to catch up and it allows me to not take work home.
- Talk to your employer about alternate schedules
As mentioned in my last post, I talked to my employer when I realized I wasn’t handling the transition back to work well. I took PTO one day a week for a month to sort through everything, and after that month I came to them with a proposal for an alternate work schedule. And guess what, they accepted it. I now work from home two days a week. Sometimes on these two days my working hours are early in the morning, and sometimes they are late at night, but this schedule has given me the balance I was so craving.
- Find a mentor
A couple of years ago I went outside my comfort zone and asked someone to be a professional mentor to me. I heard her speak at a lunch and learn seminar and decided to email her, I had never met her prior to this. To my surprise, she agreed. We have been meeting ever since, some months more often than others. In the beginning I would go to our lunches prepared with questions about her business and career path. As time went on, I no longer needed to bring questions. The conversations expanded to faith, family, career and making it all work together. She has guided me through times of success and failure at work, provided me with wisdom about being a mom, and encouraged me to pursue the desires of my heart. Observe the people you encounter and if you see someone who inspires you, ask them if they would be willing to meet with you.
On particularly rough days, I have to remind myself that not everyday is going to be inspirational. Sometimes work will just be…work. As I shared in my last post, the first few months back to work I was just doing what I had to to get by. Over the last few months I have implemented the things I’ve shared in these two posts and it is amazing how much my attitude toward work has changed. I truly believe I am called to be where I am right now and when you believe that, you can’t help but enjoy your job.
"Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding.
Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take."