We’d spent the past three weeks sleeping in shifts when I declared myself unable to sleep sitting up with a baby on my chest any longer. I was deathly afraid I’d fall into a deep sleep (not just the occasional snooze while he ate) while holding him in an unsafe position and so we decided to split the night up (this is a completely different post, really. Suffice to say, Hayden hated his bassinet). Chris took the early shift, sending me upstairs to nap (in between feeding sessions, that is, and at the time our little guy was eating every one to two hours) until he couldn’t stay awake any longer, and then I’d takeover from there. Our way of dealing with Hayden’s early days was far from conventional, I think, but again, that’s another post to be written at another time.
Anyway, my dear husband couldn’t wait to get back to work, if only because it would put some semblance of a schedule back into his life. He’d be able to sleep at night again, and would get a bit of a break to just be with himself during the day at work before coming home and helping out again in the evenings. I didn’t blame him one bit, but didn’t find myself in at all the same position. At that point I still had between four and eight weeks of maternity left available to me, but the mere thought of doing work other than strictly being Mommy already was giving me serious pangs of anxiety. Plus, I work an overnight shift and we were not planning to put Hayden in childcare, so the logistics regarding when I would ever sleep once I went back to work added to my ever-increasing angst.
|Out and about with friends|
I’ve been back at work for about a month and a half now, and while I wish I could say it has been incredibly easy on all of us, it also hasn’t been nearly the nightmare that I expected and dreaded it to be. We’ve worked out a pretty good routine, the three of us. I get home from work at about 6am and after putting things away head straight to bed. Normally, I am asleep by 6:30. Hayden wakes up any time between 5:30 and 7:00 (normally towards the later end, thank goodness for my hubby!), and Chris gets up with him and takes him downstairs. The baby gets fed, changed, and Chris spends time with him until it is time for him to go to work, at which point he tries to get him to fall back to sleep and brings him upstairs to our bedroom in his Rock ‘n’Play (which, if I haven’t mentioned before, is a genius invention and needs to be given some sort of award). If he is asleep at that point, I normally don’t even wake up, sleeping until he wakes me. We normally head downstairs between 9 and 11, when I feed him, grab some cereal myself, and hangout for a bit before he takes a good morning nap (which usually lasts between an hour and two hours). Hayden does the majority of his daytime sleeping during the morning, which works out pretty well for me. If we have gone downstairs already, when he takes his morning nap I normally look at the mess around me and then lay down on the couch and nap with him. Lately, though, we’ve been indulging ourselves a bit and staying upstairs until the early afternoon. When he wakes up, I bring Hayden into bed with me, where I feed him, and then we cuddle and watch tv until he dozes back off, at which point I happily do the same.
|Hayden hanging with his Grandpa|
Chris comes home between 4 and 5, usually, at which point he assumes “daddy duty” and I pump before lying down before work. I try to get at least two or three hours in the evenings, but it is hard because I am always hating that I am missing time with my boys! I do try to nap as best I can, though, before pumping once more and heading out for work (I start my shift at 9:30). Normally around the time I am leaving, Chris is putting Hayden down for the night, so he gets a couple of hours to himself to either play his computer games or go to bed early if he is particularly tired.
Phew. That seems a lot more complicated than it actually feels when we are doing it. The nice thing is, my days off rotate so I do work some weekend nights. On those days, I get several hours more of uninterrupted sleep thanks to my amazing husband, and we get to spend a bit of time together as a family in the afternoons. I do wish the baby got out of the house more often during my work week, though, so on my days off I try to make sure we have at least one big outing. Lately we’ve been spending a lot of time wandering around the parks at Walt Disney World, meeting the characters and taking advantage of our annual passes.
It is amazingly corny, but being a mom has made me a much better version of myself.
How did you cope with going back to work after having your first baby? Did you have to adjust your schedule in a major way? How has it changed as your baby gets older?