February 22, 2010

The Working Mom Gig

A long time ago, someone told me that being a working mom was way harder than being a stay-at-home mom. Now that I've had a taste of both ends of the spectrum, I am somewhat inclined to agree.

1. Sleep
For one thing, during my year at home with PK (aside from the first 6-8 weeks of multiple nighttime feedings and 6am wake-ups), I managed to get some pretty good sleep. I'd go to bed at around midnight, and I often wouldn't have to get up until 8am or so. If I lacked sleep during that period, it was because I was dumb enough to go to bed late knowing full well that my little human alarm clock would go off without fail.

Now that I'm working again, I have to haul my butt out of bed at 6:30am, get dressed, and help get PK ready for daycare. This was a much easier task when PK was smaller and less mobile, and when the weather was warmer so we didn't have to spend so much time bundling ourselves and PK up just to get out the door. I guess a 6:30am wake-up time wouldn't be so bad if we didn't get to bed between 11:30pm and midnight every night, but I guess we're gluttons for punishment.

2. Workouts
I have a feeling that I was in slightly better shape when I was staying at home with PK. I used to be able to sneak in my workouts while PK was napping. Since she would usually have at least one two-hour nap per day, I had 1 hour to work out and 1 hour to relax. I had a pretty good workout routine too, alternating between hangboard workouts for core and upper-body and balance ball and balance dome workouts for core and full-body.

Nowadays, I take what I can get. This means doing push-ups, chin-ups, and squats in the morning while I get ready for work, and a power-walk all the way home from daycare. I also try to walk at lunch, sometimes alone, and sometimes with a friend. I find that the lunch walks are great because they give me some alone time (or time with another grown-up - bonus!) and they clear my head so that I can get back to the second half of my day with renewed energy.

I know it sounds like I'm complaining, when I really shouldn't be. After all, I am probably getting a better workout than most. My only beef with this is that I feel like I have to squeeze it in here and there, and do the workout that's available to me, rather than the one I choose.

3. Free Time
By the time I get home from work, its between 6:30 and 6:45pm. Fortunately, it coincides with when the hubby gets home. But it means that we have between an hour to an hour-and-a-half to feed PK and ourselves, play with her, and do some toilet training before getting her ready for her bath. By the time she gets to bed, it's 9pm. I think it's way too late, but really, what choice do we have? If you're wondering if I can save time by cutting out that walk home, the answer is no. First of all, since I have the stroller, I can't just hop on at any old subway station. The nearest accessible station to the daycare is 1km away from the daycare (the nearest non-accessible one is 0.5km away). Plus, by the time I take various elevators in and out of the stations and squeeze in and out of a crowded subway car and all that, it takes us just as long to get home by transit as it does on foot. Also, PK usually gets a nice nap when we walk home. Win-win for all.

Back to the free-time thing. So PK is in bed by 9pm, and we have about 45minutes to an hour of cleanup and get-ready-for-the-next-day work to get done, so by the time we're in bed, it's between 10:30 and 11pm, if we're lucky. Not much time to relax before getting to bed and doing it all over again.

If this sounds like a complaint, I apologize. It actually isn't. I am merely trying to point out the fact that life definitely gets a lot busier when there are two working parents in the family. Still, I wouldn't trade this for the world. Even though there are days when my job pisses me off, I love being able to work. I love being able to make my own money. Most importantly, I find that since returning to work, PK and I have really bonded. I think it's because our time nowadays is so limited that I need to make what little time we have together really count. I don't take her for granted, and she doesn't take me for granted either.

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