As it turns out, Ellie's first birthday is bringing a lot of changes for me, too.
I've been struggling for months to balance work and motherhood, and some days have been better than others. Mostly, though, I've been stressed and often feeling like something was slipping by me. I still can't believe Ellie's whole first year is gone!
Don't get me wrong, Brian and I make the most of the time we get with Ellie. We do a lot of fun stuff together, often fitting in some pool or park time at the end of our long work days. And we certainly fill the weekends with lots of activity. But I guess I'm just selfish when it comes to my time with Ellie — I want more! I blame Ellie, really, for being too cute and lovable.
After months of thinking about it to myself, I started talking to Brian about those feelings and what I could do about it. Brian is always concerned about our finances (as am I, but maybe to a lesser degree) and he raised a lot of valid points/concerns about us trying to get by on one income. And I knew as well that it wasn't an ideal plan, partly because I didn't necessarily want to step out of the workforce entirely. So, I started to explore the possibility of going down to part-time work.
Ellie's first birthday was a real launching pad for this idea, since she didn't qualify for part-time daycare in the infant room. But now that she's in the 1- to 2-year-old room, we have that option.
Finally I broached the subject with my bosses a few weeks back. To their credit, they heard me out... but then said "no," because they didn't want to risk losing a full-time position in the newsroom. They DID however work out a compromise with me.
Starting on Monday, I will be shifting to a morning shift every week day. I will work 6 a.m. to noon (30 hours total), and then hustle out the door to go pick up Ellie from daycare — where she is shifting to a part-time daycare schedule. As long as we have Ellie in daycare fewer than 25 hours a week, we get to pay less... which makes daddy very happy :) And as long as I can complete my remaining 10 hours work from home each week, I'll continue as a full-time newsroom staff member AND get to spend more time at home with Ellie. This makes mommy very happy ;)
It's going to be a big change. I don't relish the idea of my alarm going off at 5 a.m. every day... but I am looking forward to having the afternoons to take adventures with Ellie. I've already started thinking about the visits we'll take to the park, zoo, pool, library, mall, etc. And the mom's group in Lafayette hosts all sorts of playgroups and other events that I've eyed from a distance until now because most were held during normal workday hours. But now we may be able to make some of these afternoon events, meeting fun new moms and babies.
Wish me luck as I continue my efforts to strike this balance between being a professional and a being a mom. I suspect there are still plenty of challenges ahead of me and our family, but I'm so glad that I have a supportive husband who listens and helps me search for solutions.