how it’s going after baby {20 weeks}

Since the last time I checked in ten weeks ago, things with Jacob have been great and life has been crazy!  Life at home with my four kids has settled into a good rhythm, but returning to work has completely thrown me for a loop.  Overwhelmed is the word that comes to mind when I think about how I feel about adding work back into my daily routine.  My sixteen weeks of maternity leave were the biggest blessing and I miss those days staying home with my kids so very much.  I’ve gone back to work after maternity leave before, so I have been trying to figure out why I am having such a difficult time this time around.  I think it’s harder this time because Jacob is my last little baby.  I think it’s harder because I took so much time off and really got used to that lifestyle.  I think it’s harder because I know all too well how quickly these baby moments pass.  I think it’s harder because I now live so far from work and have to spend so much time in the car every day {around two and a half hours}.  I am currently on Easter Break and feel in control again.  What I need to figure out is how to keep this feeling when I add work back into the mix again next week.  Any ideas?  I’m stumped.

how it’s going physically…

Sleep…Ten weeks ago, Jacob was waking up only once a night, at 3:00am to nurse.  Oh how I wish I could have those days back!  The day I returned to work, the sleep stopped.  He is now up between two and six times a night and while he does normally go right back to sleep, I am completely exhausted because of it, but oddly enjoy these precious night moments with him.  If only I could sleep in each morning…

Weight loss…Up until I returned to work I was slowing losing those last ten pounds of baby weight.  The week I returned to work I gained two pounds and now can’t shake it.  I eat salads for lunch.  I eat fruit or almonds for snack.  I eat small portions.  I run around ALL DAY LONG, and yet, the weight stays.  I’m frustrated.  I would add a morning workout it, but I wake up at 4:30am as it is to make the long drive, so I really just can’t sacrifice any more sleep at this point.  I wish I had time in the evenings to walk, but the hour plus drive in the afternoon eats up all of that time too.  It’s frustrating and I am ready for my clothes to feel good on me again.

Nursing…It’s fabulous.  I love being pregnant, I love talking about babies {I could talk about birth stories and baby products and pregnancy for hours!}, and I love nursing.  I don’t love having to pump three times while at work each day, but to me it’s worth it.  Jacob is still on breast milk exclusively and is doing so well.  It’s amazing how babies can thrive on mama’s milk alone!

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how it’s going mentally…

Get ready for some honesty.  It’s not pretty, but these are the honest thoughts that creep in and try to consume me.  My hope in sharing these honest feelings is that some mom out there realizes she isn’t alone.  That there is someone else out there struggling to make it too.  That although life is beautiful and one can appear 100% happy, there is a lot going on below the surface.  I am human and with God’s guidance, I have a lot to work on.

I am completely overwhelmed by work.  While I am there I feel happy, but the long drives give me a lot of time to feel frustrated, to wish I was with my baby, to think about all the things I could be doing if I weren’t driving.  I know I chose to live where I live and I feel frustrated that we couldn’t afford to live closer to work, but reality is reality and we simply couldn’t.  I am just trying to find balance between it all and to push this overwhelming frustration away so that I can feel consistently happy like I do when I am cuddling Jacob to sleep at night, or when I am reading Andrew his bedtime story, or when Caitlyn runs to me with a huge smile as I pick her up in the afternoons, or when Samantha offers to help give her younger siblings their baths.  I cling to these moments.  I feel badly for my own kids and husband because I feel like they get the tired, worn out, short tempered version of myself while my students get the patient, energetic one.  I’m struggling with feeling that it’s not fair.  I am struggling to be happy that I have a great job instead of resenting it for pulling me away from my kids.  Caitlyn turned 5 and wanted nothing more than to have her few little preschool girlfriends over for a party, and I just haven’t gotten it together.  Caitlyn is due for her five-year physical and Samantha NEEDS to see the dentist and I just don’t have the energy to pick up the phone and make the appointments.  Meanwhile, I am able to get all of my students’ report cards done and plan a fabulous open house and organize my classroom library and hold parent meetings.  I am so stressed and sleep deprived that I have been sick for two weeks straight: mastitis. cold. pink eye. sinus infection. strep throat.  I feel guilty for putting my family and myself second.  My kids are my life and it isn’t fair that I am not doing all I can for them.  It makes me cry.  It makes me sad.  I find myself asking God “why?”  Why can’t I just be with my babies so I can be the best mom possible?  I am praying a lot.  I pray that I find a way around these negative feelings,  appreciate what I have, and have strength to deal with the hand I have been given.  I pray that I live as an example to my children, someone to look up to and admire.  I pray that I have a smile on for my kids when they see me each morning and each afternoon and that they don’t know my pain and my frustration.  That they only feel my love and know that they are safe and cared for and wanted and appreciated.  In the midst of it all, I find myself exceptionally thankful.  Not a morning goes by that I don’t thank God for my healthy children, for my home, for my job, for my family, for my very blessed life.  I really, honestly cannot complain.  I simply hope to find peace and balance and will let God direct my steps because I can’t do it alone.

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