Burning the candle at both ends

Now that Hubby is back at work, I’m starting to realize just how hard this whole work-life balance thing is going to be. My current daily schedule:

6 am – Wake up, get ready, breakfast, pump, laundry/dishes before Monkey wakes up
7 am – Monkey wakes – nurse and get him ready for daycare
8 am – Drop Monkey off at daycare
9 am – Arrive at work
11 am – 15 min pump while eating lunch
2 pm – 15 min pump while reading papers, analyzing data
5 pm – 10 min pump then finish up experiments
5 pm – Leave work; Hubby picks up Monkey from daycare
6 pm – Arrive home, prep Monkey’s bottles while he naps/fusses/plays with Hubby
7 pm – Start Monkey’s bedtime routine (bath, change, nursing) while Hubby preps dinner
8 pm – Hopefully eat dinner, maybe have a glass of wine
9 pm – Quick pump and go to bed
4 am – Monkey wakes, nurse for an hour
5 am – Make decision to stay up or sleep another hour
6 am – Start it all over again

This is an incredibly tight schedule without a lot room for error. If Monkey has a hard time going to bed or doesn’t sleep his current* 8 hours, if traffic is especially bad (it just started to snow – shit), if anything goes off cue, then eating and sleeping are the first things to go. There’s no great time for the gym, although Hubby and I have contemplated trading off the 5 am time slot. I really can’t imagine anything else being introduced into the mix – like an illness (as in the sore throat I’m feeling) or traveling (the wedding we’re flying home for in 3 months).

There’s very little time for enjoying life, other than my (sometimes) peaceful 4 am feeding with Monkey or getting him ready in the morning. Hubby is a HUGE help, but there’s only so much he can do when I’m responsible for nursing (if he bottle feeds, then I have to pump – so not really a time-saver). I’m putting in 8 hours of work, after pumping and eating (kind of an important prerequisite for nursing), which is barely enough to keep up my desired work-load. I’m multi-tasking like a crazy lady and can’t figure out how I can organize things any further. I refuse to spend too much time in the lab on the weekends – I haven’t seen Monkey smile since this past weekend, and I have a feeling I won’t see it until this coming weekend. I’ve even thought of giving up the blog for a while (this post has been squeezed in during 5- and 10-minute incubations throughout the day), but it feels like one of the few things I truly have left all for myself.

I know our routine is still getting established right now, but it just feels so much more overwhelming than I ever imagined – I never realized how much of a time-suck all the little extras could be. I love the time with my son, but that’s really a very small portion (about 10%) of my day. I love my job, and I don’t want to be a stay-at-home mom. But I just can’t but wonder – after 18 years, will it all be worth it?

*Fingers crossed that this 8-hour sleeping pattern continues.


9 thoughts on “Burning the candle at both ends

  1. (((hugs))) I hear ya, and I'm at home! I can't imagine how busy you must be/feel. People keep telling me they will sleep longer and it will all get easier. Let's hope they're not full of shit! LOL!

  2. It sounds like you are finding your routine. It seems hectic now, but you will (eventually) learn where the “soft” parts of the schedule are.

    I don't know if it gets easier, or if you just acclimate. Or maybe the baby just gets older and more fun 🙂

    really, at 5 am is it a decision?!?! 🙂

  3. gertyz is right- you'll settle into the routine and find where the slack is, Monkey will get older and a bit less demanding/more forgiving, and you'll start to enjoy life again.

    But I won't lie- it will suck beyond belief when everyone gets sick. Luckily, that doesn't last long. Usually.

    (OK I have to add- my word verification was “zommy”. Which made me think “zombie mommy”, which is what I felt like during those first few months….)

  4. I don't know if it gets easier when they get older or if you just have different things to stress about/squeeze into your day. Just wait until Monkey has extra activities to find a place for in your life.

    But you will adapt and find a new normal.

    Could you do some sort of exercise routine/video at home instead of going to the gym?

    Take care of yourself.

  5. probably the only suggestion I have is to have your 8 o'clock glass of wine with monkey in your arm, sleeping, while you're in a rocking chair.

    disclaimer: the only baby I had in my arms is my niece and that was 10 years ago; I take care of a 12 years old teenager right now but I know her mother since 2009.

  6. I'm gonna be honest. So far for me, the first year has been getting harder, not easier. But I believe after the first year it will start to get easier.

    That said, even as it gets harder it becomes more and more worth it every day.

    The reason I say this is that through the months, the responsibilities multiply (vitamin drops if nursing, introducing solids, childproofing, taking care of teeth, etc.), routines change suddenly and sometimes drastically (new sleep patterns, teething, separation anxiety, etc.), and it seems like there's always something new to worry about.

    But it becomes more worth it because they start to interact and play more, they laugh, they start babbling, they recognize you and get visibly and vocally excited to see you, and it seems like just as you're at your wit's end, they do some new adorable thing that hooks you all over again.

    It won't take 18 years for you to feel like it's worth it, though sometimes it may seem that way. This is absolutely the toughest job in the world and we're all just doing the best we can. Monkey will soon be proud of his rockin' scientist mama and all that time spent pumping at the lab will be forgotten. That much I can promise you. 🙂

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