I have been a working mom for approximately 48 days and 48 nights.
In that time, I have gotten up at 4:30 am, not once, but twice, for work, and been amazed at how much easier early mornings are for me now that I’m a mom, 5-months in to the most erratic sleep schedule of my adult life. I have also worked until 1 am on several occasions, driving home through a dark Southern California desert on a highway known for big rig accidents and head on collisions, through towns known for meth heads and Vietnamese gangs.
In that time, I have come to accept my new position as a lactating mammal, a milk cow on the go, a walking wet stain. I have pumped in more parking lots than I can count, while conducting my first surveillance assignment, and even while in bumper to bumper traffic on the 5, inching my way home from field work at 3 miles per hour – tired, thirsty, and hungry, wearing only one contact, because the other one ripped apart in my eye (that was fun and probably very dangerous). I have stashed milk in bottles and bags, in cups of ice from Del Taco, and in more cups of ice still, from Starbucks, In n Out, and Seven Eleven. I may avoid the food 9 times out of ten, but I’ll keep coming back for the ice for many months to come.
In those 48 days and 48 nights, I have become surprisingly less stressed out about this working mom malarkey as each day goes by. I have ginourmous blessings to count: a 7-minute commute; the liberty to take lunch breaks for as long as I want (provided I’m not out in the field) to nurse and nap my darling baby; the opportunity to learn a new very interesting skill, that of the private investigator; and a wonderful nanny I adore. Yet there are things that irk me as well: learning new things on so little sleep is difficult (D still gets up at least once, but often twice per night), making me feel frustrated and inept at least half the time; my nanny takes home more pay than I do, by a whopping $1500 per month; she, the nanny, gets to clean-up blow outs and marvel at longer than normal naps, while taking home more money than I, me who is separated from my baby for 7 to 10 hours a day; and the worst one of all, being separated from my baby, my Daphne, the jewel of my existence, the heart of my soul (especially stomach ache inducing, that one, not matter how you slice and dice it).
In those hours and on those desert roads, I have fantasized about throwing myself into being a stay at home mom. I have fantasized about the novels I would finish while she naps, the bar exams I’d have time to study for, the work outs I would do. I have fantasized about the amazing baby blogs I’d write, documenting the moments more, the magical, amazing, once in a lifetime moments, family members have made a point to remind me that I’m missing. I have dreamed about spending hours pureeing baby food, and then the messy baby face that comes after it. I have dreamed of laying on the grass atop a freshly washed blanket stroking my baby’s soft goose down covered head, kissing her translucent eyelids, and laughing, lots of laughing.
As you can see, I’m conflicted. But I’m also determined. Books will get finished, and baby beauty will be documented. There will be plenty of splendor in the grass. There will be workouts too, like 30-minute rides on the trainer while I let my brain relax to the jarring voices of reality television. And there will eventually be a bar exam. God willing, of course.
Just maybe I will find a way to have it all. But if I don’t, I will find a way to have, be, do, some of it. I’ll make being a working mom work. Or, maybe I won’t. But for now, I’m 48 days in to a bittersweet adventure that makes getting up at 4:30 am, for feedings definitely worth it AND for field work, mostly worth it too, I hope.
Now let’s look at that gigorgous (I just made up a word!) baby I speak of, shall we?