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March 2, 2018

Being a Working Mom | Personal Note | Jen Araya Photography

I’m just going to say it: being a working mom is the hardest job ever.  This post has been a long time coming.  I’m going to be COMPLETELY open and honest!  Shit’s about to get real (sorry if that is offensive but I’m being honest).  I will discuss all of the things new moms are feeling!

Guilt…Balance…Organization…Planning…Prioritizing…Juggling…Tired…Stressed…Frustrated…Overwhelmed…Time…Can you relate to any of these moms? 

They say it gets easier when you come back to work full time after having a baby.  I don’t agree with that statement AT ALL!  I would say it’s a new routine or new normal.  I still DON’T LIKE it but I’ve gotten used to it.  It’s definitely not easier for me.  Somehow I’m busier NOW at work versus before I was on maternity leave.  How did that happen?  I breastfeed my daughter so I pump 2-3 times a day during the work week.  I eat lunch at my desk 9 out of 10 times so I make up the time I’m in the mother’s room.  But why do I still feel GUILTY about that?  I shouldn’t?  I should take the break and step away from the craziness to recharge, but I don’t.

I feel guilty about being away from my daughter!  I’ve cried too many times on my way home from work or in the mother’s room.  I was “Too Busy” to pump on a regular schedule when I first started back to work and I was in pain.  Now, that there are three other moms pumping I have to pump at my time slots otherwise I will have to wait.  Being in pain is no fun when you are overwhelmed.  It’s a bit more structured now which helps me.  To be blunt, it hurts and is EXTREMELY uncomfortable when you don’t pump in a timely manner.  A little tip for any new moms out there: make sure to have EXTRA supplies for your pump, you will thank me later.  I learned that the HARD WAY!! 

DISCLAIMER: this is my opinion, and how I feel.  I wrote this from my perspective, in no way shape or form is undermining the support I do get.  THANK YOU FOR THE SUPPORT, YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE!

How do you balance everything?  Here is what a work day looks like for me.   Okay here we go:  The night before I take out all of her food that needs to defrost, clean the bottles, and sort out her milk.  I wake up at 5am to shower, get myself ready, prep my lunch, prep my pump supplies, finish prepping anything I can, putting away dishes or the time allows because V will wake up earlier sometimes.  I feed her, and then Sean will get her diaper changed, change her clothes and give V her medicine.  I then get dressed because no one wants to get spit up on their work clothes.  That always happens when I’m running late.  I get dressed, make my breakfast (Sean will do this for me as well), finish prepping her bottles/food and put in a cooler for drop off, get my cooler for my milk ready,  my lunch together and clean up any dishes from making breakfast which again Sean helps with.  I know I could cut out breakfast and eat when I get to work, BUT because I’m breastfeeding that is the one thing I DO NOT want to give up.  I’m usually starving at 5am.  PHEW, we haven’t even left yet!   

Anyways, I put all the bags in the car while my husband gets her in the car seat and then drop V off at my mom’s house.  I inform her of anything that is not V’s normal then I go to work.  My average time arriving to work is 7:40am. 

I try to get as much done before everyone else gets in because that is the quiet time.  Once people arrive, I am the go to person and I get interrupted a lot and get pulled in different directions at once.  Don’t get me wrong, I love that but I hate it at the same time.  That’s when I have my harder days at work.  I’m too busy and not thinking about my daughter.  I feel overwhelmed.  I get MAD at myself for not texting my mom when it’s been HOURS later to see how Vivienne is doing.  I feel guilty because I’m not with her.  I want to be with her.  I also want her to learn how to be with others, but she is my new best friend and I just want to hang out with her!!!  I look at her photos all the time especially when I’m in the Mother’s room.  I cry in there on my bad days. 

As an added wrinkle, my husband travels a decent amount for his job so there are small things to sort out that you don’t think of until they’re in front of you.  Things like running to the store for milk, cooking dinner or taking out the trash are not as simple anymore! 

People don’t talk about this part of being pregnant or coming back from maternity leave.  It’s TOUGH!  Never mind being asked to attend meetings throughout the day, then you know it, it’s 1pm and you haven’t pumped yet?  OUCHIE!  Why did I have such a hard time putting pumping first on my priority list?  New mom’s out there, find a routine that works for you!


What about missing out on the big milestones?  The first time your baby rolled over, were you there for that?  I was lucky that I did not miss that but I have missed others.  Don’t even get me started with that.  Do you think three months for maternity leave is enough?  I don’t think it is. 

I would LOVE to be supermom, but I can’t!  I need to let that part go!  I’m not perfect and I never will be.  I need to find a good balance with EVERYTHING in my life.  Oh did I mention that I have a photography business on the side?  WHAT? 

Keeping my business going, when do I have time for that?  By the way, I’m going through a rebrand process right now.  Add that onto the never ending to-do list.  I work on my business when she naps.  But wait, we have a house that needs to be cleaned???  Who has time for that?  We did invest in hiring someone to clean every other week.  Thank you to my good friend Lauren for introducing me to her.  LIFE CHANGING!!!!!  I get mad because I don’t have time to put my own clothes away.  I do V’s laundry first because she’s a baby and she needs clothes.  I think I need to let my clothes go and realize it’s the new normal.  Then 9 out of 10 times my clothes will not be put away.  It is what it is.  Working a full time job, breastfeeding, making her food, spending quality time with my daughter and the list does not end and I know it never will!  Any supermom’s out there, please share your ways!  How do you make it all work?  What else can I do?  Wait, I also have a husband too.  How do you make time for your spouse???  When is there time to workout??

am usually smiling ear to ear when I’m on my way to pick up V from my mom’s.  Once I get home I try to wash all of her bottles immediately so it’s done and they can dry.  Then hit the repeat button!  Add a bath every few nights.  Oh wait, what about yourself?  I don’t get things done because my body is telling me it’s time to sleep!  How can I take care of someone else when I’m not taking care of myself?  I LOVE BEING A MOM!!!!!  Maybe I’m just doing everything wrong?  There is no rule book and I’m doing what I know works for me for right now.  It could change tomorrow!  How do you make it all work?  I know I started with how my day looks and then it turned into a rant.  BUT I hope just one of you learns from my experience, and if you have a better way of doing ANY of this please reach out to me!!! 

I LOVE LOVE LOVE being a mom!  It’s the best decision I ever made.  I told Sean before we were ever engaged that I would NEVER do IVF.  If I couldn’t get pregnant on my own then I would travel the world.  Don’t get me wrong I still want to travel the world.  I knew if I did not try IVF, I would have regretted it.  I’m glad I gave it a chance.  It was the BEST decision I have ever made in my life so far.  I always put Vivienne first because she is not going to stay this little for long and I need to cherish these times and I DO!  She is my world! 

So in the end, if you are feeling guilty, not balanced, not organized, not good at planning, tired, stressed, overwhelmed, not prioritizing, and don’t have enough time for anything, YOU ARE NOT ALONE!!!  AND IT’S OKAY!

Shout outs to all the working mom’s out in the world.  A special thank you to Kristina, Katie, Amy and Stephanie at Cumberland Farms.  Also in the photo industry, Shannon and Alisha.  My closest friends, you know who you are! 

In the end, after rewriting this blog post SEVERAL times, I need to give myself more credit!  I do think in a weird way this blog post made me realize a lot of things!  I need to stop beating myself up.  Take a deep breath and realize I’m doing well!  As much as I would love to be supermom I’m not and that is okay!  Or maybe I’m not all the time, but have my Supermom moments which is okay too!

Again, this blog post is not meant to be a time to complain but a way to describe all of the (crazy nuts amazing time-consuming and occasionally) things in my life right now.  I’m sharing my experience but I also want to hear yours!  What do you do that works for you?  How do you balance everything?  I’m open to new ideas and suggestions.  Email me: jen@jenaraya.com

Xoxo, Jen Araya


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