It’s been a long week…

Today is Friday.

It felt like the week was too long this week, perhaps because I am having withdrawal syndrome after spending a good long long weekend with Little Foot (with two days off last week).

Also because I was called back to office on Monday night.

Unexpectedly, work delayed me from returning home tonight. 

Do I blame work? Not really. Work has always been there.

I just realised that  while it was still in my DNA to be absorbed by my work, and this week was mickey mouse in comparison to how hard I used to drive myself, something had changed at my very core.

Me. My attitude towards work. My attitude towards people.

First and foremost, I am Little Foot’s mother. The pre-motherhood me may have had empathy for everyone under the sun. That’s what my religion taught me… so I apply it. Mechanically.

The me today applies empathy to everyone because as a mother I have experienced a transformation of sorts… I have this “don’t want this to happen to my child” attitude. I apply it to everyone and everything instinctively. 

Motherhood perhaps made me unwilling to be judgemental on others, and also unwilling to impose my views and values on others.

Remembering how I used to assume that because I chiong at work, people in my team should do so too. I laughed at how clueless I was…. there is life beyond work. And some people made it a point to have a different kind of priority list from the chronic workoholic.  I’ve been there and now I’m on the other side of the fence.

Life does have a way of boomeranging back on us.

And so tonight I rushed back in time to catch Little Foot before she slept. We hugged and I nursed her to sleep. I sang to her. I patted her backside.

And I wanted to cry.

How I missed her the whole week… yet I hardly had time to miss her.
I can’t help but wonder what I’ve missed while away from her.

And I wanted to cry. Mentally, it is exhausting, focusing on not thinking about the one person you just want to think about, so I can finish work and get back to her sooner rather than later.

I hope in the course of my work, I don’t have to unknowingly do anything that would take someone else away from their family unless there is really no choice.

As a wise friend once said, we always have a choice. We just assume we don’t.

How true.

Thank God for all the small pockets of time spent together. 

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A quick wefie the moment I walked through the door

Thank God it’s Friday.

Dwindling photos

Because I’m at work for the better part of the times that Little Foot is awake, I find that the number of photos capturing her moments, the number of wefies and random shots have dwindled to a handful, sometimes not even one photo a day on week days. 

I feel sad.

Little Foot, am I missing anything while I’m at work?

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Playtime with Papa yesterday just before bedtime

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Playtime with mummy this evening.

We have a baby cam which I got Papa Long to place in front of her playmat in the house. Watching her playing or zooming past in her walker helps me manage my feelings when I miss my little girl.

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Thank God for technology, but I do miss those sahm days when I could keep snapping photos, watch her play, read her a book and guide her along with whatever she was trying to do.

Still, I take heart that she is in good hands.

I tell myself, chin up…there’s always weekends and lunch dates.

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Just another moment, please?

My Little Foot is pushing her bed time.  Nowadays, she end up trying her hardest to be up till 9pm. An hour later than her usual bed time which she set herself months ago.

My guess is, maybe she just wants a few more minutes and a few more moments with me. For that, I am grateful.

Today, I missed her while I watched her play through the baby monitor. So near, yet so far… I could sit there and stare all day watching her go through all her toys, pulling herself to stand supported, but there is work to be done, and I want to quickly wrap it up and not do OT.

Every working mama goes through this. A sense of wistfulness,  and also a secret prayer to the Big Guy Up there to not let you miss a milestone –“No, don’t take your first steps while I’m not there…”

When I used to have 24/7 with her, I didn’t really maximise the time we had together.  Now that time together is a scarcity,  there are times I rather not take my dinner till we’ve played and she’s fast asleep. Every morning,  I keep saying to myself,  “just awhile more…” before I have to peel myself away from her side.

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I’m sure I’m not alone in this journey.
To my fellow full time working mummies, jia you!

Don’t miss the moment

I’m feeling stoned and shuttling between laptop and baby tonight.

It is one of those days when everything at work has the same deadline – Now.

So decided that, rather than camp in office, I would be home to play awhile with Little Foot and then tuck her in bed…..then I continue to try to finish up the slides I was working on (amongst other things).

Getting her to sleep was rather smooth today. I walked out to the dining table to continue my work… less than half hour later, she cried. So here I am, blogging while she comfort latches back to dreamland.

As we lay here in each others’ arms, I remind myself that she won’t always need me. She won’t always be so physically and emotionally attached to me. She won’t always want to fall asleep in my arms. One day, she will grow up and probably roll her eyes if I asked her to sleep with mummy tonight. 

I tell myself to soak in the moment,  leave the work be for awhile. Her babyhood is coming to an end as we near her 1st birthday. It saddens me a little. How time really slipped us by.

I’m happy to sprint back to the room as long as you need me, my baby… thank you for needing me as much as you do now. I love you to the moon and back! 

Eh eh eh!

I wonder how work-from-home mummies do it.

My first time bringing my laptop home this weekend. Woke up to realise I have to quickly respond to work this morning.

Ran for Little Foot’s music class. (Baby K joined us today!)

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Had lunch, went to City Square to buy a present for the baby party we are invited to tomorrow, bought a toy to add on to my preps for Little Foot’s Big O-N-E party.

Got home… sent her off to the playground with Aunty Lily so I could work on those darn slides which we have been cracking our head over.

She came home, took her dinner, showered…. and mummy was still at it. In Papa Long’s words “She finish playing everything liao…” and mummy was still staring at the laptop. So she proceeded to insist on being in the same room and “eh eh eh!” non-stop and trying to get her hands on me.

Stress!!!

Felt like I was being guilt-tripped, but I pressed on and finished it up before I picked her up and let her glue herself to me.

I doubt I will ask to telecommute. It’s just too taxing on my willpower.

 

 

A tiny issue there….

Being back at work is one thing. Being back at work while still a lactating mum is another thing.  I’m still trying to figure the whole situation out.

I don’t know how my friends coped when they went back at 3 or 4 months post delivery (I remember it used to get so painful if I didn’t pump or latch on time).

Maybe it’s just the way I am. I am happy to inform the blogosphere that I’m a breastfeeding mother. At work however,  I feel inclined not to shout it out loud if I can help it.

I feel paiseh…. whenever I have to explain to someone that I’ll be “downstairs”, especially the guys. So it turned out, my one pump a day around 2pm is almost always delayed.

And here’s the tricky thing, how to survive being at an event the whole day (off-site). I will find out next week.

Not a person to shun duties, so I do feel that it is inappropriate to say “can you don’t roster me?” (Because helloooo. .. I can’t be carrying my pumps and bottles around).

Let’s hope I don’t get one of those epic blocked ducts episodes again next week. Feel feverish  just thinking about it.

So yes, welcome back to work, mama… maybe mothers like me are too conservative and being too hard on ourselves.

1st week as a full time working mum

Sunday is about to come to an end, and Little Foot is finally sound asleep.

Mummy finally gets some time to pause and reflect upon this week, my first full week as a full time working mum aka FTWM.

So many of my very supportive mummy friends have congratulated me at the end of Friday with “yay! you survived your first week!”. I am so touched.  It really takes a fellow mummy to understand the pain of this transition,  especially since mine came so late in the mummy game.

How do I feel?

I think I didn’t do too badly for a fully latching mummy that has been glued to her baby for more than 10 months. I thought I might be so emo on my first day,  but honestly, once I stepped through the doors,  I didn’t really give myself chance to wallow in self pity. (It is good to have a linear brain sometimes. )

I spent the first two days cleaning my old workstation and shifting to the new one. 3+ years of junk and 11 mths of dust.  No joke.

The IT folks took awhile to get things going for me again. So it was only Wednesday that my machines were up. By then some work had already landed on my lap. Thursday morning was spent off site at a long meeting. Friday was the first day I felt like things are in full swing. There were a couple of occasions where meetings brought on migraine. I think some parts of my brain still needs time to be reactivated.

I had returned to work a changed person, but it wasn’t just me. The place seemed to have changed too… many of my kakis were no longer there. I don’t quite know what to make of it, but perhaps it migbt not be a bad thing. I feel less attached and so it doesn’t make me feel so bad when I left on the dot.

My mummy routine at work?

I set aside half an hour after lunch to visit the mothers’ room. Supply is slowly but surely dwindling,  so 1 pump session in the day works, as long as Little Foot latches in the morning and when I return home. It is during this pumping time that I think of her and miss her the most.

I try not to call home more than once daily. Simply because I know she jolts awake if the phone rings. If I do miss her, I have photos and videos on my phone /Facebook to get me through. We did 2 video calls this week 🙂

I find myself quickening my pace when I knock off. So, it’s a good thing I decided to drive instead of take the train. I definitely want to be there for her evening bath time and bed time.

I didn’t really have time yet to process whether I felt my time with her was more precious now that it is confined to the small pockets before and after work, but I was secretly happy when she pushed her bedtime,  because it meant more time to hang out together and play. I found myself more patient with her when she’s being cranky or resisting sleep.

As we had a hectic Saturday with the Winter ONEderland party and quite a tiring day today, maybe what I will miss most is being able to sleep till later than office hours on weekdays.

Is Little Foot coping well with our separation? I think she’s not doing too badly for starters.

Mornings,  she would cling to me for dear life once she saw me out of my PJs(clear signal mummy’s going out!)

Evenings, around the time I’m home,  she starts fussing. Once, she was there at the lift landing when the lift opened. I was soooo happy to see her face all lit up,  it brought me nearly to tears.

I think we both deserve a good pat on the back for doing so well in our first week of transition.

So this more or less sums up my transition from SAHM back to FTWM. I do feel that returning to work that I’m familiar with is less daunting than say, if I had gone to a completely new posting or workplace. Let’s hope my positive feelings continue.

To my Little Foot,

Mummy returns to work for us –  You, me and Papa. I firmly believe Papa should not be burdened with the role of being sole breadwinner. It is a psychologically draining position for anyone to be in, even if he doesn’t feel it.

And Mummy was brought up to believe that one must work hard and not be reliant on your spouse financially. What’s more, Papa and I have always been equals, and maintaining the equilibrium makes for a healthy marriage. With both of us working, we will be able to afford the best for you within our means. I believe we can do this without compromising our love and attention for you.

Thank you for nearly 11 months of company… and thank you for the bright smile you reserve for me when I reach home each evening. Thank you for letting me go back to work a changed person. You let me see that there are more important things to life than being a workaholic. Yes, you changed me, for the better.

Love you to the moon and back.

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