We traveled our way to Smyrna, TN with a baby, to see John's cousin Megan get married! That was a huge undertaking. We had to bring all the necessities, such as a bottle warmer, diapers, bibs, formula, toys, clothes and a pack-and-play for him to sleep in. We also had to stop twice to feed him on the way there. He didn't eat much. It turns out, Isaiah doesn't much like traveling. But overall, he did really well. He slept at the hotel without any problems. He was really a good baby. By the end, he was screaming to get out of his car seat - poor baby. All in all, it was a good trip. I just hope I don't have to do that again any time soon.
Starting back to work: my first week back!
There are a range of emotions when working and having a baby at home. I did have some separation anxiety from Isaiah, but not as much as others I have heard about. My mom is watching him for me, and that is a huge relief. However, I have struggled with serious feelings of guilt, allowing her to do this, because it is a lot of work. I had a major freak out about it yesterday - but fortunately, so far, mom is not freaking out. She recently resigned from her job and will have more time as well, and both her and my dad say they are happy to have a relationship with Isaiah. Currently it's the best plan we have. We are SO grateful to my parents. I couldn't work and do this without them. Yes, I could do daycare, but honestly, we're not in a place where we can really afford it right now anyway. The house payment is too big, and with all the other baby expenses, we are actually decreasing in our cash flow right now. Since I have scholarship money, we're ok, and I think we'll make it for the next two years, until I can get a postdoc, and make a little extra.
The good parts of working
Working has been a mixed bag. On the one hand, I get to do again what I simply love doing. It's part of my heart and soul. Without science, I feel lost. I just feel compelled to do it, and love being in lab. It also gives me a chance to be away from the baby and get a "break" so to speak. I can think adult thoughts and do adult things.
The sad parts of working
Mom put a camera on Isaiah so I can watch him while at work. I like it - and don't at the same time. I like being able to see him. But, it just makes me wish I was there. I keep his camera on a tab on my computer, so I can glance at him throughout the day. I feel like I am missing his life, and hope he will not suffer, having a mom who works full time. I don't feel like a "real mom." Feelings can lie, but there it is. I miss him. And I hope my mom will not become more of a parent to him than I am.
5:00 am - get up and eat, get ready for day
5:40 am - drop off Isaiah to my parent's house
6:40 am - arrive at Emory! Spend time with the Lord
7:30 am - start my working day
11:00 am - eat lunch
4:00 pm - end my working day, leave to jog from 4 until 5 pm in Emory's gym
5:00 pm - drive home
6:30 pm - arrive at my parent's house
7:00 pm - eat dinner with my parents
7:45 pm - arrive at home, feed Isaiah
8:00 pm - shower
8:30 pm - go to bed
10:00 pm - feed Isaiah
3:00 am - feed Isaiah
How it's going so far: trying to hit the big three
This schedule is working so far, but it is downright exhausting as well. I am constantly tired. I feel like my days of energy are passed away. I enjoy work. I feel like I don't see Isaiah much, because when I get home, I pretty much go to bed right away after dinner. Jogging is hard, but I'm doing it anyway, M - Th, taking Friday / Sunday off, and jogging again on Saturday. I'm working back up to a 5k and then will practice for the 10k. I really want to be able to get skinny again, even if I am going to have more kids. Plus, it's healthy.
So far in life, this is what I am "trying" to aim for...
I'm quickly realizing that I can't do extraneous things. I schedule in time with the Lord in the morning. Then I work. I try to see Isaiah as much as I can. Everything else - everything else - is secondary and has to go. That includes "extra stuff" at work, extra lunches, even some lab events, extra seminars, extra, extra, extra, and extra hobbies - all these have to go for now. All I care about is trying to walk with the Lord, and be a decent mom and scientist. So far, just doing that minimum level has been challenging and tiring. While I'm at work, I try to be efficient and work as hard as I possibly can, making the most of the few hours I'm there. I hope it will get better. The week ended well, and I felt good, but I lost all my energy around 7 pm as usual. When I get home, I focus on Isaiah. I'm not really able to work from home any more. It's extremely difficult.
More to come!
I'll let you know how working goes and if it gets better, with motherhood! So far right now, I'm focusing on starting to find a topic for my original research proposal (4th year PhD requirement) and writing my first paper. Once I finish those two things, I can do experiments again.
Life is much improved!
Isaiah will be 10 weeks this Friday. It's hard to believe. But, with 10 weeks of baby life under our belt, things have improved - perhaps only because we have gotten used to it. I gave up largely on being useful during maternity leave. I just had no motivation to do any work. Instead - shock - in between feeding him, I've played online games (SWTOR), read books, visited lots of people and done a lot of laundry and housework. That's what a good baby he is - he is largely not that fussy. I'm so incredibly lucky. He starts getting fussy it seems about 6 o'clock and wants to be held constantly. So, I put him in my wrap, usually, and he'll fall asleep again. Or sometimes he'll keep screaming. It depends.
Laundry! The Lord did a miracle to help me not hate it so
Cooking! I have been watching Alton Brown
I've been watching a lot of Alton Brown cooking shows while feeding Isaiah, trying to learn to cook things, so that one day, when Isaiah has to eat real food, he'll have a mom that knows how to cook real food, instead of just frozen pizza. John literally seems to subsist on a diet of frozen pizza. I want to do better with Isaiah.
He has to have a well-rounded appetite! Therefore, I plan on feeding him all kinds of good, healthy things, as any mom should! Fruits, carrots, and even weird things like asparagus. I'm cooking some tonight - wish me luck! I've never had any before myself. That is about to change. So far, I've cooked pot pie and macaroni - the pot pie was a big win, the macaroni wasn't. More experimentation necessary.
I've collected some cooking equipment locked away in my parent's garage from our old apartment. I've got a crock pot somewhere, and Elizabeth gave me a website about crock pot recipes, and I ordered some real spices from TheSpiceHouse.com! Nutmeg and paprika - the whole nutmeg (unground) smells amazing. Alton is always using it, and grating it into things, so I wanted to get some. I get to try it out for the first time tonight! Nutmeg and lemon zest go on the asparagus!
Working! I have been going into Emory once a week
In spite of the fact that I haven't done anything productive for work during maternity leave, I HAVE been going in to work once a week on Fridays, to attend lab meeting, and my weekly subgroup meeting. I also am going to be one of the people moving to the 7th floor with part of our lab - a temporary arrangement until the new space gets fixed up - and everyone will be back together again. I cleaned the lab space up there and cleaned a space for RNA. I also picked out a new desk and moved my laptop up there. So, I have been doing some minor work. Just not a lot. I also signed up to be a mentor to one of the 55 or so incoming students, for the visitation weekend this Friday.
A typical day
8:30 pm - I feed the baby
11:30 pm - I feed the baby
3:30 am - John feeds the baby
5:30 am - John gets up for work, washes bottles
6:00 am - I feed the baby
9:00 am - I feed the baby, feed the cats, maybe try to feed myself
10:00 am - I go to my parents house with the baby and have coffee and eat something if I haven't yet - or I don't go to my parents house and continue to do housework. If I go to my parent's house, sometimes I'll let my mom watch Isaiah while I go to the grocery store, or visit friends, for a few hours, to get out of the house.
12 noon - I feed the baby, and eat lunch, and try to clean up from lunch, and try to wash bottles as needed
3:00 pm - I feed the baby, do laundry
6:00 pm - I feed the baby; John comes home about 7 pm and plays with the baby; then we eat a frozen pizza, or John will eat a frozen pizza and I will eat food from mom and dad; OR, I will attempt a new Alton Brown recipe (like tonight - this I'm trying to make happen once a week); then while we eat or after we eat, we'll play Star Wars the Old Republic online game together, while Isaiah sleeps or is in my wrap.
9:00 pm - I feed the baby
12 midnight - I feed the baby
3:00 am - John feeds the baby
Sometimes John feeds the baby more often. Sometimes not. While feeding the baby, I'll most often watch Alton Brown, and sometimes other random movies. I've watched The Matrix, part of Zootopeia, U.S. Marshals, part of Star Trek, part of the Beauty and the Beast, Dumbo... I don't know what else.
Next week, I go back to work!
My mom is going to watch Isaiah when I am at work. I greatly appreciate her help with this - she is excited to have a baby in the house again. Having more kids was her dream. I hope I can provide them by proxy.
I am very scared of going back to work - mostly because I fear I won't have good ideas for my science, and I'm going to be a lame duck scientist. Lots of people encourage me that this is not so, but I still have to fight these fears off every day. It's tiring. I need to pray about it, I think. I haven't done a great job spending time with the Lord on maternity leave, like I had hoped. I do look forward to getting back into my old routine, and to reading more articles. Being at work I think will actually be fun, because I'll be able to do more than just feed the baby all day. I need to get a paper published badly as well - and I'm scared my data isn't good enough - and / or it won't get into a good journal. We shall see. I think God will take care of me. As it is, ready or not, work comes. I'm going to be leaving for work at 6 am, getting to work at 7 am and leaving around 4 pm, so I can see Isaiah some when I get home.
Stay tuned to see how working and mom life goes!
Get ready for a story of being introduced to motherhood:
Want to find out what it's like to be a mother in graduate school? Come on the journey with me as I find out! Due date Dec 25, 2016!