Today begins a new phase in my life. It's my official "return to work" day. My maternity leave, which technically speaking ended mid-October, when I agreed to do some part-time work for my boss, officially ends today, December 4th. I am now back to work full-time. I am now a FT WFHM (a Full-Time, Working From Home Mom).

I glossed over it briefly here, but the deal I worked out with my manager is this: he agreed to let me work from home, five days a week. And he agreed to let me work my own hours, meaning I can work at night, or over the weekends, and I don't have to work 8-5pm, or even be home during those hours. My days and nights are my own, as long as I get my work done. And I promised to come into the office whenever I'm needed for meetings, etc. He was completely accepting of what I asked for. In a word, he rocks.

But the reality of the situation is a bit more complex. I don't want to start working at 9 at night when Isabella is asleep. By about 7, I'm exhausted and ready for bed. "Well, work while she naps," you say? Well lately, girlfriend is in a fued with sleep like Kelly Ripa is with Clay Aiken. She.Does.Not.Sleep.During.The.Day. She'll fall asleep in my arms. I'll put her down in her pack-n-play or her swing, and two seconds later she's awake and crying. And it's killing me. I can't get a single thing done. The house is a sty. I eat my lunch in five minutes while she screams her bloody lungs out in the swing (where she's supposed to be napping) in the other room. And I certainly can't get any work done during the day until Rich comes home to relieve me.

So that's the work angle. The other item of concern about being a FT WFHM is my fear of going absolutely bat-shit stir-crazy during the winter. Now, as you know, one of the cardinal rules of child rearin' in my family is that The CHILD SHAN'T LEAVE THE HOUSE. NOT EVER. Grandma or Auntie comes to watch her and I leave on my errands. And given the fact that I don't get out much anymore, dear Lord, do I enjoy those errands. A simple trip to the grocery store has taken on a new and important meaning for me. (And yes, for the record, I am fully aware of how pathetic that sounds.)

But when the weather is bad, as is often is here in upstate NY, I won't allow my relatives to drive over to my house. They're old (in their 70s), and I don't want them risking their lives to come over and clean my house or watch Isabella while I get some work done. And I don't want to drag a three-month old out in a snowstorm either. The cold is one thing. I'm fine with bundling her up and taking her out. But 8 inches of lake affect snow is another. So what happens on those days? Will I be climbing the walls looking for an escape? I'm the type who doesn't often sit still. How will I respond with being "stuck" within the walls of my house with a three-month old for days on end, without even being able to take her for a walk?

Don't get me wrong. I know how lucky I am to have the work situation I have, and I know how many other mothers would kill to be as fortunate. But I'm concerned, friends. Deeply concerned. Okay, I'll stop complaining now before working-at-the-office moms want to pelt me with tomatoes. And rightfully so.

Here's a picture I took this weekend of the one whom my manager refers to as "she who must be obeyed." Remember the sweater I made for her before she was born? Well, it finally fits, sort of. And is it just me or does her hair seem to be growing in in the stlye of Maddox Jolie-Pitt? It's hard to see in this picture, but Ella's hair is indeed coming in in mowhawk form.

12 Responses to “FT WFHM”

  1. # Blogger Anne Marie

    Have you tried using a sling or a Baby Bjorn carrier? My daughter didn't want me putting her down when she was a baby and often times she slept in it as I walked around the house doing chores or typed at the computer.

    BTW - if interested my blog is http://ababystory.blogspot.com
    (although I am a little behind in updating it :( )  

  2. # Blogger Schnozz

    Holy moly, that is ONE CUTE KID!

    I wish you luck in dealing with the whole "work at home" thing. It can be a great arrangement, or it can sort of suck you down into nightmareland. (I speak from experience, and I don't even have a kid.) Feel free to e-mail me if you need a work-at-home "Oh God I really need to talk to SOMEONE but everyone is at work because it's 2PM on Tuesday" buddy! :)

    (It's schnozzATschnozzfestDOTcom.)  

  3. # Blogger My Wombinations

    Wow, good luck! I have to say your work situation IS enviable, but I can also understand the stress of figuring out how it will all work. I will (hopefully) be in a similar situation in a few months, so I will look forward to seeing how it all turns out for you. I love Isabella's sweater. And she is easily the most adorable baby I've seen.  

  4. # Blogger Marie

    Completely & absolutely ADORABLE!!! Isabella in her Mommy-made sweater. I think that smile will melt any snowbanks headed your way...
    If not, it may be time for the family to move in with you. That way they'll always be there when you need them, regardless of the weather. You can just yell down to the basement: Yo Grandma!

    Are they coming over on the non-blizzardy days? Like now?

    Have you tried the Bjorn? or a sling?

    Somehow it's going to all work out... HUGS Kristi! from a fellow FT WFHM...  

  5. # Blogger Damselfly

    Aw, you *made* that sweater?! Amazing! And she looks great in it, mohawk or not. (I don't see it.)

    Congrats on going back to work -- I hope it works out. I know what you mean about the not sleeping through the day part, wanting to be held all the time part -- my own little one is my new boss for sure.  

  6. # Blogger kenju

    How absolutely precious she looks in that sweater!

    The not sleeping in the daytime thing will change soon, I predict.  

  7. # Blogger M

    Cute sweater. Maddy went through the whole not sleeping thing during the day for one week straight. Every day from 8 a.m until about noon she would fuss and sleep for like 5 minutes at a time and wake up screaming. Maybe it's a growth spurt?  

  8. # Blogger Shannon

    Lorelei is the same way... i just don't get anything really done during the day... other days I get a lot done... she might be big enough for an exersaucer now... that might be an idea... but i am in the same boat with the weather... do I really want to take her out in the snow so i don't go insane... and wreastle with a snowsuit... I think I will skip that and try to do things on the weekend with Jeremy is home lol...  

  9. # Blogger Kristi

    Anne Marie-I have used the Bjorn, but of course, as soon as I get her out of it, and try and lay her down, Wham! She's awake! Thanks for the link to your blog. I was wondering where it was hiding. :)

    Schnozz-Thanks! I'm used to working at home (I've done it in my last two jobs for the past 9 years for at least a few days a week, but adding a kid into the mix is what has me freaked out. Thanks for sharing your email address! I think I'll definitely need the support. :)

    My Wombinations-I hope you're able to work from home soon once Samara arrives. That would be so great for you, although, as you'll probably read here, not without its struggles!

    Marie-As much as I love them, if they move in, then I'm moving in with you. ;) And yes, they're coming over now, which most of the time is a big help.

    Damselfly-I'm glad I'm not the only one with a demanding new boss!

    Kenju-I really, really hope so!

    M-Yeah, I know they go through a growth spurt at 12 weeks, but that was three weeks ago now for Ella!

    Shannon-ooohhhh... I forgot about the exersaucer I have in my basement, ready for her to use. Thanks so much for reminding me of it. Now I just have to see if her neck is strong enough for it.  

  10. # Blogger Schnozz

    Haha, I was referring to the "never leaving the house" aspect, though I should have clarified. Some days I'll feel all depressed and then realized I've been sitting in my living room for like two weeks or something. I'll go outside and be like "Ooohhh, right! Sunshine! Wow! I feel better!" So it can be hard in the winter. Especially if leaving the house means toting like fifty pounds of baby accessories.

    I'm sure you'll work something out, though, and I think it's great that you get to be home with your baby!  

  11. # Blogger sher

    First--it's a great day because I saw a picture with Isabella!! And she looks so adorable in that rockin' sweater that you made!!!

    I do hope that the whole work situation settles down. You're so smart (and knit), I think you will find a way to structure it for yourself. In the mean time, you know that we never think you whine or want to pelt you with produce. We're your cheering section!!  

  12. # Blogger l

    Your child is a serious ham for the camera, I swear! Don't fret so much over what you can't 100% predict. My guess is that you'll be exhausted from trying to squeeze work in around Isabella's schedule. And if you need to get out, there's always time when Rich gets home. Or get on the phone when you're craving some external adult ineraction. If you're stuck inside, nothing beats reaching out and touching someone.  

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