The big adjustment

Riding into work on the bus earlier this week, I felt like a nervous wreck.

The clock had just ticked over 8am and I had already experienced extreme highs and lows within the few short hours that I’d been awake.

As I fought back tears attempting to recover from a very stressful morning, my phone swished with a text from Dave.

‘It’s a tough gig, kid,’ it read.

”Will rework the morning schedule and may need to get them up a little earlier. Love you.’

With that simple text, that show of support, the floodgates threatened to open. My eyes filled with tears as I exhaled slowly refusing to cry before work. I could feel the eyes of the guy opposite me burning into me. Yes, I’m losing it. Yes, I look like a woman possessed, I screamed at him in my head. Reminiscent of Ally McBeal, I imagined picking him up by the scruff of his neck and shouting at him, ‘If only you knew what I’ve been through this morning! If only you knew!’

Instead, I blinked away the tears, took a few deep breaths, and powered into work.

This working mum gig is hard. Four weeks in and the Mummy, Wife, Me family is struggling to find its rhythm.

This is not my first time as a working mum. I have done it all before when my first daughter, Curly-locks, was 10-months-old. There were good and bad days, but on the whole I enjoyed the challenge of work, the mental stimulation and social interaction. I missed Curly-locks of course, but loved seeing her come out of her shell at daycare. It seemed to be working for everyone.

I anticipated there would be a greater element of difficulty returning to work with two kids. The logistics of how I would get everyone fed, dressed, and out the door by 7.10am was my main concern. I thought a solid routine and a bit of pre-planning would see us through though.

It hasn’t.

At 7.10am last Wednesday, instead of buckling the kids into their car seats and driving calmly off to daycare, I was sweating up a storm as I chased Curly-locks, now three, around in circles attempting to get her dressed. Stiff as a board one minute and limp as a rag doll the next, she screamed, cried and carried on as the minutes ticked past and my blood pressure rose higher and higher until I had a meltdown of my own.

I was not, I repeat, not prepared for the affect me returning to work would have on Curly-locks. I was not expecting my happy little babe who used to dress herself, brush her hair and teeth, and go to the toilet all while singing and dancing, to all of a sudden turn into a little terror.

My return to work seems to have coincided with her having one or two meltdowns a day, being incredibly clingy, and, as heartbreaking as it is, having night terrors, sleep walking and sleep talking.

Four weeks in and we’re all exhausted and we’re all at breaking point.

I find returning to work enough of a mental battle as it is. I know it is right for me. I know I need to use my mind again, I want to socialise with adults and have a break from the kids, yet when I’m there I’m missing them like crazy, staring at my shrine to them on my desk, and stopping every Tom, Dick and Harry I pass in the hall to bore them with stories of how cute and clever they are.

If I’m feeling emotional about things, I can just imagine what my chip off the ol block is going through.

It is just an adjustment. A big adjustment. For everyone. We don’t have the answers yet, but we have the time. We plan to spend this long weekend resting, relaxing and enjoying each other. We will re-work our routine to allow time for meltdowns and will continue talking Curly-locks through her feelings.

While we don’t know how to make it easier yet, we do know that it will get easier in time. Right?!?

I’d love to hear your experiences of being a working mum. Please share in the comments.

Ps. The high I experienced was my friend texting me to tell me my Where have my boobs gone? story was promoted via Mamamia πŸ™‚

42 comments on The big adjustment

  1. Lydia C. Lee
    October 4, 2013 at 6:57 am (4 years ago)

    It will get easier for everyone else (the bad news is you will still be tired and powered by guilt). The terror change could have been coming anyway – that happens (YAY!). A month is not very long, and it will get easier.
    You can do it, and so can they.
    Hang in there. (and congrats on iVillage feature – that must make you smile – I don’t read iVillage but I saw your photo and then followed the link!!)

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      October 4, 2013 at 7:53 am (4 years ago)

      Yes, Dave said that he’s not convinced her change in behaviour is due to me returning to work, but it does seem like a very big coincidence to me. I guess we’ll never know. We just need to work through it. Thanks for your support!!! Oh, and the iVillage thing really did make me smile πŸ™‚ Thanks for checking it out!

      Reply
  2. Bec | Mumma Tells
    October 4, 2013 at 7:05 am (4 years ago)

    Oh, I feel for you lovely lady. What an adjustment for you all – and as you said, as if preparing yourself isn’t enough! I wish I had some advice or experience to share… but I don’t. Support is all I can offer. And love. X

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      October 4, 2013 at 7:51 am (4 years ago)

      Thanks lovely. Your support is amazing! x

      Reply
  3. Katie (@mumabytes)
    October 4, 2013 at 7:38 am (4 years ago)

    Oh, Renee, what a tough situation. I really feel for what you and the family are going through. I’m very lucky that I’m not working away from home – I just couldn’t do it. But I’ve watched what my sister and many friends go through and it’s very similar, especially at the beginning when the children are shocked and trying to make sense of it. Remember change is massive to kids, but they do eventually get used to things. It will just take some time and lots of love and reassurance that mummy is coming home later, and maybe plan special things – you could give the kids something to look forward to so that they actually get excited about getting through the day. My sister does things like Friday night party, she sits and has a carpet picnic with her daughter and they hang out all evening together playing and maybe watch a special movie with their arms around each other – little things like that, quality time together – replacing the anxiety with love. Hang in there, it’s a tough one. You are doing a great job. Enjoy your down time this weekend xoxo

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      October 4, 2013 at 7:51 am (4 years ago)

      Katie, for some reason I’m reading your response with tears in my eyes. Thank you. I love the Friday night party idea and the carpet picnic. I’m definitely going to do something similar. Thanks for your support xx

      Reply
  4. Leanne Winter
    October 4, 2013 at 7:54 am (4 years ago)

    A big transition for everyone, Renee. I agree with Lydia, juggling work and kids pretty much means accepting ‘tired’ as a way of life and trying to keep your guilt manageable. I’m sure you’re working hard at establishing a morning (and evening) routing that will help Curly-locks feel secure and keep her world predictable. Hang in there!

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      October 4, 2013 at 1:44 pm (4 years ago)

      Thanks Leanne. Yes, I think that’s the key with her, and maybe with all kids – I don’t know, I’m just learning, to keep things predictable. She’s not a fan of change and was happy having me around all the time. We’ll get there though. Thanks!

      Reply
  5. Pip
    October 4, 2013 at 7:55 am (4 years ago)

    Oh you know, no matter how many people prepare you for the challenge – the emotion I definitely found OVERWHELMING. The stress of adapting to work again, the yearn for them during the day and the sheer tiredness from juggling it all. You’re doing an incredible job – no matter how tough you feel it is – the fact you’re waking up every day – attending to their every needs – their urgent demanding needs is sensational. They know you love them with all your heart, you know what you have to do – the adjustment will happen. In the meantime keep talking about it, keep shedding a few exhausted tears and try your hardest to go easy on yourself xxxxx

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      October 4, 2013 at 1:45 pm (4 years ago)

      Thanks for the pep talk, Pip. I needed to hear that xx

      Reply
  6. Becc
    October 4, 2013 at 8:08 am (4 years ago)

    I can’t even imagine. I go into a spiral if we are going to be late for pre-school. Lo and behold if I have to be somewhere too. Doing this each day where you cannot be late would do my head in.
    Good luck with the changes πŸ™‚

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      October 4, 2013 at 1:46 pm (4 years ago)

      Thanks Becc. Yes, it’s just a bit of a juggle at the moment. I like to get to work by a certain time, so I can leave by a certain time to pick them up. It’s not as if I can stay until five or later if I get in late. Anyway, we’ll get there. Thanks!!

      Reply
  7. Lucy @ Bake Play Smile
    October 4, 2013 at 8:11 am (4 years ago)

    Hi,
    Tis is my first time visiting your blog (through With Some Grace FYBF) and I just love it already! What honest writing! Thinking of you and hoping that things start to get a little easier for you soon. πŸ™‚ Lucy

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      October 4, 2013 at 1:47 pm (4 years ago)

      Thank you so much for your kind words, Lucy. I’m sure things will start picking up soon πŸ™‚

      Reply
  8. Shelley @ Money Mummy
    October 4, 2013 at 8:13 am (4 years ago)

    I found the working mum gig very hard. Things will get easier with time. My 3 year old is going through a really difficult phase too. I laughed when I read your comment on dressing Curly-locks. Mine is the same, completely impossible to dress! I am hoping it is phase and things will change soon.

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      October 4, 2013 at 1:47 pm (4 years ago)

      Haha yes. I keep repeating over in my head, it’s just a phase, just a phase πŸ˜‰

      Reply
  9. Sam Stone @ A Life on Venus
    October 4, 2013 at 8:47 am (4 years ago)

    Renee, it is such a tough gig. When I returned to work after little miss was born, she was 10 months. It was so hard. She would cry continuously at drop-off. It was so awful. She is five now and still gets clingy at drop-offs πŸ™ I have recently had my 2nd bub, he is 8 months old now and due to mortgage and bill stress I have had to start working from home two days a week. To say that by Friday I am totally exhausted is an understatement. Thankfully I have a great husband, who is also a great father and on the days I work he makes sure that our little miss is dressed and had breakfast & he also gets our little man up and dressed before he leaves for work so then all I have to do is feed our little man, get dressed myself and head off to preschool. But some days tehre are meltdowns in the car, at preschool and then I have to come home and work and look after the baby.
    Sorry for the unleash. Life can be exhausting sometimes.
    But I am sure it gets easier with time…it just has to, right?
    xo

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      October 4, 2013 at 1:50 pm (4 years ago)

      It sure can be, Sam, and it’s good to vent too. I always feel better when I get things off my chest. Thank God you have your hubby to help. I have plenty around me to help too fortunately. It really does take a village to raise a child. Well, when I’m having a crazy day and am totally exhausted, I will think of you and hope that you’re having a better day πŸ™‚ xo

      Reply
  10. Neets
    October 4, 2013 at 11:13 am (4 years ago)

    Oh Renee, I feel your pain. I did this last year with 2 the same age as yours. Would have the kids at daycare by 7, leg it to the train station and hope to god that I got the 7.08 train so I wouldn’t miss my 8am meeting. I did a whole year of that and it was bloody TOUGH. I didn’t make it easier on myself by training for and running the Melbourne marathon. I also planned our wedding – all in the same year. Suffice to say, I crashed and burned and walked away from full time work for good. Not an easy decision to stop contributing to the family finances but I wouldn’t have it any other way now. You are such an incredible mother and wife and you know what? In a few years, this will all be a distant memory. (PS – we are going through the same resistance with Miss H and it tests my patience to no end). It will pass. Keep your chin up, keep being amazing and HAPPY FRIDAY to you my dear xox

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      October 4, 2013 at 1:52 pm (4 years ago)

      Neets! You are such a legend. I just love your attitude to life πŸ™‚ You are right, it will all be a distant memory in a few year’s time! Happy Friday to you too xox

      Reply
  11. Zanni Louise
    October 4, 2013 at 11:48 am (4 years ago)

    To be honest, I can’t imagine how hard having to go out to work after having two kids must be. I have the luxury of working from home, and admit I am spoilt. When baby 2 was 2 weeks old, I started work again, but she was in the next room with her daddy, and he got to spend time with his girls.
    I really feel for you hon. I am sure it will get easier…as you say, it’s an adjustment. Look after yourself. xxx

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      October 4, 2013 at 1:53 pm (4 years ago)

      Thanks Zanni πŸ™‚ It must be lovely to work from home. I’m sure like anything though, it has its good and bad points. We’ll get there though. xo

      Reply
  12. Emily @ Have A Laugh On Me
    October 4, 2013 at 7:21 pm (4 years ago)

    Oh gorgeous, I feel for you and sending you BIG virtual hugs. While I can’t imagine what it’s like, I know that it’s early days, you will soon get your groove on, get things sorted and make it work. Like hubby said you’ll suss it, even if it’s having everything out the night before, down to breakfast bowls, clothes, work bag packed and shoes – you will be able to do it. Don’t beat yourself up about it, what you are doing is great for you and the kids. Hang in there, enjoy the long weekend and take heart in the fact that I didn’t have the terrible twos I had the terrible threes!!!!! xx

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      October 4, 2013 at 8:04 pm (4 years ago)

      Yep, I’m starting to think the threes could be very, very scary! Thanks so much for your support and hugs xx

      Reply
  13. Jo at Poppies for Me
    October 4, 2013 at 8:49 pm (4 years ago)

    Can I just say, what a wonderfully supportive husband you have. That text would have made me break down and cry right then and there on the bus. I probably would have gloated and read it out loud to stare boy too. With him by your side, you can do it. I know you can. Good luck keep smiling and perhaps try chanting out loud “just keep swimmin’, just keep swimmin’ ” nemo dory style to get you out the door. It will get better xx

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      October 4, 2013 at 9:17 pm (4 years ago)

      Lol, Jo. I might just do that!! Yes, I’m very lucky to have my husband to help us make it work. Thanks so much for your support xx

      Reply
  14. Steph
    October 5, 2013 at 1:30 am (4 years ago)

    What wonderful moral support you have here Renee! Just wanted to say that it sounds like you are doing a fantastic job. David and I are here is real time too, if there is ANYTHING we can do, let us know x.

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      October 5, 2013 at 6:23 am (4 years ago)

      Thanks so much, Steph! xxoo

      Reply
  15. Grace
    October 5, 2013 at 10:20 am (4 years ago)

    Sending a big hug, Renee. I know for me, I need to eventually go back to work but I honestly don’t think I can handle the mental and emotional pressure of it. I know right now I’m not in the headspace.
    I think you’re amazing to confront these feelings head on and acknowledging that it’s tough rather than try to just “suck it up”
    It’s nice to hear also your husband is so supportive. I think that’s vital to make it easier.

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      October 5, 2013 at 10:55 am (4 years ago)

      Thanks Grace. I totally agree you have to make sure you’re in the right headspace before you even thinking about going back to work. Thanks for your words of support πŸ™‚

      Reply
  16. Francesca
    October 5, 2013 at 7:58 pm (4 years ago)

    It takes a long time to adjust, particularly with more kids. The more children, the greater the likelihood that things will go wrong! BUT, you do get used to it and what seemed like a monumental task of getting everyone ready just becomes routine after a while. It’s still busy and everyone has bad days from time to time, but you will get used to it and you will get out the door on time!

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      October 6, 2013 at 6:38 am (4 years ago)

      Thanks Francesca. I can’t wait for the days when everyone becomes used to the routine. Hopefully it will be in the not too distant future πŸ™‚

      Reply
  17. Mumabulous
    October 8, 2013 at 6:27 am (4 years ago)

    I took several years out of the workforce for a number of reasons. I am incredibly fortunate to be able to do this. However the downside is that once you are out it is incredibly hard to get back in.

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      October 8, 2013 at 9:19 pm (4 years ago)

      Yes, that is true, Mumabs. I consider myself very lucky to have been able to take a year off and go back to a job. Not everyone has that luxury. I don’t know how I’d go if I had to look for work from scratch again.

      Reply
  18. Deb @ home life simplified
    October 8, 2013 at 6:46 am (4 years ago)

    Just catching up hon. Biggest hugs to you all. I am sure you will all adjust (doesn’t make this time easier) and you will all find your way back to smoother times. Xxx

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      October 8, 2013 at 9:21 pm (4 years ago)

      Thanks Deb. It sure is a bit of a rollercoaster at the moment, but we are doing what we can to grin and bear it πŸ™‚ x

      Reply
  19. Kathy
    October 8, 2013 at 7:50 am (4 years ago)

    Renee – I know I’m reading this late (I gave myself a long-weekend from reading posts). I know you’ve posted on IBOT today about just breathing, so I hope this week will be much better. Thinking of you.

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      October 8, 2013 at 9:24 pm (4 years ago)

      Thanks Kathy. I hope you had a lovely long weekend too πŸ™‚

      Reply
  20. JodiGibson (@JFGibsonWriter)
    October 8, 2013 at 11:00 am (4 years ago)

    Oh sweetie, I’m sorry I missed this post. It’s hard and I don’t know if it gets easier, maybe just more manageable or tolerable. Taking Miss now 5 to daycare every Wednesday still breaks my heart as she cries each and every time. I know school next year will make things easier and I hope to work from home more too. I don’t have an answer, just hope things get a little easier each day for you xxx

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      October 8, 2013 at 9:28 pm (4 years ago)

      Thanks so much for your kind words, Jodi. I think it just helps to know that I’m not alone in feeling this way. Poor Miss 5. I know what that’s like to have them cry when you drop them off. How exciting and terrifying for you to have her off to school next year! xx

      Reply

2Pingbacks & Trackbacks on The big adjustment

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