Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Finding a balance one year after baby.

Am I happier now than I was a year ago when I was working full-time? Good question. A little over a year ago, I was working full-time in television, which I had been doing for the last seven years of my life. So, having a baby (a "surprise" baby to be exact) really shook things up a bit, and had me making some tough decisions that almost put me in the hospital.

During my entire pregnancy, I "toyed" with the idea of not going back to work and becoming a stay-at-home mom, but I could never quite wrap my head around the thought of leaving a career that I had worked so hard to build. However, when Linna arrived and I looked into her eyes, it changed everything. I was literally sick thinking about leaving my tiny baby and going back to work. The thought of putting her in daycare stressed me out, to the point of going "crazy". When Linna was about a month old, I was diagnosed with having Postpartum Depression, and my lack of sleep and stress that this decision was causing me, landed me in the doctor's office. I had a nervous breakdown and almost had my husband take me to the hospital.

Fun crew at my old office. I miss my TCLers every day!

Almost all of my co-workers came to our wedding, and even put together
a special little song and dance for AJ and I. AMAZING friends!
One of many work happy-hours.

After a few weeks of being on some medication (I took an anti-anxiety prescription for 2-3 months), I was finally able to think with a clear mind again. AJ and I went over our finances, weighed the pros and cons, and we both decided to have me stay home and raise Linna. I decided to focus on this blog, and create my own "brand". Being a mom is "what I do", and it's kind of a cool "club" that I feel like I was welcomed into after having Linna. Writing about my life as a mom is something I have that is completely MINE, and I'm able to continue my career (although not full-time) while staying home and raising Linna. Do I make as much money as I did working full-time? Haha, not even CLOSE! But we make it work.

However, "finding a balance" is becoming more and more challenging as Linna gets older, and I'm finding that work-at-home moms are some of the hardest-working women out there! Being a mom is a job in itself, but I think it's really important for ALL moms to have "an outlet" outside of raising children. For me, Linna and my husband are my number one priorities, but it's also important to make time for ME. I find my outlet to be writing (my blog/website), doing TV appearances, and being in the company of good friends. I blog about and research kid and family-friendly products/services when Linna is napping or asleep at night, and let's be honest, I'm a mom so I'm constantly "researching" when I'm out and about or just chatting with other moms. I've found a way to turn "being a mom" into "who I am", and I love it.

A moment that changed my life forever: August 8th, 2011.

I'll admit that when I go out for drinks or dinner with friends who aren't moms, it's tough to establish a common ground. I am a mom. It's what I do, it's who I am, and therefore, it's what I talk about. Yes, I love talking about fashion, new restaurants, drinking, traveling, television, and what's going on in the world, etc., but somehow or another, my conversations always revert back to my family. Love it or hate it, it is who I am. I can sit here and try to tell you that being a mom doesn't "define" me, but guess what, it does.

I make it a priority to spend time alone with my husband, friends, and family, without Linna, and I think it's very important to have my "girl time". These days/nights don't happen as often as they used to, but I make time for the important people in my life. If I lose friends because I have a kid and my lifestyle no longer fits their... well, that's unfortunate, and I understand... but such is life.

There are days where I miss rolling out of bed, putting on cute clothes (let's be honest, those days were few and far between when I was at TCL - hehe), getting in my car (BY MYSELF), and going to work with ADULTS who don't sing the ABCs all day. I miss turning away from my desk and having a conversation with my co-workers, then making plans to go out for happy hour after work. I was a free woman back then! Yes, there are days where I seriously contemplate putting Linna in daycare and going back to work full-time, but I always go back to how much I would miss out on in Linna's life. Yes, I'm missing out on fun work conversations, being a part of a big project/segment with a rewarding outcome, and fun happy hours after work, but having a kid changed all that, and it happened for a reason. If I was working full-time, we wouldn't have been able to pack up and move to Singapore for three months, which has turned out to be an amazing opportunity! I'm sure Linna's grandparents are wishing I was still working though, right?! ;)

Night out with my girls in Singapore. See, moms can still have fun!
All the girls (old and new) from my TCL family, got together to "send me off"
to Singapore. So much love, so much fun!

Some moms NEED to go back to work, and working makes them a better mom. Some need to go back to work for financial reasons. I totally understand and respect that. But I've chosen to be the one who stays home and raise our child, and I'll do whatever it takes (tightening our budget, working a PT job, etc.) to make that choice work.

Yes, I am happier now than I was a year ago, but it's a different kind of happy. It isn't my NOT working full-time that makes me happier. It's my daughter who makes me happier. I really don't know what we ever did without her (well, yes I do, but you know what I mean)! When people say that a baby will change your life, they aren't kidding. Even when I'm covered in poop or Linna's uneaten dinner, or sitting in my yoga pants and tee-shirt wondering if I've showered that day or not... YES, I AM happier being a mom:)

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