Monday, January 9, 2017

Maternity Leave and New Routines

We have now been "Weber Haus party of 5" for officially 7 weeks now.  This little nugget joined us on November, 22nd and he has been an absolute joy.  I am probably going to jinx us by typing this out for all to read, but he has the most calm little personality, sleeps at night, and doesn't mind a bit that his big sisters are constantly in his FACE with hugs and kisses.  He is exactly what our family needed at this time and I am so thankful that God chose us for this life.

I officially return to work on Monday and Billy will join his big sisters at daycare.  Returning to work has always provided an "opportunity" for us to adjust to a new way of life.

With Jackie I abruptly went from spending all day with her for four months to teaching and coaching for 10-14 hours a day.  Daddy became the master at feeding her mashed sweet potatoes and knowing exactly how she liked to be put to bed and our laundry sat unfolded until the weekend.

Katerina was a shock to my world since her morning wake up time was so unpredictable. It really threw off my "before work routine" when I didn't know what time she would wake up between 4:00 and 7:00 AM.  I learned how important it was to do as much as I could the night before; pack lunches, shower, and actually verbally ask my husband for help and not just stair at the back of his head hoping the "force" would somehow command him to vacuum the floor.

This time around I am attempting to get out ahead of some predictable obstacles baby #3 will provide a two-parent working home.  At least this time I'm heading back to work knowing that there is no real schedule his wake up time.  Back to packing lunches and showering the night before instead of morning.

The two areas I am most concerned about won't be surprises, but possible larger issues now that our family has grown.

#1: The continuous mess and clutter that seems to overtake our house on a daily basis.  During maternity leave I had all day to pick up and keep the house tidier than it has been in MONTHS.  I don't want that to leave, but I won't have all day to do it gradually.

Solution.  (At least the one we are currently working on.)  Getting everyone involved in helping clean up on a daily basis and not just Saturday mornings.  We have started a nightly "15 Minutes of Clean." This new policy made it's debut last week and I have to say, so far so good...  In the evening after dinner, I set the timer and we all (other than the baby) stop what we were doing and pick up or clean something.  This has helped make sure all toys and books are put away, coats hung up, shoes put in the box, and the kitchen is cleaned up in a short amount of time.  Everyone helps.  The girls quickly figured out that if they pick up faster they don't have to "work" the entire 15 minutes.  Tonight's clean took 7 minutes.

#2: The return of school stress:  I absolutely LOVE my job, but there are times it just consumes my head.  Granted some of this was probably preparing for maternity leave on top of normal teaching duties prior to Billy's arrival, but there are countless hours of loss sleep and extra weight on my shoulders during the school year.

Solution.  Keep work at school as much as possible.  You see, I love to change things up and do different activities, lessons, and incorporate different technology into my classroom from year to year. This semester I need to focus on good quality lessons and activities and making minor adjustments instead of completely re-writing my classroom curriculum.  This is easier said than done as I still have many new and exciting ideas running through my head.  I participate in a Twitter chat each week on Monday nights.  I love it, but I will be more selective of the topics that I want to participate in.

I have talked before about trying to strike a good balance between work and home.  It is hard.  It is ever-changing and I constantly doubt myself.  However, I do think I am getting better at it.  Better at seeing what needs my attention most at each moment.  And right now there are even more sweet moments that I'm soaking in before returning to work.