On Returning To Work


This week I went back to work.

Because of health reasons, I ended up stopping teaching a month before Vivian was born, so it’s officially been almost 6 months since I’ve taught any long days. Sure, I’ve taught a handful of lessons here and there, but this week…THIS WEEK.

Man. This week killed me. (Yes, I know it is only…..I want to say….Wednesday?)

(for those scratching their heads and wondering….she works? Yes, I run a private violin lesson studio. This is my third year back at it since my six year SAHM adventure. I work for a variety of reasons, one of them being my own mental health. I found I am a better mom when I can take short steps away from my own family life and focus on using my brain in the field I was trained. Also, those of you who know me from “before kids” know how much music has always been a part of my life. I learned that my soul NEEDS music in it to survive.)

So yeah. Work.

I work super part time, so I know this is nothing compared to what others do, but I just wanted to share something with you that made me laugh.

Monday is my longest day (I am away from the house for 6 hours, including travel time), and I got home around 8:15 pm and was so exhausted I could barely walk. I felt like the biggest wimp because I had only worked SIX hours, and my husband regularly pulls 16 hour days.

BUT then I realized:

In order for me to go to work, I have to:

  • Get 3 kids off to school (lunches packed, clean clothes on, sweatshirt, water bottle filled, paper signed and in backpack, meet buses on TIME…at the crack of dawn)

  • Prep the house for the babysitter (aka CLEAN and make us look 50% less like filthy animals)

  • Prep dinner in the crockpot, make muffins, make rice (and make extra muffins for after school snack!)

  • Pump

  • Get the bottles ready for the baby

  • Leave instructions as to how to heat bottles for the baby

  • Spend lots of time worrying that the baby won’t take those bottles

  • Take random calls from the school regarding more benadryl for the child who had a HUGE allergic reaction to a caterpillar the day before (side bar: I told him to go outside and play because nature is so much better for his brain than watching TV. Turns out though, it’s not better for his skin. My bad.)

  • Write down the bus drop off schedule

  • Pile the books each child should read a chapter from after getting off the bus

  • Write out dinner instructions

  • Run a load of laundry

  • Cluster feed the baby EXTRA just in case she won’t take those bottles

  • Do all of this while managing a clingy 3-year-old who needs help with her puzzle and painting and a baby who is extra needy because she senses something is off about today

  • Call Pediatrician to check back in about that caterpillar allergic reaction

  • Clean the house some more

  • Take a shower

  • Get dressed

  • Eat. Feed the 3-year-old four times.

  • Make lots of backup coffee to take on the road (fyi: if you want a coffee thermos that will keep your coffee piping hot for hours and hours, I HIGHLY recommend this one: https://amzn.to/34ztA5T

    I put hot coffee in it at 1:50pm, ended up not drinking it and forgot about it until the next morning at 8am, and when I opened it up, IT WAS STILL HOT. Um. wow.)

  • Feed the baby some more

  • Vacuum

  • Take an awkward call from the library about the books I need to replace because of Addison’s voracious book appetite.

  • Clean some more.

  • Get dressed a second time after the baby spit up on me

  • Put baby down for a nap and convince the 3-year-old that YES, she IS tired and needs a nap too (this takes a while)

  • Wait for babysitter while picking up yet again (the cleaning part of the list never ends)

  • And gooooooo to work.

I started all of this at 6am and worked solid until 1:50pm in order to be able to leave.

What my husband has to do to prep to go to work:

  • Get dressed

  • Go to work

When I added up the extra prep hours, I realized that I”m not as much of a wimp as I first thought. There’s a lot of work that goes into being able to go to work. Ha!

I will say, I mega struggled to leave Vivian. She is my baby! This first bit of separation is so, so, so hard.

I struggled all day Monday as I prepped. I had a lot of anxiety in leaving her when I’ve been the one to keep her alive for the past five months. I’ve grown her, I’ve nourished her. She’s part of me. Leaving and doing something else without her for six hours felt like leaving my heart behind.

A friend reminded me that this was a great opportunity to trust the Lord with my baby.

And I saw this meme on facebook:

“Chin up, beautiful.

You’re not struggling.

You’re mid-conquer.”

I decided that I loved these both put together.

Chin up, beautiful.

You’re not struggling.

You’re mid-conquer. Because you don’t have to do this on your own. Put this struggle on the Lord. Rely on his strength. He will get you through this tricky, tricky day. Because you CAN’T. But He can. He created you to teach music. He created you to mother this beautiful baby. So go forth. Let today be victorious. Not because of your own efforts. But by trusting in Him.”

(Yes, I am a bit wordy. There’s a reason I don’t write memes lol.)

All of this to say, we survived Monday. Vivian did so great! And now the rest of the week is much lighter as we recover and prep for another Monday. And as much work as that was (and is), my soul already feels lighter after a tough summer.

I am so, so grateful for this opportunity to do this part-time, flexible work (that I LOVE). I am so grateful for an awesome babysitter, and for Aaron coming home early to do bedtimes alone each Monday. (It’s so good for the kids to get this time with him!)

And I’m so grateful that today is….I want to say….Wednesday? Lighter work. Recovery. And lots and lots of baby snuggles.

To all of you working moms out there, I see you. I have mad respect for what you do. Hats off. Coffee cup raised. May today be a good one.


Deanna Smith