Mike’s new job has been the hot topic around here. I am proud of him and so thrilled that he is working for such a fun company where he’ll be able to put his writing experience and creativity to good use. He’s only a couple weeks in and he already loves it.
Since he’s working in the company’s LA office, it’s been a big adjustment for all of us. Of course, Mike is the one who has to make the commute, so he has the biggest change, but since he’s an adult he can handle that. Annabel’s adjustment has been harder. Mike has worked from home for the last two years, so Annie only remembers what it’s like to have her Daddy home all the time. She’s a dyed in the wool Daddy’s girl, and she misses him a lot. When she gets upset or frustrated she still cries out for him, and that has been hard for me. I often remind myself that this adjustment period will be over soon (I hope).
Since I still work from home, I’m trying to figure out how to balance it all. Right before Mike received his job offer I took on a new freelance client, so I am feeling especially crazed. Mike and I make a great team, and we had a good system – we evenly split household chores, and whoever had the closest deadline worked while the other parent handled the kids. We also shared overnight James duty, and of course he started cutting another tooth last week. I’ve come to the realization that I need to start saying no to things, which if you’ve ever freelanced, is a scary thought.
My parents have been a tremendous help, both with child care while I work, and with Annabel’s emotional needs. I love how much she adores her daddy, but I wish she didn’t miss him so much during the day. She can really work herself up, so I have been doing my best to keep her occupied. James, of course, is happy and unfazed. I’ll say, “Let’s take a picture for Daddy!” and he’ll give me his famous grin.
He rewards Mike with the same big smile every evening, which is a pretty great thing to come home to if you ask me.
We’ve been very lucky these last two years, and I’m glad that we were able to take advantage of our somewhat non-traditional work situation. These early years with our kids are priceless. But, the novelty of Mike being gone during the day has worn off, and I miss my teammate. I’m a bit lonely while he’s at work, and even though Annabel does her best to talk my ear off it’s not the same as having my favorite guy around. However, it’s going to be nice to leave the scary freelance life (mostly) behind. Even though we were both largely doing steady contract work, there was always the possibility any of them could be canceled/not renewed. It’s nice to not have that hanging over our heads anymore.
I guess the keys to my successful adjustment into this new life will be scheduling, planning, and sticking to it. Three things I am not awesome at. Can I schedule a nap? I’m sure I’d be awesome at sticking to that! But truly, we are feeling very thankful, and I’m sure that life at home with these two characters (and Rigby!) will be even more interesting with me as the only (sort-of) adult in charge.
Congrats to Mike, and good luck on the new schedule! And, the cuteness-fix of James’s smile will balance out the fact that I will be cursing you a tiny bit, after I am still singing the Charles in Charge tonight…
Oh,,My,,,Gosh,,,that pic of James in his hat,,,,the best!!!
Yeah, the scheduling, planning and sticking to it is what will kill you… Because that only works so far. Truth is, you’re gonna be outnumbered sometimes, and solo parenting will drive you crazy. I cried two days into my husband going back to work after his family leave was up. A month and a half later I am still finding my footing.
For us, the big sticking point is that my daughter hates changes in routine, which with two days at home and three in preschool is inevitable sometimes: on days at home she can be a little beast about scheduling and has little tolerance for having to wait 2 minutes for lunch if I have to change baby’s diaper. She loves her brother, but mom not doing things she expects to be done when she expects it? The horror.
Hang in there!
Congrats on Mike’s new job–it sounds great. Yes, mothers take the brunt of our daughters’ fits and frustration (at least in my experience). Can Mike skype at lunch or would that make it worse? And please do say “no” when you can because taking care of a preschooler and a baby is a full-time job, as you know:)
I work from home and my husband does not. It’s a huge juggling act all of the time, and you’ll figure out what works best for you all. I don’t know if this would work for Mike (my husband’s his own boss, so he can get away with slightly non-traditional things), but when my daughter starts her whiny “Where’s Daddy? I want Daddy!” cries mid-day, I usually just call him up. Two minutes on the phone (no more than that), and she’s usually settled until he gets home. If you can’t call randomly, can you schedule a time of day when Mike might be able to call (like before he takes his lunch break)? Just a thought. Like I said, it might work, but each kid/family is different.
Congratulations! And good luck with the new schedule. It is always tricky balancing work and parenthood. My mom made it look easy but I am sure it wasn’t for her. If I discover any magic trick to the work/life balance I will let you know. xo
I think his office is about 5 min from where I’m going to be living in a month. I smell a lunch!
OMG I love that picture of James. I see Maddie in him!!
Expat Mom says:
I’m a freelancer and my husband is a musician, so I know only too well how tense things can get when you’re not sure how long a contract will last. That being said, I think sometimes it would be good to have a little bit of time apart.
Here’s to finding balance, something that is extremely elusive when you’re a working parent.
My husband and I both work in offices and our daughter is at pre school. He travels too – sometimes overnight, occasionally a week or two. It can be tough but I play up the mummy/daughter fun we can have and we make sure we send photos both ways so she can see where Daddy is and what he is doing. I do find telling her the night before that Daddy is going away the next day makes it easier, and I am sure Annie will adjust.
As a fellow working from home Mama (three days a week anyway) I feel you. I make a lot of lists. Hope the transition feels over with soon and you fall into your new normal.