Goodbye, Maternity Leave

me-and-my-babiesTomorrow marks my first day back to work after my maternity leave with Kate. It’s a bigger deal than when I returned to work after I had Alex, because I know this will be my last maternity leave (at least, that’s the plan).

Part of me is excited to get back. Seeing my friends. Getting back into a routine. (Figuring out what our new routine looks like… .) Diving into client projects. Re-focusing my efforts on taking jhP’s digital to the next level.

But a bigger part of me than I had anticipated is sad.

I didn’t have much trouble taking Kate to her first day of daycare. (She started on Monday.) She’s going to the same daycare the boys have always gone to. I know the staff there so well, it almost feels as though she’s staying with family.

The sadness comes from the thing that’s made me sad the entire maternity leave – knowing that all these are experiences are happening for the last time. Holding a tiny baby close. Watching as they start to wake up and experience the world around them. Their first smiles and sounds. Their first blowouts. It’s the last set of firsts I will get to experience, and it’s been really hard for me to come to terms with. Honestly, I’m not really sure I’m even there yet.

I’d love to have a forth child, I also know I really don’t want to be in my late 60’s as they’re getting married and starting a family. I want to be like my parents and Tony’s parents and be able to help them as they take those first scary steps into parenthood (each time they do it). To help with meals and cleaning and giving them the reassurance that they’re doing a great job. All the things our family has given us over the past few months.

So if you see me tomorrow, and I look a bit down, just remind me I will get to experience this stage again. But it will be doing it through the eyes of my sons and my daughter as they get their turn.

Flying Solo: Part 4

Yesterday and today have been pretty good. I attribute a lot of that to an unanticipated phone call from Tony yesterday. He was checking in to see how we were doing and let us know they were moving campsites because they hadn’t had much luck seeing/hearing any elk yet.

The icing on the cake was the text messages I received last night and earlier today. The new campsite Tony moved to had just enough of a cell signal to send and receive text messages. It seems a bit silly, but it was so nice to be able to have a brief text conversation with my husband.

Flying Solo: Part 3

Overall, today went pretty well, but I give full credit for that to my parents and the two hour nap they allowed me to take. The kids and I stayed the night at their house last night. Bedtime last night went pretty smoothly, but for some reason little miss Kate didn’t sleep nearly as well as she normally does.

Starting around 2 a.m. Kate woke up every two hours wanting to eat. She never really ate much before she fell back asleep, but regardless I had to wake up to tend to her. Which meant even though my mom took the first shift with the boys (Alex slept in until 5:15), I still didn’t get much sleep.

Kate must have felt awful about waking me up so much because I was rewarded this morning with her first legit smile, and it was a great big cheesy one. In fact, she was in a smiley mood for quite awhile. Unfortunately I wasn’t thinking clearly enough to capture a photo, but I’m certain there’s plenty more smiles coming.

monopoly_Leo

We spent the day hanging out and watching the boys play. When Alex napped, Leo and I played Monopoly. After Alex woke, the boys played in grandma’s kiddie swimming pool and had fun splashing and jumping around. This evening we played darts and washers out in the barn.

It was a low-key day, but it’s exactly what I needed. Hopefully we can have a few more of those this week.

Flying Solo: Part Two

This single parent gig is rough. I did it for awhile with Leo after my divorce and found it challenging. But now, with three kids, it’s a whole new level. We’re only two days in and I’m already struggling. I’ll chalk a big portion of that up to my early wake up call.

Around 2:30 a.m. last night I was up with Kate for her nightly nursing and my pumping session. I was back to bed around 3:15 hoping I’d be able to grab a few more hours of sleep before the boys were up. That definitely didn’t happen. Instead I was back up at 4 a.m. with Alex, who decided it was time to start the day.

We watched cartoons (Paw Patrol and Mickey Mouse Clubhouse),crafty_alex ate breakfast and did art projects. Leo worked on his homework, creating a really cool poster all about him,
while Alex was coloring on sheets of construction paper. Even with the fun activities, it became very clear that with three kids, at least one of them was going to be upset and crying about half of the time.

homework_Leo

Thankfully my parents came up to help me mid- morning, so while I had a busy day, at least for a good chunk of it, I wasn’t alone in trying to keep kids entertained and happy.

 

Almost double-digits

No, we didn’t just jump forward in time. Leo’s still five. (Thank goodness!)

The double-digits I’m referring to is my time at jhP. Last week I hit my nine-year anniversary mark, so I’ve officially embarked on the final year of my first decade of employment here.

My jhP nametag.

Yeah, I said first decade. (Nearly 1/3 of my life thus far.) At this rate I can’t really see myself anywhere other than jhP, so I wouldn’t be surprised if I spend a few more decades doing this advertising/marketing thing. It’s fun, so why not?

In lieu of waxing poetic (because let’s face it, I don’t do that well), here are five reasons why jhP is the best fit for me:

having-fun

1. I’m happy here. I know that sounds cliche. But really, I don’t know a whole lot of other people that love their job as much as I love mine. The older I get, the more clear that becomes. I’m incredibly fortunate that I’ve found work that I enjoy doing, people that I enjoy working with and an environment that I like coming to. It really adds to the overall quality of my life.

2. Ability to create my own path. I started at the front desk when I initially came to jhP. (At that point who even knew digital marketing would be a big thing?) With my studio art degree, I knew next to nothing about advertising. Hard work, goals and encouraging mentors (who also happen to be my bosses) allowed me to experience lots of things and grow in the direction that best suited me and my interests. Eight years ago I got into account service. A few years later I focused on social media. Now I’m running the digital marketing department. Boom. I couldn’t have predicted it, but it couldn’t be a better fit.

3. Entrepreneurial spirit. Ever since I was little I’ve known I wanted to own my own business. I just didn’t know what type of business, nor was I sure I was comfortable with the incredible amount of time investment/risk/pressure that brings. Enter jhP. In 2007, I became a shareholder, and suddenly I was able to tap into that spirit withIN an established company – as an INtrapreneur. I have the opportunity to own and help lead a company, but the risk and pressure of that doesn’t fall solely on my shoulders. There’s an entire team of passionate shareholders that work together to guide this ship. And I still get vacations where I can unplug. It doesn’t get much better than that.

4. Incredible flexibility. Throughout the various stages of my life, jhP has been very flexible allowing my work schedule to work with my life. When I was starting my career, I was able to attend all kinds of networking events and professional development meetings/conferences. As I became a mom, I’ve had time to do all the mom things that sometimes happen during the course of the work day. When shit happens, jhP is flexible enough to work with me so I can get things taken care of.

jhP 2013 Holiday Party5. Sweet perks. Royals games. Company lunches/picnics. Holiday parties. Impromptu ice cream breaks. Crazy birthday cards. Group outings. National conferences and trainings. Free soda at work. (Hey, this Dt. Pepsi-drinker appreciates the little things.) Beer :30 on Fridays … Oh yeah, and those grown-up things like bonuses, the 401K match and fully covered health insurance for employees. It’s all good!