Friday, November 4, 2011

Bringing home the bacon: life as a working mama - Guest Post

Hey there!  This is Kacie from Chasing Fireflies with a guest post while Mama G is visiting family and looking for apartments on the East Coast!

My family is a little on the unconventional side.
1) I'm not married to the father of my child, Mike.  We've been together since July of 2008 and engaged since December 2008 (no, that's not a typo).  We were together for just over 5 months before Mike proposed, and I said yes.  Nearly 3 years ago.  
2)  We purposely went off birth control in October 2009, even though we were looking for venues for a Spring 2011 wedding and Mike was in culinary school.  The result? Olivia Reese came into our lives January 25th, 2011.
3) (And the topic of this post) I work full time - 12 hour night shifts - as a Registered Nurse, while Mike is a stay at home dad.

Not the conventional way to play with the play mat, but we're not really a conventional family.

Whenever the subject of my working/Mike as a stay at home dad comes up, I inevitably get a few weird looks and some questions as to how I feel, some of which are obviously judgmental.  I thought I'd share my thoughts with you all.

Honestly?  I LOVE that Mike is able to stay home with Olivia.  He is so patient and kind, and I love seeing the bond between the two of them grow.  I never have to worry about Olivia - I know that Mike is taking care of her the way that I would, and he loves her as much as I do.  Someday, when Olivia is a bit older, I'll be ready to send her to daycare, to play and learn with other kids her age.  But for now, I love the fact that she can stay at home with her dad.

Mike and Olivia

Do I ever wish I could stay at home?  Sure, but I also know that I wouldn't be as happy.  Now don't take that the wrong way - I love my daughter and I love spending time with her, but I also love working and I always have.  I got my first job when I was 14 working at a local fast food place.  Throughout high school, I worked a lot.  Some days I think back and worry I worked too much, that I gave up a lot of my high school social life for work.  Truth is, work was my social life.  I'd say that 80% of my high school friends that I still talk to are people I worked with.  I've always had a job, sometimes 2.  I'm the person you could always count on to pick up an extra shift (or 2 or 3).  Granted, I've always been fortunate enough to work for some amazing bosses and with some wonderful people.

When I first went back to work after Olivia was born I worked Monday through Friday 7am to 3pm.  It was nice having every evening and weekend off, but I felt like I was missing out on a lot of Olivia's day.  We moved 1500 miles when Olivia was 4 1/2 months old, and I now work three 12 hour night shifts (7pm to 7am) per week.

Sure, working nights is rough, but I don't think I'd have it any other way.  With this schedule I only miss a couple hours of awake time with Olivia that night.  

Mornings are mommy/daughter time. When I get home from work around 8 Olivia wakes up and we have breakfast together followed by playtime, while Mike sleeps in. Nap time for Olivia is around 9:30 and I head to bed.   We squeeze in some snuggle time after the morning nap (11:30ish) before Mike takes her downstairs for lunch.  I get up for the day between 3:30 and 4, allowing for a couple more hours of quality time in during the afternoon/early evening.
I also have 4 days off every week which I think we all love.
Kisses for mommy.  Olivia doesn't seem to mind having a working mama!

Mike could work, either part-time or full-time, but with my rotating schedule it's hard to find something where the hours don't overlap with mine, and neither of us want him to work just to pay for Olivia to go to daycare.  There will be plenty of time for that down the road.

Would this arrangement work for everyone?  Absolutely not.  Whether you have a dual income home or one parent stays at home doesn't matter. It's about finding what is important to you, and what works best for your family.  And this is what works best for us.
My family :)

Thanks for taking over for the day, Kacie! Be sure to check out Kacie's blog, Chasing Fireflies.


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