WORK/LIFE BALANCE FROM A MOM AND NURSE PRACTITIONER

Wrapping up the end of pregnancy, holidays, and 2016

12/5/16
As I enter the last trimester nearing the end of my pregnancy, and as the holidays and 2016 draw near to an end, I have been doing a lot of looking back, and looking forward.



I'm now in the third trimester, and exhaustion is starting to sink in. My energy levels, and patience levels have dropped from half of where they started at the beginning of my pregnancy. I can barely stay awake past 9:00 pm most nights. If I don't bundle all of my tasks to do early in the day, there is no way I will have the energy to complete them. I have no patience for arguments or nonproductive banter that takes up time, with anyone for any reason. I still am doing walking as much as I can and Tracy Anderson pregnancy workouts three times a week, which have been my saving grace. I feel so much more fit than last pregnancy, which I'm hoping will help with my labor and delivery as well as post-partum recovery. Over the Thanksgiving Holiday I had an unexpected long weekend, so we drove up to the Bay Area and spent it with my husband's extended family. We drove around the city, and even did a hike in Muir Woods, which I actually had enough stamina to complete. I am happy our family had a chance to do a road trip together as a family of three while I still had the energy. However, a six hour drive while 7 months pregnant and having an energetic two year old, was still exhausting. Because my energy levels have really dropped, my enthusiasm and holiday preparation have been almost nonexistent as well. We have put up our tree, however the remainder of our house has no decorations, and I have only bought one present. However, I am okay with having more simple holidays which are less stress and allow for more quality time with my family. We have had the chance to go on a few family outings over the weekends, and even had my son meet Santa.
This leads me to reflect on  2016, and looking forward to 2017. 2016 has been challenging for me for many reasons. If nothing else 2016 has taught me to prioritize and make time for what I value. This year I turned 33, and I wrote some about the differences between my twenties and my thirties. Like many millennials, I put off getting married, buying a house, and having kids until the beginning of my thirties. In my twenties, without an established relationship, career or home, I really had no accountability to anyone but myself. My leisure time was bountiful and how I spent it was my decision. Although I didn't have a lot of money, it was all my own to spend. I could take a day and drive to the beach myself, I could go on a spontaneous vacation, and any poor decision I made would be my own and only my own to deal with. This year in particular my career has launched off, my family is growing, and in general my responsibilities have grown exponentially. What I have found most challenging, and I anticipate as a greater challenge in 2017, is prioritizing my time. Time has never been so valuable as it has been this year, and now I will be splitting my time even further between two little people. In contrast to my twenties where I lived by some respects "self-indulgently", in my thirties I feel I have to be selfish in order to maintain my mental health, be there for my family, and be successful in my career. I mean selfish in the fact that I have to minimize interactions and activities that do not serve mine or my family's best interests in order to prioritize what I do value. This hasn't been easy, especially with starting a work schedule that is five days a week instead of my previous three. This leaves me with only two days a week to catch up on errands, cleaning, quality family time and a few minutes to myself. In the coming year I will have 12 weeks of maternity leave, and I plan on staying home and taking as much quality time with my son and daughter as possible. After my son was born, I spent much of my maternity leave finishing clinical hours, finishing my master's thesis, studying for the NP board exams, and hunting for new jobs. This time I want to relish and enjoy this time for myself and my kids, because that is ultimately that is what is most valuable to me. I'm wishing everyone a beautiful holiday season, and a hopeful new year!
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