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March 09, 2006

Back to Work

James Mehring

Time flies when you are changing diapers, reading fairy tales, and not getting enough sleep. My wife can hardly believe her time off is nearly over. Lyn’s employer provides a generous 12 weeks of paid leave. But my daughter is now three months old and Lyn heads back to the office in 10 days.

We now have less than two weeks to come up with a game plan. What I perceive as the biggest challenge—finding somebody to watch our daughter during the workday— is all taken care of. Luckily, the in-laws live a few doors down and my mother-in-law is more than willing to handle daycare duties. As for feeding during the day, Lyn is filling the freezer with milk. This has been tough for me as I have been “forced” to eat Italian ices, bacon, and steak in order to make some space in the freezer.

With the days covered, Lyn and I have been talking about how to handle the mornings, evenings, and nights. Both of us will need to get enough sleep to function in the working world. Lyn can no longer be the only person to hop out of bed when the baby lets us know that she is hungry, wants her pacifier, or needs a dry diaper, pronto.

We have worked out some of the details. Right now, Lyn will rush home as soon as she can during the first part of the week since I have classes on Mondays and Wednesdays and Tuesdays have the potential to get hectic at the magazine. On Thursdays and Fridays it is my turn to rush home so that my wife has the flexibility to stay at the office if needed. We are lucky in the sense that having a set cycle at the magazine makes it easier to schedule.

What we have not quite hammered out is who gets up at night during the week. I must admit that I have slipped a little in recent weeks. Lyn has been handling the nights. Part of the reason for the shift has been the start of another semester. That won’t fly now. I would love to know the best way to deal with nights. It seems that having designated days is the best way to go. In addition, now that both of us will be getting ready for work, who handles the baby? Mornings are usually the best time for our daughter but not every morning will go smoothly.

03:39 PM

Work/Life

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