Do you know that I have a running list of blog topics that I want to post about. I didn’t want our blog to become one of those pregnancy blogs that disappears after the kiddo arrives, but it’s looking a little like that these days, huh?
My 11 week leave was a magical time. I got to learn all about how this little creature we created likes to be cared for. I was able to see the beginnings of his personality. I could devote every minute of everyday caring for E if I wanted to (which is sure easy to do as a new parent). It wasn’t always perfect, or easy, caring for E by myself during the day. He really struggled with terrible reflux, and it took a while to get the proper treatment. There were some days that were a blur of epic vomiting and terrible screaming after very meal. I give a lot of love and credit to C who went back to work so soon after his birth so we wouldn’t be too financially impacted. She didn’t get as much time home with him, and while I worked hard caring for him, I also got to experience all the joy that comes with spending hours and hours with a cuddly new baby.
And then it all came to an abrupt end……and I went back to work on Monday of this week. It’s been a rocky transition. I miss the way his head smells and the way his breath smells. I miss staring at him all day long (and let’s be honest—taking pictures of him all day long). I miss knowing what he is doing every second. I miss, and have anxiety about, making decisions about every little thing he does, and how he/we spend our day. (I know this sounds real crazy.) Now I have to trust that his other caregivers are making the right decisions and taking good care of our little guy.
The good news is I love his daycare. I love the staff, the philosophy, the community of other working parents we are meeting there. Without these positive feelings I would have never survived this week. I know I don’t need to worry about the quality of his care, and that is a huge burden to let go of. Now I just am left feeling heartbroken and missing him.
On my first day back I managed not to cry all day. I was emotional a little on the car ride home, probably out of sheer exhaustion. I waited until Carrie and E were sleeping. Then I broke down and bawled, crying myself to sleep. The thought of leaving him again and getting up and doing it all over again (the 2 hour commute, the stress of playing catch up at work, the exhaustion, all the extra chooses that come with parenting that need to get done on a weeknight) was overwhelming.
While I muddled through Monday and Tuesday, I was feeling pretty decent on Wednesday. Today I had a few moments where I forgot I was just off for almost 3 months. There are some benefits to being back at work. Eating lunch slowly, uninterrupted feels downright decadent. I really love what I do, and genuinely like 90 percent of my co-workers. While the work I do doesn’t save lives ( or feel as important as child rearing) I do know that I’m doing good work and contributing to patient communication and shared decision-making fields. If I have to work outside the home it’s a pretty great job.
I’m having a hard time not feeling envious of other families who have more flexible schedules, work part-time, or are financially able to have someone stay home. I hate these feelings, and feel embarrassed to be complaining about being securely employed. I also hate all the guilt and the thoughts I sometimes have like….”if you couldn’t stay home with him why did you even have him!” I know that is so DRAMATIC, but if I’m being honest, I’ve battled thoughts like these a lot for the past 3 weeks.
I’m working on not feeling sad or angry about our reality. I want to remember those lovely 11 weeks when all I did was take walks with E and watch him take in the world. I will never take an hour for granted on a weekday night, and will fiercely savor the weekends.
Many people this week have told me that it gets easier as time goes on. I can say that C and E are sleeping, and I’m up late blogging instead of crying my eyes out. That’s some progress right?