My maternity leave ended yesterday. 13 1/2 weeks--- over in the blink of an eye. As cliché as it sounds, it really did go by so fast. I can't even put it into words how fast it flew by. Most of the time, when I say that I know DURING the time (ex: training before the marathon) it didn't feel like it went by fast... just at the end looking it back did it seem to happen so fast. However, this was different. Every passing day during my leave I was all too aware just how fast the days were passing. First, it was already 10 days in before Bailey left the NICU and even came home (though I worked from "home" some of those days, so I saved a bit of time for when she actually came home). Then, it was a month. Then, 6 weeks. Before I knew it, 8 weeks down. Then, in the blink of an eye, 12 weeks. And, now-- it's over.
I'd like to say I'm ready to go back to work and face this next phase of our lives. I'd like to say I'm up to the challenge and "bring it, work!" But, the reality is: I'm not. I'm not ready. I'm not ready to go back to work mentally. The idea of focusing on WORK is about the least appealing thing in the word and I have no idea where the brain capacity is going to come from. I'm not ready to get dressed up each morning and put on make up. I'm not ready to give up an HOUR of precious sleep to shower and get ready each morning.
But, most of all... I'm not ready to leave Bailey. Confession: I thought I would be. That sounds TERRIBLE when I write it down and read it. But, it's true. See, I NEVER thought of myself as a stay at home mom (SAHM). I never wanted to be one. I need and want adult interaction. I need and want to produce something tangible each day. Something I learned on leave? You can get both those things as a SAHM. I still don't think I would want to be a SAHM even if we could afford it (which we can't). I still think I want to work outside the home (I chose those words WISELY as being a SAHM IS MOST DEFINITELY WORK!!). Buuuuut- not yet. I NEED MORE TIME. I'm just not ready. Bailey is SO little and changing and growing every. single. day. The idea of missing something... even just one second of something BREAKS. MY. HEART. Dramatic? Yes. I'm ok with that. It's also true. Honestly, I wouldn't even be happy to go back to work if the Hubs could stay home with B (though of course that'd be a lot easier). It's not about daycare. She actually has a great home daycare where right now she's the ONLY child there. In a few weeks, a pair of 8-month old twins start and then that will be it for a while. The woman who runs it is great and I like her a lot. It's not about that. It's about ME not being with HER all day, everyday. I'm just not ready.
But- life doesn't care much about being ready. It pushes you into things whether you think you're ready or not. So, lthe night before last I packed my things (damn pump!) and laid out my clothes. And, the next morning I got up an hour earlier than normal (5:30am, you SUCK!) and got ready, nursed B, and then left the house and dropped her off with someone else. Someone who will get to see her change everyday and get to spend more time with her than I do Monday-Friday. And, I cried. 4 times before noon, to be exact. But, I survived. Sure, my first day back at work was only a half day (a GREAT tactic if you're going back to work), but I made it. And, Bailey made it too. She seemed as happy and content as ever. Though, I swear she great like 12 inches while I was at work.
So, now we're in our new norm. Work and daycare. I'm now a working out-of-the-house mom. We've nowhere near mastered our routine. Shoot, I forgot to pump on my first day back because I got busy and distracted. But, I did remember to pick Bailey up! I'll call that a win.
I'm still not ready for this new norm. I'm still not ready to be back at work. I'm still not ready for Bailey to be with someone else all day, every day. But, it is what it is. At least I get to look forward to this face waiting for me at the end of each day.
PS- Happy Valentine's Day!