Maternity leave ended as quickly as it started. One minute I’m feeling my contractions pick up and the next I am digging deep in my closet for something that will go past my new (hopefully not forever) thighs (ps, dresses are my best friends these days) and getting ready for my first day at work.
I distinctly remember the night before and the first week of going back to work after maternity leave with Peanut. I was a mess. I cried as I prepped bottles, I cried as I put newly purchased name stickers and name bands on her stuff, I cried as I tried to fall asleep, I cried as I showered in the morning, and I bawled the entire drive to work. For the whole week. Maybe two.
One of the first mistakes I made was to visit daycare during my lunch breaks. Since my office was a mere 10 minutes away, I rushed out of the office at noon on the dot and burst into the baby room in hopes that Peanut was awake so I could shower her with kisses. Most days she was asleep. Every single one of those days I bawled on the drive back to work. By the end of week two or three I decided I couldn’t handle the emotional turmoil of saying goodbye to her twice a day and I stopped going at lunch. After that, things started to get a little easier and a little easier and a little easier until I was actually looking forward to going to work and enjoying the new balance.
This time? Oh, the different lives we lead.
I didn’t buy Taylor any name stickers, and definitely no name bands, primarily because I forgot. (Don’t worry, I ordered them yesterday from my fav, Gloria’s sticker shop.) I didn’t think too much about getting back to work except about actual work things (how’s the project going? I wonder how my guys are doing? I need to remember to pack the iPad). And I didn’t shed any tears.
The night prior my husband and I talked through our morning routine to make sure that both of us had time to do what we like to do before we go to work (workout, coffee, shower, get dressed), how nursing, pumping and getting the kids dressed would fit in, what time everyone had to be up by. You know, the important things. There were no tears.
The morning of we got everyone ready and out the door on time. (Okay, we forgot the bottles of milk so Jon has to run back while I dragged the 14lb kid in a car seat and the toddler inside.) Taylor smiled at everyone. Peanut whined that she wanted me to stay. I left Taylor with her teacher and snuggled my tot, set up her breakfast, gave her kisses, counted down, and walked out the door. I kissed my husband goodbye in the parking lot (from which we both drove to the same office…yup) and drove to work. There were no tears. There may even have been smiles about the first day back and the hot coffee waiting for me.
Of course, as is my fashion, I analyzed why I wasn’t sad. And here is what I’ve come up with.
This ain’t my first rodeo. I know that daycare is good for my kids. I know that going back to work gives me balance. I know that the short term sadness will pass.
I also know the wonderful teachers at our daycare and how much they care for our kids. The first time that I dropped Peanut off was like leaving my precious little being, the one I carried in my belly for 9 months, labored with, and birthed, with strangers. They didn’t know her – how could they care for her? What if she cried? Would they pick her up? Would they cuddle her? Would they sing her songs until she smiled again? And you know what? They did. In fact, if I have one complaint about my daycare is that they spoil my children by holding them and cuddling them too much.
Furthermore, the wonderful woman who takes care of the newborns and babies is our babysitter and an almost grandparent to our kids. She is seriously amazing.
So when it was time to drop Taylor off, I knew exactly who was watching my children and I was confident in them. They’re like our extended family. They love our children like family and who wouldn’t want to drop their kids off with their family? (Don’t answer that…I love ours.)
And lastly, I am going back to work part-time.
That’s right. You read that right. I will be working Mondays through Wednesday and staying home with my girls Thursdays and Fridays.
The idea started floating in my head when I got pregnant with Taylor and I kept pushing it away. By the time I was on maternity leave I couldn’t stop myself from daydreaming about spending more time with the girls while they’re young and not in school. Needless to say, after many many many conversations about budgets, logistics, etc, we decided that I would sit down with my boss and propose a new position and schedule for me. And it worked. He agreed. I did a little happy dance. And now I have 2 more days with my precious darlings while they’re wicked young.
So there you have it. That’s my brain dump on going back to work the second time around.
Check back with me tomorrow when I’m home alone with a crying toddler and a screaming infant and I may have other ideas about this part-time gig. But today? Today I’m happy.