So it is official. We survived my first week back at work. I’m not going to lie, this has been a really hard week on me. Abigail – not so much. It’s pretty ridiculous that the first day I dropped her off at daycare, with tears in my eyes and a forced smile, I pleaded with her to have a good time, while all along her response was to giggle at a ball across the room. Seriously, not even the smallest lip quiver? She couldn’t even give me that? Though, to be honest, if she had, I probably would have scooped her right up and promised to never leave her. I guess it is better that she’s braver than me.
Being a working mom is hard. I spent each night prepping all of her things as well as mine. Then each morning we have to prepare her bottles for the day and her lunch. And, of course, making sure she’s awake, clean, fed and ready for the day by 7:30 am. All while making sure that I as well am all of those things. Almost every single day I showed up to work with some sort of spit, food, or other substance (just use your imagination) on some part of my wardrobe. Thank you to the inventor of cardigans. These are definitely a working parent’s best friend.
Each morning we were out the door by 7:30 am for drop off – whether at daycare or my mother’s house. And she’s all smiles during drop off. John picks her up and by the time I get home, she’s exhausted. I do applaud daycare and my mother for being able to get her to nap and complete a variety of activities with her throughout the day (well and of course for ensuring her well-being). But it’s hard because I walk in the door at 6 PM, which means I have 2 hours (possibly 2 and half) before bedtime and she’s already exhausted from an exciting day. So each night I’m shoving an entire day of bonding between dinner and bath time. And now John and I have to share that time, when in the past I’d hand her off to him when he walked through the door as I had her all day and he wanted some quality time.
Everyone keeps telling me it will get better over time. And while I appreciate that, just know that I’ll be wallowing in guilt and sadness until then. I miss her all day and have put photos of her throughout my office. I find myself just staring at them during the day, wondering she’s rolling around, napping, or eating. And how many times today she has smiled, and how many times I have missed it. But, I do have to say, being away from her, having the ability to miss her, has actually been much better for our relationship. I loved being able to spend so much time with her during my leave, but it did wear on me. Between the feelings of isolation from talking with someone who can’t respond and the feelings of failure from an inability to calm a cranky baby, I was on edge at points. And I do think I need to be able to miss her so I can really enjoy our time together.
So I’m trying to look on the bright side through all of this. And when that doesn’t work, John ensures there is always a glass of wine with my name on it.
PS – On Sunday, we welcomed Abby’s newest cousin to the world. Honestly, that was the best way I could end my maternity leave. I’m so excited for the days when they can run around together – except that I’m terrified that Abby will be running around any day now. Time is going by WAY TOO FAST! Anyway – Welcome Baby Henry!