On Monday, A turned 3 months old and my maternity leave ended.
We just went for a walk with the dog in the rain. Life almost feels back to normal. A new normal, but normal nonetheless.
Earlier in January I went through the anger over having to leave her to return to a day job. The logistics, the cost, and the emotions didn’t seem worth it. I was panicked about finding a daycare, worried the expense wouldn’t make sense, and frustrated I had to choose between feeling like a productive adult and being a mother.
(Also, still can’t comprehend myself and the word “mother” in the same sentence, but that’s a story for another time).
But as I’m learning over and over again, things work out. We found a small in-home daycare that is close to home and the price was right. I thought I had to return to work on the 17th, then the 23rd and then finally, officially, the 30th. Each time the return date was bumped it was a gift, an additional week to keep settling into motherhood before starting yet another new chapter.
I decided to work from home on Wednesdays and take Fridays off. Waking up this morning I knew it was the right call. Monday and Tuesday I had the stamina to make it work. Wednesday brought relief from packing bottles, rushing around the house to get out the door on time and, of course, sitting in traffic. Come Thursday I had the energy to manage one more full day and this morning I could recover from it all.
Leaving A at daycare each morning broke my heart a little, but being away from her for the day gave me a rush of energy. This is the freedom I’m craving. Each part of the day feeds the other. I find myself fully present in each.
While I’m at work, I miss her, but I am focused, productive and thoroughly enjoying collaborating with my coworkers again. Work allows me to return to the person I am when I’m not knee-deep in breastfeeding and diapers. And as soon as I pick her up, any lingering complaints about work fade as I get to put all of my energy into loving on her. Even the 3am feedings.
Especially the 3am feedings.
I’m thinking this new routine will make me better at both mothering and working and that is a life bonus I didn’t see coming.
I know working plus parenting isn’t right for everyone, and hey, it may not be right for us in the coming months, but I am so relieved that this first week of balancing the two felt good.
Really, really good.