I’m going back to work on Monday.
I’m going to admit something that anyone who has talked to me over the past few weeks might be surprised to hear: I can kind of understand why 6 weeks is the time when most moms go back. That doesn’t mean I agree with it. It just means I understand it.
When I was pregnant, I started dreading going back to work – before she was even born! Those first few weeks post-partum, it wasn’t even a thought. Even at 4 weeks, the thought of leaving her for any length of time was simply unfathomable. But right around the 6 week mark, I started to notice a marked change in her. She started holding her head up better. She finally started filling out. No longer the 4 lb, 4 ounce little peanut I brought home from the hospital, my baby was just less fragile in general. That didn’t mean I wanted to leave her… it just meant I started feeling like maybe I could and she would be OK.
I’ve been home for 8 weeks (one perk of a c-section…2 extra weeks to recover). It’s not enough time. Five years would not be enough time. Is the work I’m doing more important than spending my days with my daughter? NO. Do I need to work so that those days aren’t spent living in a cardboard box? Sigh… yes. I know it’s hard for every mom to go back, but I seriously think there should be some special grant or something that IF’ers could apply for to let them stay home longer and still collect an income. I fought like hell for 3.5 years for this child, and now that I finally have her, I have to leave her for the better part of her day. It’s just really unfair.
I think the other hard thing is that in this age of technology, it seems like most of us in the corporate world should be able to work from home most days. Especially since I’m a writer. Then at least I could see her during the day, even if I would need someone to watch her while I was working. Unfortunately, it’s not an option at my current place of employment. It’s just not something they do.
It’s funny – a week after having her, I was showing up at my mother-in-laws with a full face of makeup, house vacuumed and spotless, all by 10 am. These days I’ve been experiencing a kind of productivity regression. Maybe I’m mentally digging my toes in, refusing to do anything. Lately I’ve been showering every other day and only leaving home out of necessity. This morning Molly and I stayed in our pajamas until 10:30 making pancakes. These are the things that I’ll miss the most.
Every morning Eric cheerfully reminds me how many days I have left until I go back to work, and has been since a week ago. I think a part of him expects me to reply one day with a staunch refusal, and maybe he’s just testing me to see if I’m really planning on going. I know that I have to. I know it will suck, and then it will slowly get better until it feels normal. I guess that’s the problem – right now this feels normal, being with my daughter every minute of every day. I don’t want that to change. I don’t want anything else to feel normal.