I went back to work on May 24th after blessedly being able to stay home for six plus months with my baby girl after she was born. So it’s been nearly four months since I went back. The first day was heart wrenching, the first week was torture, the second week was hard. I figured that I would get used to it as time went on – leaving Bri at home and heading off to make money. I mean, mothers (and fathers) do this all the time, right?
And I suppose it has gotten a little easier. I mean, I don’t cry every day now…I manage to hold the tears back. It’s only once a week or so that I let them come. When people at work ask me how I handled coming back to work with a baby at home (which a lot of customers seem to feel is their business when it comes up that I have a ten month old daughter), I literally choke up and have a hard time answering without my voice breaking.
Please don’t snicker and roll your eyes. I’m an emotional person, but that doesn’t make me stupid, right? I mean, I cannot possibly be the only mama out there who has to work and wishes with all her heart that she could be a SAHM!
I loved being home with my baby and not missing a single moment. I loved being there to wipe away every tear and respond to every smile and belly laugh, to watch as she explored this great big world where everything is new and fascinating! And while I still get to spend a large chunk of the day with her, I’m not there in the afternoons. I’m not there for dinner or bath time. And dammit, I’m not there for bedtime. Bedtime is so special to me.
Bedtime is special because when I was home every night, that was our special time. Daddy and Uncle AJ would head off to their respective bedrooms and go to sleep, and Bri and I would cuddle on the couch because she just wasn’t ready to sleep yet. Our little night owl would stay awake so late! But this mama is a natural night owl, too. So we’d snuggle, and I might watch a show or read a book (out loud, so she could enjoy it, too), or maybe we’d just sit there and take each other in. And when she got a little older, and she started to go to sleep earlier, I was still the one who put her to bed, because that was our time.
It seems silly sometimes, given that I was with her all day, and David was at work…you’d think that bedtime would be his, but somehow it became mine, and I cherished every moment. Even the “rough” nights when she fought sleep like it was her mortal enemy, when I occasionally lost my patience and had to call in backup (David, lol), I was almost always the one who finished out the bedtime ritual and put her in her sleeper and later her crib. We had a ritual, and then I went back to work and I lost that, and it really kind of hurts. And now, on the nights that I am home from work for bedtime, I somehow always miss out on putting her to bed. She and David have their own routine now, since it’s him five days out of seven, so when I try, she gets riled up and won’t sleep. I know I keep harping on it, but it’s heartbreaking. I miss our special time together.
As a working mom, I still get to see a lot of moments and cherish a lot of laughs and silliness and discovery and fun. But I miss a lot, too. I miss it because I’m not there. She’ll only be this little for such a little while. And in just four short years, she’ll be in school, and I’ll have to let her go and discover things without me, and let her tell me about them later when she comes home.
But in the here and now, everything in me is telling me that I should be at home with her, cherishing it all every second of the day. And I can’t.
I’ve been talking to David about trying to find a position as a nanny or before/after school care babysitter type person. A few people had suggested it before when I needed to go back to work, but I didn’t think I could find anything quick enough (that would bring in enough money for us to pay our bills) before we’d be really in a tough spot, so I went with the quickest solution and went back to my old job (though at a different location). Now, I have a job, and I have money coming in, so I can take the time I need to try to find a nanny or babysitting position. If I find the right one, with enough hours, I can still bring in enough income that we can survive, and I can bring Bri with me to “work.” I didn’t think David would go for it, as he kind of hemmed and hawed about it before I went back to work, acting like he wasn’t sure how he felt about it. But he has been surprisingly supportive. When I told him how heartbroken I was every time I had to leave her, and how I literally cried all the way to work some days, he didn’t hesitate to tell me he would support me in whatever I wanted to do. (Though, of course, he did point out that “whatever I wanted to do” did not mean I could give up working entirely, because we do need an income from me to pay our bills.)
I’m feeling excited and hopeful, but also nervous. Taking care of other people’s kids is something I’ve done before, babysitting and such, but I wasn’t a parent then, and I didn’t realize how important a job it was. Does that make any sense at all? Ha! Sometimes I feel ridiculous.
Anyway, my long-winded rambling (oh, woe is me) has probably scared off the majority of my readers tonight. I just felt like this decision was important, and I wanted to share it. *shrug* Maybe it’s only important to me. But since this is my blog, you’ll have to pretend it’s important…or quit reading it! 🙂