Tuesday, May 05, 2009
I got through my first day back at work and no one melted down. Supahstah!
Kindercare apparently employs a team of baby whisperers because Margot took a bottle by 1pm on her first day there. It may have been hunger. But given that she also napped a grand total of 90 minutes for the entire day, I think it's clear that her stubbornness is still front and center, so I am giving the credit to her extremely well-paid caregivers. It is very strange to think that we are paying people a lot of money to do what I did while I was home, what my instincts want to continue to do. It may be time to move to Scandinavia, where the governments mandate paid maternity leave for 16 weeks to 2 years depending on the country. Not a bad deal.
No one told me that the hardest part of going back to work is discovering that you only have about two hours with your kid every day. One hour in the morning, when you're barely awake, and another hour in the evening when they're barely awake. It sucks. I feel like one of the things I wrestled with most during my maternity leave was the inability to go do the things I was used to doing when I wanted to do them--working out, using the bathroom, going to sleep, running errands, etc. Now that I'm back at work, I have all day to do my stuff and I miss being with her. I miss her terribly. I want a part-time job as a belated birthday present, thanks.
Lunchboy and I are really blessed for many reasons, one of which is that he primarily works from home, so my maternity leave was a time when the three of us got to be together as a family unit in a very protected way. In my memory, those months are something like an idyll (though they were definitely not idle). Rather than drive each other nuts by being home together for 12 weeks, that time brought us much closer and cemented our status as partners. We are good at giving each other space and safeguarding the other person's right to alone time, work time, nap time, etc. We operate as a team and that has made parenthood even more of a joy because when one of us starts feeling overwhelmed or fried, the other one steps in. So I miss Margot but I also miss Lunchboy. Work is kind of lonely.
At the moment, I am also missing my couch. It's time for the baby's afternoon nap and I am not at all adjusted to getting very little sleep and then not being able to make up for it on the couch the next day. One thing that I hadn't anticipated is that exhaustion makes life a lot simpler. Being bone tired all the time negates the capacity for tolerating BS, for dwelling on things I could have done differently, and for relaxing boundaries. Who would have thought that fatigue could be empowering? I'm reading a really amazing book that talks insightfully about this and other unexpected aspects of motherhood. I want to buy a dozen copies and gift them to all my mom and soon-to-be mom friends.