One week of maternity leave left!

I can’t believe I have to go back to work one week from today! 😦

It’s funny, when DB first went back to his work and I was alone with LB, I thought I would never make it through 9 more weeks of maternity leave. And now, I can’t believe how quickly it’s gone by.

Jessie asked me yesterday how I feel about going back – and honestly, I’m kind of ambivalent. I love staying home with LB (a lot more now than I did at first!) and seeing her grow and develop in leaps and bounds. But I love my job and I miss it a lot. I don’t think I would be particularly happy if the entirety of my existence was defined by taking care of my daughter. I want to be more than just “Me, the Mom” – I want to be “Me, the Wife” and “Me, the Nurse”  and “Me, the Friend” too. And if I were a full-time stay at home mom, I would have to spend a lot of time and effort making sure that LB got to interact with other kids and develop the social skills, etc that she’ll learn in daycare. I think it’s a good thing for her to be around other kids her age – learn to share and play well with others and all that jimminy jomminy – but I don’t know any other kids her age. Daycare solves that problem for me, while making sure she has a well rounded, age-appropriate daily curriculum planned out for her and implemented by people who are as passionate about childcare as I am about nursing.

But I am sad at the thought of leaving her with other people. And I’m sad at the thought of all the milestones we may not see for the first time and the lack of opportunities to photograph her achieving said milestones – will I still be able to get my daily photo of LB? Or will she only be ridiculously well documented through her first 12 weeks of life? How awful will it be if her first word or her first step is at daycare and not with her parents?

Ideally, I would like to go back part time and stay home part time. Maybe work 2 or 3 days a week. But that does not make financial sense. In fact, it would be financially disastrous. DB and I have crunched the numbers every way we can possibly think of, but it’s just not an option for us right now.

I am lucky enough to work at a company that considers 4 days a week full time – so I still get one day a week home with LB. So I can’t really complain. There are plenty of mommies who work 40 hours or more a week just to make ends meet and hardly ever get to see their kids. And DB works some great hours where he gets off early enough to pick her up from daycare every day – so I can just rush straight home to my awesome family.

So, what do I have planned for my last week at home with LB?

  • Visit with friends that we won’t have time to meet once I go back. This involves going over to a friends house so LB can meet them and meeting others out for lunch. I might also try to get others (aka DB’s mom and Granny Joan) to come over and hang out with us.
  • Work on LB’s photo album of her first 12 weeks. There is a dual deadline for this: 1) I won’t have time to work on it when I go back to my job and 2) I have a $20 credit that expires next week, so I have to get my butt in gear
  • Take even more photos of LB while I have the chance. (How many photos could I possibly need of her in her bouncy seat? More than I have at present, thank you very much.)
  • Try to get in lots of cuddles. We’ve been very good about not getting her to where she won’t sleep except on us or where she wants to be held continuously. (She’s actually not that big on cuddles when she’s awake – she’s very independent already. But  I plan on subjecting her to mucho cuddle time and she can squirm if she wants to…)
  • We’re also going to work on getting a set time and routine for going to sleep. This is not particularly fun, but it’s on the list anyway because it’s necessary. Last night was our first night of “bath, bottle, bed at 7:45” and it went pretty well. Fingers crossed that it continues to do so.
  • Selfishly, there are a few things I want to do while I’m still off work and have the time. I’m getting a keratin treatment to make it easier on me in the mornings when I go back. (I have enormous hair. I will post before and after photos, I promise.) I want to do a little cleaning and a little organizing. I’ve got a book I’d like to finish. I really need to work on the next post in “Steps to Becoming a Homebrewer.” But, my main focus, is going to be spending, and enjoying, time with LB. (DB, remind me of this post when it’s Friday evening and I complain about how bad my back hurts from carrying her around and how ready I am to go back to work…)

All in all, it’s been a wonderful twelve weeks. We are so lucky that I was able to take an extra six weeks to stay home with LB; I can’t imagine having to go back to work at 6 weeks postpartum like many moms do. The amount she has changed between 6 weeks of age and today is astounding, and I would have been sad to have missed it. I know DB is going to miss his daily (and sometimes more frequent :)) updates on what we’re doing. I know the grandmas will miss the daily photo emails. I know I’ll miss sharing those things with all of them – it makes me happy that I can keep them in the loop. But that’s what being a parent means – you suck it up and do what you have to do to make sure your child is happy and healthy and provided for and safe. And unfortunately that means that next Tuesday I have to go back to work.

So maybe I should stop blogging about how much I want to stay home and spend time with LB and go do it! I think I will…

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