While I have dearly treasured my time home with Lucas, making the adjustment from a full-time working woman to a stay-at-home mom was not easy. I am highly energetic and independent, very goal oriented. All of a sudden my very structured work day became much more loosey-goosey, and there were no clear expectations; even caring for my son seemed to be a moving target, as his needs changed daily. My days were no longer measured in assignments, checklists and products, but instead by the completion of laundry, cooking and caring for my child. As one friend said so accurately, “It’s a thankless job.” Cooking and housework are tasks that must be done over and over again. You are not recognized for a “job well done.” Your family only notices if these things don’t get done. As much as I deeply love my son, it was also challenged by feeling constantly on demand—no time for myself. In those early weeks, when I was home alone with my son, there were days I barely had time to use the bathroom or eat lunch. I also longed for adult conversations (that’s how my Mama’s group saved me!). However, as hard as it was adjusting to staying at home, I was so not prepared for the mixed feelings that surfaced once my time to return to work drew near. After visiting a daycare facility several weeks before I returned to work, I cried all the way home. I had spent the last 10 weeks, day-in and day-out, with my son. What was it going to be like to be away from him for nearly 9 hours a day? Would he miss me? Would he cry? How would he handle it? How would I? The week leading up to my return to work, I was a mess. My anxiety snowballed. I was so nervous about the unknown. How would I get out the door? How could I possibly find time to pump milk during a hectic school day? Was I going to get any sleep? These fears churned inside my brain. Surprisingly, my return to work went much smoother than I had imagined. My husband adjusted his schedule to care for our son two days a week, and my sister-in-law (a super stay-home mother of three) came the first week to help us through this transition. I found that waking up a little earlier to get ready was not half as bad as I had anticipated, and my colleagues pitched in and offered to watch my class so I could pump at work. I won’t sugar-coat it and say it has been seamless. I really missed, and still miss, my son, and he is still getting used to the bottle instead of the boob. My days are long, and I feel super tired by the end of the day. However, I have adjusted to my new schedule and routine much quicker than I had anticipated. The truth is, it’s also nice to have a bit of a break. I can check my e-mail without getting up, actually eat a meal for more than five minutes, go to the bathroom without worrying. The best part is that I am so excited to see my son at the end of the day. I feel like I am refreshed as a mom and ready to jump in and spend quality time with him when I arrive home. One thing is for sure, there is no harder job than staying home with your kids. Not only is it the most important job you will ever have, it’s also the most exhausting. But I am comfortable with my decision to be a working mother. It’s what is right for me, and I think it actually makes me a better mom for my son. However, I will never regret those first three months we spent together, and I look forward to spending my summer months with him, and many hours of play with him to come.
04-03-14 Dear Baby Lucas, You are growing by leaps and bounds. I can’t believe that your 3-month outfits are getting too tight. You are just too long for them already! I wonder how tall you will be when you grow up? The most magical thing this month is your wonderful smile. When the corners of your mouth turn up and into that precious grin, my heart just melts. It brings me and your father so much joy to know that we can make you so happy. I am still amazed at how profound my love is for you. It just keeps growing and growing. I feel so fortunate to have spent these last two-and-a-half months with you, and I am sad to leave you in two weeks to return to work. I know you will miss me, and I will certainly miss you. Please know that if I could clone myself and be in two places at once, I would. No job is as important as being your mom, and I will do my best to give you the most quality time I can when we are together in the evenings and weekends. Continue to grow in peace, strength, and love. Always, Mom