I am returning to work Monday, December 2nd. I have blinked and my mat leave is over. Where did it go? I have had Q as my almost constant sidekick for 10 months. C has had some other activities but Q has rarely not been with me. I feel a weird kind of withdrawal already, a feeling like my breathing is a bit off.
I have been trying to focus on the positives, like I’ll be able to finish a cup of tea while it is still hot. Or I will be able to eat lunch at one sitting and without ten million interruptions. Or, ooo, I could even go out for lunch. And, the biggy, I’ll be able to pee by myself again!
In the midst of this turmoil, I looked up some writing I did around the time I was returning to work after C and found the piece below. It is funny how much it is what I am feeling all over again.
Wait for the last line…it made me realise that the motivation for this blog and the work I am doing behind the scenes was in the making long before I had even consciously realised where I was heading.
Lists and Mommy Guilt
My friend called it mommy guilt. “It starts early and hits you hard in the gut. There is no escaping it. It gets you every time you leave the house.” I was still pregnant and thought to myself the classic “that won’t be me” response. I had just read a required article for my Master’s on qualitative versus quantitative time spent with one’s children and agreed with the premise. It’s the type of time and the type of conversational interactions you have with your children that matters, not what you are doing or necessarily spending large amounts of time together. Yet here I am a 7 month old baby later and about to return to the work force and those convictions are wavering. I can come up with an extensive “Why I Shouldn’t Go Back To Work” list. Here are the top 10:
- He’s too little.
- I’m the only one who can always soothe him or if even I can’t soothe him, he is comforted in his discomfort that I am there.
- He’ll miss me too much (really read here, I’ll miss him too much).
- I know his favourite songs.
- I want to be there when he starts to crawl.
- I want to be there when he takes his first steps.
- I can read his “I’m tired” cues.
- I know his “I’m hungry” cries.
- He’ll miss my hugs and cuddles (read here, I’ll miss his hugs and cuddles).
- I don’t want to (read while imagining a foot stomp).
But my mat leave is over and it is time to return to work. That’s the reality. Though it doesn’t mean I’ve stopped dreaming. I’ve started to play the lotto…weekly. If it didn’t cost money, it would be several times daily. I’ve also tried thinking of jobs I can do and stay home. Here are the top ten on that list:
- Daycare provider
- Website designer
- Pie maker
- Financial advisor
- Dog walker
- Data entry person
- Flower arranger
- Virtual assistant
- Mary Kay Consultant
None of these (or the others I came up with) are very viable though. Either they don’t pay comparable to my teaching wage or they are things I don’t have the skills to do.
Here’s the truth. I actually signed up for the last one. Yes, I am technically a Mary Kay Consultant. People who know me will have a good laugh at that one, not that there is anything wrong with it in general. It is just not a good fit for me. I can’t even put on eye shadow without making myself look like a raccoon, let alone advise others on makeup. For me, it was a move of desperation. I came to my senses last night but before this I was seriously thinking of how I could maybe make a go of it, pink Cadillac and all. I’ll learn, I thought. It’s true I would have, but it is not me. I need to find another path.
Friends who have gone through the transition say the first week is rough but after that they were glad to not be strictly mommy 24/7 but to also be their other selves too. It’s true I have caught myself rocking and bouncing even when I’m not holding the baby. I was singing “Bumping up and down in my little red wagon” when I was out..in public…without my child. There may be something in the idea of bringing back other parts of me too.