In two weeks, I head back to work after 14 weeks of maternity leave. It's a very bittersweet feeling, and that is saying a lot. The first time I went back to work after having Jake, I was a complete wreck and I would have told you there was nothing I wanted to do less in the world. However, having done it and lived to tell the tale once, I can see the positive side of working. It's not that I mind the working part itself; I like my job, I like the adult contact during the day, I like having a reason to put on some make-up and a pair of heels, and I really like sitting down for lunch, chatting with colleagues and eating my meal with both hands ;-) It's the little things, after all. It also provides me with a 25 minute commute each way - that's a total of 50 minutes a day where I'm peacefully, blissfully alone - to listen to music, chat on the phone (hands free, of course) or just sit quietly and decompress. As an introvert through and through, those 50 minutes are really valuable to me and they power me through the crazy times!
But then, there's this...
...my hearts. My loves. They fill my days with snuggles and belly laughs and make-believe. Stories, and hugs and "I love you Mommy's." Made-up songs, and shared snacks, and sometimes tears and chaos. I welcome all of those things. But leaving them behind each day is hard. It's hard to ask my big guy "how was your day?" instead of being there to experience it. It's hard to kiss sweet cheeks and walk out the door. It's really hard when they're sick and I have to choose - do I call in for the 47th time this year or go to work and worry about them all day? Being a working mom is a challenge, no doubt about it.
But you know what I detest most of all? What I call The Grind. The daily routines that take up my precious minutes during the day - the ones that if I don't do them, will cause me to fail big time at working mommy-hood. That's what I'm dreading about going back to work. Meal planning and grocery shopping on the weekend when the stores are at their most crowded. Unpacking and repacking endless bags - mine and theirs. Making lunches at 9:00 at night. Ironing my outfit for the next day after that. It seems like my days are just a never-ending series of tasks to set us up for success for the one after that. Sleep, and repeat. I hate that these things take time away from being with my family. I hate that Monday - Friday feels like all work and no fun. I really hate that my husband doesn't get home from work until 7 pm, and our evenings feel like a dash to bed time. So for now, I'll soak up every (relatively) relaxed minute of these last two weeks. Read some extra stories. Savor every morning that the three of us sleep in past eight o'clock. Log some extra snuggles and play some extra games. Maybe those things will give me the stamina to get me to summer vacation!