A few weeks ago, I started back to work.
Although this was my third maternity leave, and actually a much longer leave than I had with Brae or Sienna, it was still excruciating to return.
I love my job, and I love the people I work with. But they cannot compete with the sweet boy’s face that I would snuggle with each morning.
I am grateful that I had the extended leave with Graem, especially after his sudden (and scary) entry into this world. I am grateful that I was able to be at home when Brae started kindergarten, and I could walk him to the school bus. I am grateful that I was able to keep Sienna home from preschool on certain days, and just have “girl dates” with her.
I am grateful that I got to watch summer turn to fall, and fall turn to winter, each from my home window. I am grateful that in a season of tremendous transition for our family, I was able to be at home for many months.
The first day back was chaos. I was prepared – or so I thought – for it. What I was not prepared for, however, was who would be the source of the chaos.
Brae. It was going to be his first day in morning extended care at his school. Up until then, he had been able to take the bus to kindergarten. Well, since his bus doesn’t come until 8:45, and I need to leave for work before then, the plan was for me to drop him off around 8.
He did not support that plan. The first day, he ran around the exterior of the school, as I’m lugging Graem, and trying to keep track of Sienna. Brae was crying hysterically, refusing to go in. Eventually, the teacher came out, and coaxed him in. My heart broke.
The drop off for Sienna and Graem went much more smoothly. Sienna took comfort in the fact she now got to watch over her little brother, and Graem, well let’s face it, the kid is just easy. I called his daycare a couple of times for the first few days, and then stopped. I kept getting the same report – he doesn’t cry, he’s a great sleeper, etc. That mended my heart a little.
Being back in the office itself has been a bit shocking. Kind of like jumping into an ice-cold pool. Eventually, you warm up, but it takes a while.
There were four of us coworkers who all had babies (boys!) at the same time, and so were all on maternity leave at the same time. One gal decided to not come back at all. Another gal, and a dear friend of mine, took a different job. Then there were two.
It is hard being a working mom. But, it’s also hard to be a stay-at-home mom, I’m sure. As a sweet friend told me, she considers me a “working stay-at-home mom.” I like that. My heart is definitely at home, and when I am home, my time is invested in my kids. I feel very involved, and I’m grateful that I have a profession, and a job, that allows me to do that.
And I just pray that my kids come to understand, and respect that decision.