Sunday, January 06, 2013

The day has come

My baby boy is three months old today. I would say, "where did the last three months go?" but I already know the answer to that since I spent them attached to my pump. But I'm sure they would have gone by quickly no matter what.

And now the day has come when I must return to work. I won't say that I've been dreading this day because it wasn't until recently that I even realized how very sad I would actually be to leave him. I've always said I could never be a stay-at-home mom because I enjoy working and the adult interaction.

I'm learning there are a lot of things "I've always said," before I became a mom which turn me into a hypocrite on a daily basis. My new mantra since becoming a mom is, "never say never." The truth is, your perspective on just about everything changes once you become a mom - at least that's the case for me.

I was never going to give my kid a pacifier. That is, until he was screaming in the middle of the night and I couldn't get him to stop. I didn't think twice before popping that pacifier into his mouth. Never say never.

I was never going to let my baby sleep in our room for longer than the first month - that is until I had this baby and was terrified of not being able to see his chest move in the middle of the night to make sure he was breathing. Never say never.

And now I know that I could definitely be a stay-at-home mom (although a part-time job working from home would be the best case scenario for me). Never say never.

Even though my passion for working isn't gone, my perspective of being a stay-at-home mom has definitely changed. I would miss working because I do enjoy it, but I enjoy being a mom so much more than I could ever enjoy working.

The hardest part for me is thinking about someone else spending more time with him than me. Someone else being with him for those important milestones - the first time he grabs something, the first time he rolls over, the first time he sits up, his first word, his first get the idea. I want so badly for that person to be me.

The rational part of me knows that the moment won't be any less special when it's the first time I am seeing it - regardless of whether or not he has already done it for someone else. The rational part of me also knows that millions of women return to work every single day, leaving their babies with babysitters or in daycares - sometimes leaving them with complete strangers.

The rational part of me knows how very lucky I am that I am leaving Graham with his Grandpa and my biggest fears are whether or not Graham is going to get too spoiled by being held all of the time versus worrying about whether he will ever get held at all.

The rational part of me knows how very lucky I am that I have had three months of maternity leave to spend with him. Many of my friends and family had to return back to work after only eight weeks. I am so lucky to have had this extra month and I did not take it for granted.

But as Graham's mom, my rational side is overshadowed by my heart and my overwhelming love for him and all I can think about is how much I love spending every second of the day with him. Well, maybe not EVERY single second, but I am really going to miss spending my days with him.

In an interest of "faking it until you make it," as Dale Carnegie would advise, I am trying to focus on the positive side of things and there are some things I'm looking forward to about returning to work.

I'm looking forward to all the adult interaction I will have. Although I spend plenty of time each day talking to Graham, it will be nice to interact with people who can actually answer me when I ask them questions or who can tell me what they are thinking or why they are crying (although I'm guessing the only one who will be crying when I return to work is me).

I'm also looking forward to getting back into a routine that requires me to shower, get dressed, brush my teeth, do my hair and makeup, and eat regular meals. I think this will be good for my mental and physical health. Don't get me wrong - I don't hate staying in my pajamas all day either, I'm simply trying to focus on anything I can turn into a positive about returning to work.

And not that being a mom isn't challenging - it definitely keeps me on my toes and requires me to use my problem solving and multitasking skills on a daily basis - but I am looking forward to being challenged again professionally with deadlines and goals.

I love the people I work with and I love interacting with the students. I don't love the commute but I'm going to be working different hours to try and avoid too much traffic.

So yes, there are lots of positives to returning to work - not to mention the importance of bringing in an income that we definitely need to keep this house up and running (and of course a few clothes in my closet :).  

Millions of moms do this every day. It’s normal to feel sad about it. He’s going to be very well taken care of. Interaction with his Grandpa and his cousin Harper is going to be a very positive thing for him.

I know all of these things but yet when I think about that moment when I leave Graham tomorrow morning for the first time, all I can do is cry.

Can you blame me for not wanting to leave this face?