Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Time to go back to work and I really don't want to go...

Oh dear God.  This is my last week of maternity leave.  I would love to be cliche and say it's gone by so fast, and where has the time gone, it seems like just yesterday that I was at work but it would be a complete lie.  It feels like a lifetime ago.  A faded memory, of something I used to do or maybe just had a dream of and am remembering it with that weird deja vu feeling.  I wish I could be one of those women that look forward to getting back to work.  Who look forward to talking to other adults throughout the day.  Who look forward to wearing nice clothes, that don't have a lick of spandex in them (okay, well... maybe a little).  Who look forward to having time to yourself to focus on your career, the one you went to school for all those years.  The one you sweated, and cursed, and battled your way through seven long years of university for and then went to war as you prepared for job interview after job interview, celebrating the day you found your full-time with benefits life long career dream job.  The one you swore you'd miss, and loved, and knew you'd want to come back to.  Except I have none of that motivation, or anything positive to bring to the table to stop my self from simultaneously throwing up and bursting out in a full out ugly cry each time I think of how this is my last and final week off with my little boy.  

So incase you couldn't figure it out yet, I have ZERO interest in going back to work.  Nilch.  Zippo.  Nada.  Niente.  I mean, don't get me wrong, it would be nice to actually make money again, and feel like I financially contribute to our household.  And the idea of using the knowledge that I acquired from attending seven years of university sounds great in theory, yet at the moment I am quite comfortable with the mathematical portion of my brain atrophying beyond recognition.  Currently, I barely can mentally calculate a 20% tip for our meal when we go to a restaurant, but then again -- when the hell do we eat out anymore, so who cares, right?

I have become that woman that I scoffed at, and pitied.  Because why on earth would anyone would anyone give up all of their education and stay home with some little kid teaching them to color with crayons and singing idiotic kid songs about three people being in bed, and a little one telling the others to roll over?  Days spent changing diapers and hanging out with other Moms and their little rug rats.  Groceries, and cleaning, making dinner, going for a walk around the block with an impromptu stop at the swings to giggle as your snotty faced little munckin smiles the smile of all smiles with the wind blowing in his hair.  Playing hide and go seek in the house, running around the kitchen table, kicking balls, and pretending to fly like superman.  Having weekly playdates with my best friend and her son who is merely days older than my boy, and watching them grow together and become best friends too.  Feeding eat other waffles and blueberries, splashing in the water, rolling down a hill just because.  Spending all day with a little person who only speaks in one syllable sounds, who requires you to do everything for them, and all you get is a sloppy kiss, or a spontaneous full out genuine hug in return.  Yah, uh, who the hell would want to do that? Who on earth would find that more fulfilling than a career, where you use your actual brain power.  Um...    well...     me.

I never thought I'd ever want to stay at home, ever.  I went to school, I was an academic and very driven.  I'm was a go getter, perfectionist, achiever.  I didn't know any other way to be.  I worked my ass off for my career, and I loved it.  I was good at it, and I enjoyed it.  I couldn't imagine not wanting to come back.  I was lucky and ended up having fifteen months off with my son.  Fifteen months.  Now, how on earth could I not be ready to go back to work after that long hanging out with a baby.  Well... here I am, days away from d-day and the unthinkable has happened.  I am a full fledged, authentic Mom without the slightest inclination of wanting my old life back.

It's not really fair how this whole 'Mom' thing works.  Pregnancy is exciting (with the exception of the extreme fatigue from having to grow a placenta and the food aversion that turned me into a red-meat eating carnivore that avoided anything in the form of a vegatable for an entire nine months) and it was fun to get all round and cute.  Even in the last month when your resemblance to a mantee is unnerving -- it's still a wonderful time where people dote on you, and you're encouraged to sit and have another milkshake while watching another rerun of Modern Family.  You fear labour and of course the delivery, but you don't really put much thought into the horrible transition of becoming a Mom.

Thats right, I said horrible.  And I do mean it in every sense of the word.  I don't care who you are and whether you give your babe the boob or the bottle, those first 4 months (...ok... maybe even 6..) are some dark times.  You're over weight, sleep deprived, and completely clueless while you leak from every possible orface in your body.  Showering is a luxury that is not enjoyed daily, and pajamas are worn for days on end.  Thrusted into this murky world where you know nothing about anything, except for the fact the the old life you used to live is long gone and what you have left of your sanity is being slowly eroded away with each bounce you take on a yoga ball at 4:23am watching your PVR'd episodes of America's Got Talent, while holding this precious ball of colic who refuses to sleep and just shit up the back of his sleeper, again.   

You long for adult contact, and you'll talk to just about anyone so that you feel connected to the world again.  Cashiers, your doctor, random people who walk by you and accidentally make eye contact with you at the mall... you name it, you talk just a little too long with everyone, in fear of this being the last adult you'll get to talk to for the next six hours before your husband gets home.  You find yourself wishing for five, just five minutes to be by yourself to have a hot (that's right, the actual temperature it is supposed to be consumed at...) coffee with your old friends while gossiping about The Bachelorette or that idiot who wore white socks and black shoes to work, again.  Five minutes, just to pee without the sound of a screaming child.  Five minutes to shower, and possibly shave the amazon jungle that has grown under your arms and sadly other places.  Five whole minutes, just to sit quietly alone without anyone touching you, grabbing you, sucking on you.  Five whole minutes, just to have some sweet uninteruppted sleep.

Then somehow, without really realizing it, slowly out of nowhere you make some headway.  The naps are a bit longer, the feedings are further and further apart and the night time feedings start to dwindle.  It takes less and less time to get your diaper bag together and out the door, it used to seem impossible to leave your house before 11am but before you know it, it's 8:00 am and you've got a kid in one arm and a diaper and sippy cup in the other and a banana in your mouth (yah, thats right... no wipes because lets get real... if he shits, we're coming home). 

Before you know it, you are getting more sleep.  Before you know it, you're actually having a good time.

I don't remember it happening, but one day it just seemed easy.  One day, it was just completely enjoyable.  What used to seem mundane, was just another day filled with fun with me and my boy.  What used to be a chore, turned into beautiful moments with my little side kick.  What used to be sad and isolating has become my life, my purpose, and I effing love the hell out of it.  

Being at home with my little boy is the greatest thing I have ever experienced.  It's something you can't even explain, because when you do -- it just sounds boring, like you're on the outside of and inside joke.  Because truthfully, really, you are. My son and I have such an incredible bond, that has made becoming a Mother is the single most life changing event that has ever happened to me.  As clique as it sounds my little boy is the light of my life, my laughter, and my absolute favorite person ever (... I did make him, after all).  He's taught me to slow down, have more patience, and to just enjoy all the little moments in life.  Before him, life was so rushed.  I always had somewhere to go and some place to be...and in hindsight I have no idea what the hurry was.

So the injustice of it all is after struggling to give up my old life to embrace my new role as a Mother, I turn it around and finally have this whole Mommy thing figured out and I'm aboslutely loving my life -- I have to go back to work. But here's the kicker, I have to take on the exact same responsbility as I did before with my job, and somehow have to balance it with my new responsibility to be an awesome Mom.

Another horrible transition.  The thought of leaving my child with another woman, so I can go to work just makes me ill.  Don't get me wrong, my daycare provider is absolutely wonderful.  She is exactly what I wanted for my son, I just love her.  I am just completely jealous that she gets to spend all day with my son, enjoying all the laughter and funny jokes, the sweet songs and the spontaneous cuddles.  I'm paying her to do something that I really want to do, that I really love to do... all so I can go to work and make some money and go back to my career.  Ugh, talk about backwards priorities.  

I feel like I'm stuck between a rock and a hard spot.  I worked so hard to get to where I am in my career today, that it would be foolish and irresponsible to give it up.  Yet, I have a completely different perspective on life now as a mother.  Things that used to matter, don't.  And I'm not sure how to change that, or even if I want to.  

And, I'm so tired of people looking at me like I just flashed them my nipple when I answer their questions about going back to work with complete honesty that I'm not excited and I really don't want to go.  Now don't get me wrong, just because I don't want to go doesn't mean I won't do a good job and throw myself into my work, because I respect my career and the responsibility I have with it.  It's just that if I had to choose which one was more important, my son would win hands down.  And, I understand that some women want to go back and look forward to it, and I don't judge them in the least for it. I just wish people would stop judging me like I've lost my mind because I haven't, I'm not any less intelligent, I just really love staying home with my son.
Honestly, I'm hoping that I find some enjoyment in the career that I once loved, but I fear that my perspective is forever changed.  I worry it will become a daily grind, a chore that I must complete, that the quicker I get finished the quicker I get to be with my real love in life, my family.

Staying home for me is not an option and it isn't about the money, it's about the lessons I choose to teach my son.  I want to instill in him my love for education.  I want to be a positive female role model who is intellectual and is successful in her vocation.  I want him to value a strong work ethic and to have a drive for success because both his parents chose a career that they are passionate about.  I want him to be inspired that both his father and I made a difference in peoples lives with our careers and for that to fuel his desire to find his own path so that he can feel fullfilled in this lifetime.

I know that keeping him home will only hinder him, because he is such a social child and will thrive around other children to be able to grow and develop much better than him being stuck at home with me.  And that's not to say that if you stay home with your child that you're not doing what's best for them at all...I am not a mother judger in the least... This is just what I need to keep telling myself so I don't melt into a puddle of tears as I imagine driving away from his daycare, without him, picturing him banging on the window in full hysteria wondering why his Mama just abandoned him.  

Sadly, I know that I no longer have a baby, I have a toddler.  A little boy who runs with reckless abandon, who picks up worms and eats them, that loves to make a mess anytime he can, who thinks trucks with big wheels are the coolest thing ever, who dances anytime he see's his buddy Thomas the train, who sings the sweetest songs about his Mama, who laughs the hardest when his Daddy is being silly, and who is growing up quicker than I want to admit.

Change is all around me.  Each day he's changing and now it's time for a new phase in my life.  One where my little boy goes off to daycare and spreads his little wings and where I go back to a career that I used to love and learn to find myself all over again.  It won't be easy, I feel like I will miss so much of my sons life -- but I suppose that will make the time we spend together all the more sweeter.  

If I could go back in time, I wish I could do it all over again with the knowledge I have now.  I would stress less, and know that everything is just a phase and that nothing lasts forever.  Babies change as quick as the weather, it just seems like an enternity when you're up for the sixth time during the night for twelve days straight.  

I would have a messier house, with bigger piles of laundry to do.  

I would gladly enjoy eggs and toast every night for dinner, instead of stressing about making a hearty home cooked Martha Stewart meal like I used to be able to do when not breastfeeding my child around the clock.  

I would take the help when it was offered.  

I would let someone watch him for 15 minutes or leave him in his crib so that I could shower, even if he cried the whole time.  

I wouldn't give a shit about how slowly the weight was coming off, because soon enough when he's running -- those last gushy pounds will disappear, and lets be honest, you'll never ever be really happy with your body anyways.  You're a woman, that's just a fact.  

I would buy a tankini and not wait to go swimming because I was self conscious.  Newsflash, everyone (well, mostly everyone) hates their body after child birth and honestly they're too busy looking at themselves in the mirror to be judging you at all.  

I would put that baby in my carrier and go for a walk at 11pm at night if I needed to get some fresh air instead of letting myself get stir crazy.  

I would put on a hat, forget about the makeup, and go to the mall if I needed to get out of the house.  

I wouldn't care if he cried in public and I wouldn't give two thoughts about popping a boob if I needed to.  

I would go to those "Mom Groups" sooner instead of judging them as being lame, so that I can meet the women that will become my good friends, help save my sanity, and provide me with a wonderful safe place where I will learn how to be a Mom without being judged.

I would stop for a minute, and stop rushing, and memorize that sweet sleeping face of his.  

I would let him stay asleep on me, while a small little stream of milk leaked out of his sleepy open mouth, and watch the entire sixth season of Sex and the City from start to finish because there was a marathon on instead of worrying about trying to put him down without waking him up so I can vacuum.  Never again will he cuddle me like a squishy little newborn.. (but then again, never again will I have to wake up every 90 minutes to feed him and cry from my painfully burning nipples).

I would trust myself.  Love myself.  Embrace my new self.  

I would try to realize that these are the moments I'll always look back at with love and nostalgia.  

These are the moments that forever changed me, made me more patient and less vain.  

These are the moments that made me a better person.  

These are the moments that I fell in love with my sweet boy.

These are the moments that made me into a Mom.

These are the moments that I will fiercely miss.    

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