Well, HR forgot to give me notice that my maternity leave is up. As of Monday. So I’m full-time again. That’s caused some serious scrambling, but we’ll make it work. Thank goodness we think our nannies are great and they’re both ready to start! I on the other hand burst into tears.
Tess was born almost six months ago. A lot of NICU vets tell you to mourn the loss of ‘normal’, to accept that the parenting experience will just be a little different. I thought we had, to be honest. Dave and I are good at rolling with the punches. We support each other, tease each other and comfort each other until we’ve digested whatever rocky patch we’ve fallen into. Yet suddenly, when they announced the end of my time at home with Tess, I found myself mourning the loss of that early mommy time. I had fantasies about walking through parks, visiting museums and having lunch with girlfriends – all with Tess in my arms. I pictured seeing a few more milestones, of taking one last afternoon to relish being home with my family. I knew the time frame, but was off by a week. That’s unlike me, but my perfectionism has slipped slightly since our family grew by one!
This isn’t a major tragedy; it’s a first-world problem for sure. But losing a week of time with her with one matter-of-fact email was hard. It’s time to slide back into normal life, to pick up the threads of busy days and deadlines. Both of our companies offer flex time and remote work to an extent, so we’re lucky in that we both get to keep some time to work at home in Tess’ proximity. Still, it’ll be different.
I keep having these “aha” moments. The tears over going back? I get it. Yet another moment where I just couldn’t grasp the emotional context of other moms’ feelings because I wasn’t a mom. Our little girl is growing up, and her cocoon is growing by two more companions next week. She’ll be fine – probably better than fine. And so will we, but it is the end of an era for us. So don’t begrudge me my tears, and accept my homage of understanding to all the moms who’ve been here before me.
Going back to work after being on maternity leave was the hardest thing I’ve done so far in my life. As you said, it’s something I could not imagine until it happened. While I did try to hold back my tears and get lost in the hustle and bustle of the day, I realized it was ok to cry because even though I love my job, the time spent with Lilia was beyond the rewards of my job. It was nice to have photos and updates of her day from the babysitter and those little snipets got me through those tough few weeks. You and Dave are great supports for each other and will gracefully glide through yet another milestone as you embark on the great things waiting around the corner 🙂
I’m so glad you have flexibility with your job. That helps a lot. As a freelancer, I didn’t really have a maternity leave. I had a few weeks off and that it was back to the playing and teaching. But I had a flexible schedule and it was ok. With M I had a sitter come to the house while I was teaching so I could see her between lessons. When C came a long, we were moving and I didn’t go to school until he was 7 months old. That was hard on everyone at that point. You’ll figure it out and find a rhythm for you!