Thursday, August 4, 2016

Maternity leave - it always has to end


It's the end of an era. Not the two under two hashtag era. Don't worry, I have 6 or 7 weeks more to use that. But tomorrow will be the last day of my maternity leave. To go along with that, Royce turns 3 months old on Saturday. 3 months has just seemed like a big shift for me both times - when they change from a newborn to a baby. They're officially out of the fourth trimester, for all you Dr. Karp fans (and if you're a parent and don't know who that is, HOW did you survive?).

Royce is no longer a brand new teeny tiny nugget.

Snoozing away on his first day outside the womb

He holds his head up, breaks into a huge grin when he sees me (tooting my own horn, don't care), and even rolled over from tummy to back yesterday!

He is just perfection.

So, tomorrow is my last day at home with my newborn. I hope to do a lot of this.

Because there is actually nothing better than this in the entire world. 

I read a quote on Facebook that said something like "you're expected to work like you don't have kids, and parent like you don't have a job", and that just said it all to me. I've enjoyed my maternity leave for so many reasons (um, no alarm clock?!) but one of the biggest was that I was able to focus on only parenting. I just love waking up in the morning and taking time to make funny faces at Royce and see his reactions, to sit and read a book with both boys in my lap, to cook eggs with Dalton (one of his favorite activities) - basically, the ability to spend time with my children with no other demands. 

One of the difficulties in being a working mom for me is that my mind is always racing to the next step. Instead of those lazy mornings having fun together, it's always a rush to get out the door and I'm always mentally running through my to do list for when I arrive at work. As soon as that last bell rings, I'm trying to figure out how fast I can get to daycare to see Dalton's little face light up (and of course, now Royce too), figuring out what to do for dinner, wondering if I can fit in errands, if we have time to do something fun or if it's just the usual dinner/bath/bed. During bath time, I'm thinking about how as soon as they're in bed it's time to wash up from dinner, pack the bottles, send those work emails, etc, etc. Then once they are in bed, I miss them and want to cry because our time together during the work week is so limited. Clearly it's something I need to work on, but I bet it's a struggle for many parents. 

Maybe if I could just bring them to work with me?
There's a positive section of this blog post though. First of all, while I'm really sad to be leaving my kids, particularly Royce since he's so little and it will be my first time leaving him, my emotional state is so much better than it was last time I had to do this. With Dalton, I was an absolute wreck. Just thinking about leaving him brought tears to my eyes. If I actually had to talk about it (which, um, I did, all the time), I cried. Not dabbing at my eye with a tissue crying, the runny nose, heaving, hysterical crying. I probably did that type of crying more days than not. There would be times I would refuse to look at my phone after someone sent me a text or email that referenced returning to work because it upset me too much. I couldn't sleep at night because I was so anxious that something terrible would happen to him at daycare. It. Was. Bad. 

I'm happy to say that I've dealt with all that, and this time around, it's nothing like that. I'm sad to leave them, sad at how much I know I'll miss them, and nervous about how I'm going to manage a full time job and two kids. But that's it, and those seem like normal emotions for the situation to me. I have absolutely no anxiety about daycare, since obviously this time I'm leaving my baby with someone I know and trust, unlike with Dalton when she was still pretty much a stranger to me. 

No one could ever want to leave these faces, right?


He wanted to wear my headband because he sees me doing it. 

I've been incredibly lucky, and due to the timing of Royce's birth and the school year start, I'll have had a total of 13.5 weeks at home with him. Far from enough, but more than most. 

The other good news about returning to work is that I'm starting a new position! I've taught elementary school in the same school since I graduated from college - a total of eleven years. Starting this month, I'll be moving up to middle school! It's a new building and a completely new environment. I'll be teaching sixth grade language arts. I've gotten some mixed reactions when I've told people I'm teaching middle school, but I'm truly thrilled about it. (for real, not just being politically correct because I'm posting on the internet). My favorite grade to teach in elementary has been fifth, mostly because you can form such closer relationships with the students when they're older. I've heard middle school is even better in that respect.  After 11 years, it was time for a change of pace and I'm really excited for a new challenge.  On Monday, I'll be helping with a 7 day orientation for the sixth graders. It's only 8-2, and the boys will be home with Eric, so it's a perfect way for me to ease back in. As soon as that's over, it's time for teachers to report for duty for the new school year. 

Of course, nothing can ever beat this. 

Snuggly baby and cold brew coffee. 

Splash park!
But love don't pay the bills, and work wise, I couldn't be happier with my situation. Of course, it means I'll be busting the pump back out. Here we go again with that nonsense.

What's the hardest part for you with work/life balance?

Even though I'm teaching language arts you can't judge me for grammar in this blog post because we just returned from a 6 day trip to visit my family, and while seeing them was wonderful, traveling with kids is the worst idea ever and I'm so sleep deprived and mentally deficient.

8 comments:

  1. HOLY SHIT WHEN DID ROYCE GET SO BIG?! He looks like a little boy!

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  2. I cried reading about the anxiety of sending Dalton to day care. I'm already sick over it.

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  3. I'm pretty sure the only reason I wasn't a mess was because I was able to bring my baby to work with me. By the time Milo "aged out" of our office program I was ready for a little time away from him. We were together 24/7 and it was A LOT to handle on top of trying to get everything done with him crying in my office.
    Upside is that when it was daycare time I stepped down to a part-time position and now I am home with him part-time and work part-time and I feel like it's a perfect balance for me. Good luck with your new job!!

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  4. My first day back was a nightmare. I spent the entire 12 hour shift looking at pictures from daycare and crying. I actually stood on the perimeter of a crime scene and bawled hysterically at one point. I also spent a solid 3 1/2 hours pumping. Not fun.

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  5. Sixth grade! Good luck. Sixth graders are just so silly it's hard not to start laughing with them sometimes. I'm pretty sure I'm headed back to first, but our principal sent a lovely surprise goodbye message to all of us over July 4th weekend. No telling what ideas the new boss might have planned.
    Anyway, just have fun. The boys'll be fine.

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  6. It makes me sad that you have to go back to work so soon!! I am completely worried about the two kid working mom situation... and I'm not even pregnant yet. I will say that my saving grace has been prepping everything on Sunday evenings--even planning my outfits for the week. Makes the morning rush much less crazy. Today, I even woke up early to work out! and the baby didn't wake up until 6:30. It was a blessing.

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  7. I rarely comment on blogs but your post resonates with me so much, I'm about to start work after being home with my baby for 8 months. I know how lucky I am to have gotten 8 months but I can't even talk about working without feeling like I might throw up. I'm glad to see you are able to cope better this go round, I'm hoping I'll get there too.

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Thanks for commenting! Comments make me probably more happy than they should.