Saturday, January 21, 2012

My return to work looms ominously close on the horizon, and for the past few weeks I have been a bit melancholy. It really started when I discovered that of all the six couples in my birth class, I am the ONLY mommy still working (well, truthfully, we lost touch with one of them, but I am pretty sure she's SAHMing now). Earlier this month, the last two workin' moms from birth class quit their jobs (I'm looking at you, Erica!) to do the stay-at-home-mom thing, and for some reason this really hit me hard.

I remember exactly how difficult it was to go back to work and leave Carter. I remember standing over his little sleeping body, weeping, desperately wishing I could quit my job and stay home. I remember feeling so tremendously guilty for depriving him of a full-time mom. And then, when I did go back to work, feeling more guilty for (somewhat) enjoying it.

Leaving your baby in the care of someone else, no matter how loving, how capable, is gut-wrenching. You are handing over your heart to an $8 per hour daycare employee and trusting that - that what? That they will love them like you do? That they will coo at them, talk to them, give them kisses, play games with them, read books to them, make them know how special they are? That they will love them more than the other ten kids in the room? Or just that they will somehow, in some way, try to minimize the trauma your little one faces?

I read today that at 4-5 months, babies experience little separation anxiety because they're too busy being amazed at all the great stuff there is to look at around them. I really want to believe that's true. All I know is that when Carter started daycare at four months, he screamed for two days straight, refused bottles, wouldn't sleep, and generally freaked the F out. SIGH. But Griffin is a very different baby with a very different temperament. Where Carter was high-strung, the Finnster is mellow, which I hope will serve him well on February 1st when I slap some makeup on (for the first time in a loooooong while), throw on something presentable, and totter off to the office.

It's such a strange thing to return to work after having your child. Everyone treats you basically the same, but you're not the same. The you before children is an entirely different person than the you with children. I have little fantasies of leaping on top of a cubicle, yelling "I'm not just PAIGE - I'm someone's MOTHER, you a-holes! Which is more important than ANY FUCKING SPREADSHEET and all your DAMN BUDGETS PUT TOGETHER." Because by damn, I will tell you this - there will be no more 3:30 meetings that are pushed til 4, that are then pushed til 5:30, that I am then guilted for being unable to attend because I need to leave at 5:45 to pick up my children. Well, there WILL be those meetings - quite frequently no doubt - but I WILL NOT let them break me down about it. And if I get yet another "I know you're a mother now, so you have new priorities, BUT you have to understand that many of us here work until 8 or 9 at night, and maybe we're just more ambitious than you are..." (YES, I DID GET THAT SPEECH. NO LIE.) talk, I will damn well stand up for myself and let them know that I am quite capable of doing my job, and doing it exceptionally well, between the hours of 9am and 5:45pm, thank you very much, and I don't need to sit in my office until 9pm to prove my worth like the others who are so DAMN SCARED of you. And if that gets me fired, so be it.

Ahem. That felt good. Thanks.
I was really down for a week or so, but the clouds are parting lately. I'm feeling brighter, and I'm not going to waste one moment of the remaining days with my baby feeling cranky.

In other news, Griffin has FINALLY taken the bottle. And after spending approximately $40 trying various bottle/nipple combos (including all the "best for breastfed babies" fancypants ones), what did he like? The same $5 for 3 classic glass Evenflo bottles that his brother used, the same bottle that Betty Draper probably gave her kids in the early 60's (okay, I guess Betty never got off her bitter, depressed ass to give those kids bottles, but the housekeeper sure did), with a Dr. Brown's nipple - same as Carter. Go figure.

Also, I have been a cooking FIEND since last I wrote:
Turkey Meatloaf
BBQ Chicken
Turkey Tacos
Chicken Mole Tacos
Curry Tofu (recipe TBD)
Chicken Stir-Fry
Veggie Lasagna
Pesto Pasta
Sesame Noodles
Turkey Chili

Plus other stuff that I am too lazy to write down. Perhaps most shocking is that I am really ENJOYING making dinner. Who knew making something that didn't involve chocolate could still be so satisfying?


Jessica said...

I dreaded going back to work after my second child more than I did with the first one (beacause I was REALLY enjoying being at home with 2 kids), but once I went it was much easier than the first time. I didn't have to work so hard to figure everything out - pumping, daycare bag, drop-off/pick-up... I'd done it all before which made it easy to slip into the routine and not think about it so much. Hope it's the same for you!

Natalie J said...

I read an article not too long ago that stated mothers that work (even if only part time) tend to be happier in the long run. I don't mention that to discount being a SAHM at all but offer it up as some encouragement for your return to work.

Glad you're enjoying cooking - it's pretty awesome. Having successfully baked my carrot cake today, I'm seeing your side of the world (i.e. delicious desserts) and also enjoying it. Look at us being amazingly well rounded women!

Anyway love, I miss you. Sorry I never got a chance to get together with you in the last month - much craziness ensued (including some issues with Brian's grandfather falling sick) but once you're settled, let's get lunch or something. I have another coupon to the Chinese place we went to before if you want... :)

Erica said...

You go with the cooking! I'm going to have to check those links out. I HATE those people that stay at work all crazy late just to look busy. F 'em. You run circles around them. And you'll see how you feel being back at work. Take it a day at a time. You'll know what the right thing for you is.