Tuesday, January 3, 2012

The Working Mother's Lament

Back to work in four weeks. SIGH.

I go back and forth on this. On one hand, I am looking forward to regular adult interaction, and to seeing my friends in the office. I am even somewhat looking forward to the challenges of working motherhood (HUH? What? Why?!? I am sure I will be regretting that statement all too soon). On the other hand, I will be LEAVING MY BABY.

Said baby, incidentally, LOATHES the bottle. Hates it with every ounce of his little body. Despite my repeated attempts to convince him that it is the SAME stuff that comes out of Mommy, he isn't having it. And oh yes, I've tried, for over two months. Different bottles, different nipples, different times of day. Jiggling him, talking to him, walking with him, all while offering the bottle. Other people have tried - Max, my mom, Max's mom, Max's sister, my aunt, etc. etc., all to no avail. No one can convince that little sucker to drink more than an ounce from the damn thing, and that's on a good day. I did everything you're supposed to do - introduced it right at three weeks, with a wide-nipple, had Max feed him, the whole works. He had no problems with it and would happily chug-a-lug until early November, when Carter got croup and Griffin got his first cold. And there it went - no bottle, no way, no how. Carter never met a bottle he didn't like, and when he went to daycare, he still rejected his bottles for days in protest. This AIN'T GONNA BE PRETTY, FOLKS.

I also feel guilty, because I've told HR that I will return on February 1st, but technically I could stay out until later in the month - the 25th, I think. A wise friend of mine said "it's okay if you're ready to go back." But am I really feeling almost ready, or am I just feeling guilty for taking such a long leave, even though I am fully entitled to EVERY LAST DAMN DAY, especially considering how I worked like a dog all year?

One of my good friends at work keeps telling me that no one thinks that I am coming back. Apparently two kids translates to certain stay-at-home-mommyhood in their minds, to which I say um, COST OF LIVING, people! We're in LA, as in Los Angeles, not Louisiana. Sigh. We could live on one salary, but we wouldn't be able to save for a house, fund the boys' 529 accounts, have awesome, cheap health insurance - all that good stuff. Plus, my pragmatic side knows that I am happier working - I always remind myself that when the boys are in grade school I'll be glad I held onto my career so I don't flounder about with empty nest syndrome when Griffin (or potential Baby #3) trots off to Kindergarten. I do wish I could go part-time, but that's not an option at my company, even though I work for a MASSIVE corporate conglomerate and you'd really think it would be. So off to work I go.

Also influencing my decision about when to return to the office is the fact that I have a new boss. On one hand, this is good, as theoretically I won't be doing the work of two people like, oh, ALL of 2011. But I haven't even met her yet. By the time February rolls around, she'll have been there three months. If I delay further, will it reflect poorly on me and influence the opinion of someone I haven't even met yet? They all think I'm going to quit anyway - was all of my ass-kicking from last year lost on them? Do they really think that my career is so disposable to me? Should it be?

....so yeah, I have some stuff on my mind these days. For the past month, the four of us have been trading various colds amongst ourselves, including a humdinger that Max has now passed on to me that leaves me coughing all night. Oh, and I have eye infections in both eyes. I am pretty sure I sleepwalk straight into dumpsters.

It's hard to believe that one year ago today I still didn't even know I was pregnant. Oh 2011, you were one hell of a ride. I worked harder than I ever have in my life, both at work and at home, delivered a perfect little person, and made us a family of four. Holy bejesus.

What will 2012 have in store?


Erica said...

The peanut gallery chiming in. Renting isn't so bad!

Paige said...

The health insurance! I forgot about the damn health insurance. That's possibly the #1 most important thing about me working - good, cheap health insurance for our family of four. SIIIIIGH.

Sara said...

I just...don't get me started on working with two kids. Especially when I make crap money and barely cover childcare for them both. Grrrr.

I need a new job or I need to stay home. Again. I wish it was just EASY, you know?

So I get it, I GET IT.

Jessica said...

The health insurance is the big thing for my family, too. We could easily live without my salary, but my employer provides awesome insurance. I had my second 6 months ago and have been back at work for 3 months. It sucks. But it's gotten easier.

Also, my baby flat out refused bottles, too, until I went to work. Then he magically just...took them. No transition period or anything.

Paige said...

Thanks, Jessica - I really hope little G learns to love the bottle, too! That gives me hope!