Friday, January 24, 2014

Day care days - part 2

(If you want to read part one, go here. )

So, I'm going back to work in 5 weeks.

(I'm just going to let that hang for a second).

Yes, a year of maternity goes by very fast. I can't even begin to imagine 12 weeks of maternity leave. I feel like a cliché, but all that I've heard about how fast it goes is true. I blinked and here we are. But of course, it's paradoxical. There were moments, days, weeks that went at a snail's pace. Like when she had the flu and then had a cold and we couldn't go out for 2 weeks. That was slow. Or when Mr. A was working such long hours in the summer and I had to solo parent for big chunks of time.

I've been in touch with my boss and it appears that I've lucked out in the re-structuring of our department. This isn't true for every psychologist, but it is for me and I am grateful. I am returning to meaningful, challenging work. I am looking forward to returning to work. I've missed it and it feels time to go back already. I am so much better at being a psychologist than at keeping house. I actually suck at it. My house looks like hell and I am only a mediocre cook. I think I am a decent caregiver to my darling girl, but I've sucked at being a wife pretty much from the get go, and having a baby only worsened it. I feel like this sounds awful, but I am looking forward to doing something I'm good at again. My self-esteem is at basement levels these days, and it could use the boost.

This is a two sided coin, of course. I am NOT looking forward to the transition. I know that it will be the hardest part: going from taking care of Gummy one day to driving to work and returning when she's going to bed the other. I will miss her beyond what I can anticipate. I will cry when she takes her first step and I'm not there to see it. It will tug at my heart in 10 000 ways. But just like every difficult thing I've had to do in my life, I will just keep in mind the WHY*.

I like the transition plan we've got. In March, Gummy will be home with Mr. A on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. I asked for every Friday off in March so that I could be with her on weekday per week. In April, she will go to day care 3 days per week, and be with Mr. A on 2 days. I like that I can go back to work for a month without worrying about her adjusting to day care. And I like that she will be home with her dad for at least the next 9 to 12 months. She is a BIG fan of her dad's. (I am too, as it were).

I still don't really like the day care where she'll be going, but I know that it is 'good enough'. I've also just heard this week that the French day care will be accepting younger kids as of September, which means Gummy can go sooner than 2.5 years.

But before this big transition, I plan on enjoying those last 5 weeks. We are still signed up for music classes and swimming, and loving it! And we have one last family vacation before I go back to work. I'm really looking forward to our winter trip up north, which will involve snowshoeing, skiing and teaching Gummy how to make snow angels.


*I started writing what the WHYs were, and realized it had the potential to piss off a bunch of readers and I'm not in the mood to piss people off today, so maybe I'll write about the WHYs another day. 


19 comments:

  1. I think in some ways it would be harder to go back to work after a year-long maternity leave than after a leave of shorter duration. For an example from my own experience, I returned to work full-time when my sons were 10 weeks old, of necessity, and that was barely sufficient time to fully recover from my pregnancy- and delivery-related complications. . . not long enough to get into a true routine of being a SAHM to them. Challenging in its own way but different.

    Enjoy your last days of leave, and I can understand your feeling of looking forward to doing something you're good at again. I'm not a good housekeeper or cook either. :-)

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    1. I see your point, S. In 10 weeks, you haven't fully settled into an at-home routine. but oh boy! I was also not fully recovered from my pregnancy and birth complications, so I really feel for you.

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  2. I can't imagine leaving baby to go back to work, but it must be done I suppose. xoxo ...

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  3. I love reading other people's experiences with maternity leave, day care, etc. You say "I can't even begin to imagine 12 weeks of maternity leave", whereas I can't even begin to image 1 year of maternity leave. By the time my 12 weeks were up (13 actually, I took one week of paid vacation so that Gwen was 3 months before she went to daycare), I was so frickin' thankful to be able to get out of the house, to think about adult things, to get back to the job that I loved, and to be able to rest. Until she was nearly a year, Gwen went to daycare only part-time (M-R, 13-18), which meant we still had long mornings together and long weekends. Her afternoon naps were generally better at daycare than at home, meaning she'd be less cranky and more enjoyable in the evenings when I would pick her up, and as she grew older it became clear just how much she loved being there -- the other kids, the different toys, the space. We moved to a city new when she was 2.5 weeks old, and we were there for just over a year. If I hadn't had a job, we wouldn't have met anyone -- as it is, we still hardly met anyone. If I had spent her first year on maternity leave, that would have been so isolating, for both of us. I don't think she would've grown up to be such an outgoing, confident child.

    I know many other mothers like who loved having their year at home, but here's a story from the other side. :)

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  4. You just have to coach her to take her first steps on a weekend when you're home to see it. I'm sure that won't be a problem. :)

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  5. Well, I want to read the WHYs please.

    Glad you have a workable arrangement, if not the daycare of your dreams.

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  6. As a full-time housewife, I would like to say that "Working is what I choose to do and I think it's the best available choice for me and my family" is a sufficient reason for WHY. Just the same as "working is *not* what I choose to do (right now) and I think it's the best available choice for me and my family" is a sufficient reason to stay home.

    Clearly you merely need either a million dollars and housekeeper, or a 1950s style-wife. If it makes you feel any better, so do I; I don't vacuum, fold clothing, or wash dishes more than once a month (each).

    They say the days are long and the years are short but so far our days, weeks, months and years have all felt pretty long! But also, yes, short, as you say.

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  7. I'm curious about your WHYs, too. And I love your transition plan, it sounds so gentle, especially for Gummy - for you, that first stretch of Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday might still be rough. I hope she keeps the milestones for her parents to see :)

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  8. Ready for the why's any time.

    Also, Augusta, you are an excellent good. I always love eating at your home. Your home that feels orderly and cozy, by the way. So while yes, it will feel amazing to do something you excel at -- being a psychologist -- no more saying you're not a good housekeeper, cook, or wife. I for one disagree.

    Love, Oat

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  9. While you *are* an excellent good, what I meant to say was excellent *cook*

    And friend. And human.

    Love you, Oat

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  10. So glad to hear that Gummy can stay home for the month of March. What a great transition plan! Excited for you.

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  11. Sounds like you've been able to make some wonderful arrangements to ease the transition. That's great. I'm sure there are benefits to both being home and working. I can definitely appreciate the desire to do the tried and true path of what you know so well, although I'm sure that you make one hell of a mom and wife too :) Good luck and enjoy the weeks you have left.

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  12. As for milestones...just tell your care provider to not mention if she takes a wobbly step or two or whatever else. It doesn't hurt anything to let you see the "firsts" yourself ;)

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    1. I like that idea, Michelle! I will use it :)

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  13. No child has ever taken a first step or said a first word in non-parental childcare--it just doesn't happen. I've read all the evidence and it has been completely proven.

    I'm so happy you get to describe yourself as returning to challenging and meaningful work. If I recall correctly, one of the correlates of kids doing well in daycare is when the parent (well, mother, it's alwayst the mother) likes her job. It does sound like a REALLY nice transition, for everyone. And that's huge. I hope it will make the hard parts easier. I know I was surprised at how quickly I settled in. And I wasn't even looking forward to going back.

    Meanwhile. MUSIC TOGETHER STICKS. I like the one about the tailor and the mouse.

    I agree that you are an excellent good. And I'm wondering what the hell a good wife looks like. God knows I do my best, but I am sometimes think the only way you get to be an excellent wife is if you're willing to put your spouse's needs before your own 9 times out of ten. And for me, it's, like, four. So maybe that makes me a crappy wife. ANYWAY.

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    1. we sang the tailor and the mouse on Tuesday and I danced with my triple striped uterine lining socks, thinking of you.
      And thank you for agreeing with Oat, and let the record show that both you and she are also excellent goods. REALLY, TRULY excellent goods. And now you live in the same state.
      And the wife thing, well, maybe when the kids are grown and we're retired. Then you and I can be great wives to our husbands. For now, I think 4 out of 10 is an A.

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  14. I can only imagine how difficult it will be to go back to work after so much time with her. Just imagine how much her little face with light up with pure joy ever day when you pick her up. It's the little things that you have to focus on. You'll find that balance of work and motherhood. I have no doubt. xo

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    1. That's a great reminder, Suzanne. Thanks for that.

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