I've always known that I would be returning to work after my maternity leave was over. While I didn't necessarily love the idea of being a working mother, I also never envisioned myself as a stay-at-home mom. I knew that in our family, with our financial situation, I need to work - and I am ok with that. Or at least I thought I was, until about 10pm yesterday.
Over the last 24 hours I have cried more than I have in the past year, and I have this overwhelming sense of dread and sadness. I have one week of maternity leave left before I will be returning to my full-time job. I like my job, my hours are more than reasonable, and I enjoy the company of my co-workers. However, I cannot shake this feeling that what I am doing is terrible and against the natural order of what it means to be a mom. A mother shouldn't leave her baby with someone else for 9 hours... 5 days a week. A mother should be the first person a baby sees when they open their eyes after a nap. A mother should be the one preparing all of her babies meals... Soren NEEDS me, or at least I need him.
In the back of my mind I know that he will be fine at daycare. More than fine, he will probably really enjoy it and thrive in a new environment. The problem lies more with me, I think, and feeling like I am going to be missing out on his life. I cannot wrap my head around only seeing him for a few moments in the morning, and then again for a couple of hours in the late afternoon and evening. It seems so completely wrong to me, and unfair to both him and I.
I can't seem to get over the fact that I will not be able to take him to a 'Moms and One' program next fall, or continue taking him to 'Baby Rhyme Time' at the library. We've met some wonderful moms and babies at various playgroups, and we will no longer be able to attend any as they are all during the work day. (Although most of the other moms are returning back to work in the coming months as well) Tyler comes home for lunch most days, and Soren loves waiting at the window for him to pull up. Soon I will be eating lunch at my desk, while Soren eats at daycare with the other little babies. How will I know how much he's eaten? What exact time he woke up from his nap? If he made any new discoveries?
While I know it's not a good way of looking at it, I keep mentally thinking everything we are doing is the 'Last'. The last playgroup, the last morning walk, the last time at the park in the afternoon. I feel like this is the last week of being his primary caregiver, and in a sense the last week of him needing me all the time. This is his last week of being a baby, and I don't feel ready for that to be over.
I've always tried to enjoy each and every baby phase, knowing that it will be over in the blink of an eye. I've surprised myself with being more patient than I thought I would be, and happier to do less. My life is very different now compared to when I left the working world nearly one year ago, and I'm not sure how this next phase will play out. I keep telling myself that the transition is always the hardest part, and I will be okay in a few weeks time. Right now I can't quite hang on to that feeling. Every time I think about leaving Soren I am hit with a new wave of anxiety and sadness. Eight more days...