This morning, on my daughter’s six-month birthday, I’m going in to work knowing it is my final day on my part-time schedule. The next time I head to the office, on Monday, I’ll be back to 5 days a week. And while I couldn’t say this for a long time, I’m okay with that now.
I was fortunate to work out an extended, unhurried part-time maternity leave for baby’s first six months. I’ve always maintained that part-time employment seemed like the perfect schedule for me, and I am thankful I got to give it a try for awhile. You know what I discovered? I was right. It was perfect.
Perfect? Yes. Idyllic? No. Sure there were playdates and park days and crafts and yoga pants and sleep-in days. But there were also tears and tempers and exhaustion and boredom and cabin fever. And in the storm of the postpartum hormones there were weeks where I couldn’t be happy no matter where I was. When I was at work I longed to be at home with my babies, and at home I yearned for time away from mommy responsibilities. No matter where I was, I felt unaccomplished.
And now, here I am, watching it end, and I am thankful. I am ready. But it really did take me a full six months to get here.
Whereas the first time around I got slapped in the face with lack of sleep and exhaustion while simultaneously getting punched in the stomach with a near-complete loss of self, the process of grieving those things after welcoming baby #2 was much less intense. I get less sleep and I have almost no “me-time,” but in reality, it was both the emotional AND practical stuff that took so long to adjust to. Finally, we’ve done it.
I’ve made it to work on time every day for the last two weeks. I’m back in the swing of strict menu-planning, weekend meal prep, and I’ve got breakfast taken care of. The budget is ready to handle two full-time daycare payments. I finally got the baby’s bedtime to extend past 6:30 so we get some good time together in the evening. And, to top it all off, we’ve got fun on the calendar several times between now and the end of summer. All work and no play makes for some pretty unhappy Slaneys.
So here we go! Our summer fun needs funding, college savings need beefing, and, quite frankly, my 4-year-old’s appetite is busting the food budget. Heigh-ho, heigh-ho, it’s back to work I go. And while I really did love the part-time schedule, I’ll be thankful for the support at work to try it for awhile and thankful I have a good full-time job to return to. Today I will choose joy!