Countdown to Going Back to Work
Tick, tick, tock. Tick, tick, tock. Almost halfway through my maternity leave, I couldn’t escape it. At every turn, I felt the time with my little man ticking away. I tried so hard to enjoy every minute we had, but the impending return lurked around every corner.
Each morning, I struggled to get Micah and myself both fed and dressed. I was lucky if we were both ready before 11 a.m. How in the world would I ever get us out of the house by 7:30 a.m. each day? My maternity leave wardrobe consisted of comfy lounge clothes, a ponytail and a naked face, and I still couldn’t manage to do much more than take care of our basic needs. What time would I have to wake up to ensure I left the house looking semi-professional? Micah was still waking up for nighttime feedings, so I figured I would need extra time to apply massive amounts of make-up to hide my dark, tired eyes and look presentable. And what about packing our things for the day? I would need to find time to sanitize and make bottles each day, pack breakfast and lunch (snacks too – this nursing mama might get hungry!), and prepare and pack the thousands of pieces for my pump. I tried to calculate how long this would all take. Would I have to stay awake after his 4 am feeding to get it all done? I couldn’t figure out HOW it would all get done. Other working moms insisted it would be challenging at first, but we would get through it. I couldn’t see how.
The anxiety over the HOW’s helped to distract me from the reality that I was leaving my precious little boy. I had come to terms with the fact that I was going to be a working mom. I had even acknowledged the benefits. Financially, my family would be more stable. Attending child care would provide long-term academic and social benefits to Micah. Having a career and working full-time would help me live a more balanced life. Rationally, I couldn’t deny we would all be better off. However, there is nothing rational about a mother’s love. I couldn’t bear the thought of being away from Micah. All I could hear was the sound of the clock ticking away. Tick, tick, tock. Tick, tick, tock. Tick, tick, tock.