work

I go back to work in less than a month. 25 days, but who’s counting? Cayenne will go to day care, where someone named Miss Vaunda will feed him bottles and put him down for naps and absolutely not just strap him into a bouncy seat to wail for the rest of the day. I will pick him up in the afternoon, when he will definitely not have forgotten who I am, and will certainly not have come to prefer Miss Vaunda and the day care center to me, my husband, and our house. Right? Right?

To exactly no one’s surprise, I am feeling a lot of anxiety about the whole going-back-to-work thing. I know I am incredibly lucky to have had as much time off as I did (24 weeks, unpaid after I used up my vacation and sick days) and that lots and lots of brave mamas go back after 12 weeks or even less. I’m actually a bit of a trailblazer at my company, it seems — my HR rep was very surprised that I wanted to take the full 12 weeks of FMLA as opposed to coming back as soon as I was medically released, and when I requested an additional leave without pay it had to go all the way to the director of the company, as no one had ever asked for such a thing before and there was no precedent for it. So yes, I’m grateful, and I know I’m incredibly privileged to be in a situation where we can make do without my paycheck for so long, but still. I look at Cayenne, and he’s a baby! How can I possibly leave him?

After waiting so long for the chance to have him, and watching him pull through all the scary, scary stuff at his birth, and just now after nearly five months finally starting to get the hang of this momming thing (though I still suck at the housewifery thing), I’m supposed to just drop him off?

Dramatic handwaving aside, I know that day care is not actually prison, and that it will probably be good for him in the long run to be with other kids all day since he is so unlikely ever to have a sibling, and that millions and millions of kids kiss their parents goodbye every morning and say hello again in the afternoon without having forgotten them in the meantime. I know this. And yet …

Would anyone really notice if I discreetly slipped a pack-n-play into my cubicle?

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4 responses to “work

  1. First, I think you SHOULD be very proud of yourself for trailblaizing at work. Yes, mamas (or papas. but mostly mamas it seems) need time away from work to be with their teeny-tiny infants. There is more to life than capitalism. So, I’m really glad you fought for that leave and that you got it. You rock.
    Second, Ohmyfreakinggoodness can I ever empathize with you on the part about ‘dropping the baby off’ and how awful that feels conceptually (and I hear it’s just as awful when it happens, but I’m trying to block that out). Maybe their mamas will freak out, but Cayenne and Gummy will be fine at daycare. And they will not prefer the caregivers over their mamas.
    And also think about it, he would be miserable all day in your cubicle. This way he can happily chew on the daycare toys, instead of mouthing the stapler and white out at work.

  2. It must be hard, after waiting for so long – and I’m sure scary stuff at birth (or during pregnancy) makes it even harder. It’s kind of amusing you had to go all the way up to the director to ask for unpaid leave though. I’m sure there is no precedent for a pack’n’play in anyone’s cubicle either 😉

  3. Having sent the first later and the second sooner to the nursery,I can tell that, differences related to personality aside, those children who go earlier to nursery/day care have an easier time adjusting to the new routine. And they will most definitely not ever forget who mum and dad are. You need to find a new rhythm, and how to make the best of the time you have, since in the evenings chances are you will get the shorter end of the stick, with picky eating, tantrums due to being tired and such, while you are not exactly rested yourself from having sat on the couch eating bonbons all day.
    Some assvice you did not ask for, yet shall receive nonetheless:
    – prep the clothes in the evening, that way the time before coffee in the morning is easier. And you don’t have to decide anything important at the crack of dawn, like which socks with which top.
    – be aware that your child will eat and sleep better for anyone else except you. Just saying. Toddlerdoom is around the corner, and you should get used to this awful reality.
    – until Cayenne goes to school, you will deal with more snot, fever (of the high variety, that small children are fond of) and vomit than ever before. Or more than you could imagine. It is how they build immunity. Better now than later. (insert cliché of choice) Get the person in charge of making appointments at the pediatrician’s office a box of chocolates, make sure she knows your name, and you will get an appointment when you need one (as opposed to the least convenient time ofthe day). Stock up on tissues, the sniffles start in October and end in March. Understanding from the employer regarding time off for childhood sickness is appreciated as well, I hear.
    – you will be fine. But not for the first month, until you get used to having your heart broken each morning. When they cry at drop offs, it ruins at least your morning. It means they love you, not that they hate you. Focus on the positive parts, or pick a favourite spot on the wall to bang your head against until it gets better.
    Both of you will truly be fine.

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