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?