As I slowly get back into work, it fascinates me that the world just went trucking right along while I had a baby. I know that sounds crazy but there are more than a few times when I’m in a meeting and I want to yell “but I had a baby!” And honestly, it serves me right. I am admitting that I used to be one of those people that would think, “ok, great, you had a baby, can we get back to work now?”
I’m now publicly apologizing for those thoughts.
It’s so completely strange going back to work. I’ve only been gone a few months but I feel like an entirely different person. My priorities, worries, stresses, and joys are so different. I can already tell that it’s going to take me awhile to get used to the new me. Right now I’m out of sorts and trying to get used to the fact that the world really didn’t stop when I had a baby. Strange, it sure felt like it did.
slowly methodically walking backwards down the stairs–
leather breifcase over right shoulder filled with Mac Book and other work essentials–
right arm tightly wrapped around fuzzy-pajama clad Becca as she burrows her head into my shoulder–
pile of books in left arm Statue of Liberty style with napkin-stuffed tea cup precariously perched on top
Carefully leaning over to place Becca on the ground.
Blissfully jumping down and running off without a backward glance as if she had just stepped off an escalator on her way to an errand.
I can truthfully say that until about 15 months, Becca didn’t know who Dora was, couldn’t name any of the Backyardigans and had never been exposed to Barney. HOWEVER, she could bob her head to the theme song of Ellen, knew the Desperate Housewives and had her own theories on LOST.
Yep, I admit it. When I nurse Becca, I tend to watch one of “my” t.v. programs (Top Chef, Medium, Law and Order) and we even upgraded to a DVR to increase the likelihood I would have something to watch. Until recently, I figured she was oblivious and had no idea what was going on behind her.
More recently, I have noticed that she will ‘pop-off’ to look behind her and see what is going on. I have also noticed that when she wants to nurse she will say, “teeeee veeee” and ask for “arriba” (upstairs) because that is where I nurse her (upstairs, in front of the t.v.). So I think she may be over the oblivious phase and I may need to be just a little bit more careful about what I watch in front (or behind) her.
As always, please share your current walk of shame via the comments or by posting a link to your own blog.
As I start the process of mentally preparing myself for work, I have gathered great advice from other mothers (thanks Mary and Rachel). One tough subject is diaper bags. I was completely lost about how many bags I need, when I need them, which are good for what? So I am summarizing all the tips and advice that I’ve prodded from other people. I’m sure I’ll have to revise my plan a dozen times. But this is my plan for now.
**Note: With daycare coming up, I’ll be the first to admit that we are flat broke. So all these diaper bags are hand-me-downs from family members or bought on a gift card.
Here are all my diaper bags (thanks Leslie).
1.) This is the biggest bag I have. My plan is to use this one when we are going to be gone all day or traveling. It’s huge but it also has a wide shoulder strap that is comfortable and balances the weight well.
2.) This one is my smallest one. I plan on using this when I need to just run around the corner to the grocery store or other quick trips.
3.) This is a really soft quilted bag. I think this will be my “daycare” bag. It can hold a lot but is also quilted and can be scrunched up into a small space (for example, a cubby). So I can leave it at daycare while I’m at work.
4.) This is my favorite. It is a red canvas bag that is waterproof. It also has clips that will secure it to a stroller. And I think it is the perfect size – big enough to hold everything I need but small enough that I don’t feel like I’m carrying a piece of luggage. This bag will be my weekend bag for going to the park or shopping or whatever else we may be doing.
- Another great tip I picked up – stock all the diaper bags if possible. That way I can just pick one up when I need it and I don’t have to worry about transferring items.
- My last tip – I am going to put all my cosmetics and loose ends in one small make-up bag. That way, when I do need to transfer personal items, I’ll only need to transfer a wallet, phone, and make-up bag.
Well, this is the plan anyway. I’ll let you know how it goes. I’m sure the diaper bag learning process has just begun. Who knew diapering was so complicated?
Monday John Patrick started daycare. It was one of the hardest days of my life. I started crying Sunday night when I was packing his “daycare” bag and basically didn’t stop until Monday when I picked him up. I tried to take my mind off of it by getting my hair done and shopping for new work clothes, but all day I had this horrible lump in my throat. I kept thinking about when he was born and how the first 6 weeks I basically couldn’t put him down at all. And I kept thinking about how much I complained about that. Why did I complain about that? And I also thought about how fast my maternity leave went by and that he and I will never have that time together again. Those 3 1/2 months are gone forever. Obviously, this thought process made me more than a little depressed.
I called the daycare after he had been there a couple of hours and asked how he was doing. (Yes, I’m one of those mothers.) But actually, he was doing really well. In fact, John Patrick had no trouble with daycare at all – only I did. He had no trouble adjusting to his teachers or making new friends. He had no trouble adjusting to songs and toys and bright colors and a new and exciting place. In fact, he loved it.
I realize now that this is only hard for me. He’s ready for this. It’s a good experience for him. His teachers are wonderful. They are so loving with him and patient with me. When I picked him up, his teacher was rocking him and singing a lullaby (in Spanish – brownie points). Today when I picked him up from his second day, I ran into another mother. She told me how she started her daughter at 3 months as well (she’s now 7 months) and that it was so hard for her. But like John Patrick, her daughter had no problem with the transition and loves her “school”. She kept telling me, “just get through the first couple of days and you’ll start to feel a lot better”.
And honestly, I’m already starting to feel better. Don’t get me wrong – I think about him all the time and I miss him constantly. But I feel at peace with where he is and that it is a safe and nurturing place. He’s making friends and learning how to accept care from people other than Mom. It’s even made him more inclined to let Daddy hold him longer before crying for me.
My husband laughs at me because I say “he’s growing up so quickly”. (He finds this funny because John Patrick can barely hold his head up.) But it’s true. He’s showing me that he’s ready to start developing as an individual and having experiences apart from “Mommy”. And as hard as that is for me, it’s a great thing for him. This may sound completely crazy but I’m so proud of him.
Or maybe he’s just so little he has no idea what is going on. I choose to believe the former.
So it’s been another momentous couple of days in our home. And we’ve survived and learned lots of lessons along the way. Maybe some day I’ll be able to teach John Patrick a few lessons. But for right now, he’s the master and I’m the student.
May the force be with us.
More Wordless Wednesday participants.
I believe that there are certain lessons that I need to master in my life. My current life lesson appears to be, “slow down and let go.” Numerous times since I became pregnant with Becca, I have been presented with situations where the lesson to be learned is, “slow down and let go.”
When I was pregnant, I physically couldn’t move as fast as I used to be able to move. Now that she is out and about, everything just takes a whole lot more time then it used to take. Even something as simple as moving between our 1st and 2nd floor has become a bigger production. I am often carrying Becca (and anything else I might need) or I am ‘assisting’ her as she walks up or down the stairs.
For awhile, I found myself feeling frustrated over the need to “slow down and let go” but after receiving the lesson again and again (I admit I am a s-l-o-w learner), I have gradually learned to take a deep breathe and take it one step at a time. I have even learned to enjoy the process more— soaking in the feel of Becca’s head buried in my shoulder as I carry her (and all my earthly possessions) down the stairs.
As I type this, I am sitting in the glider in Becca’s room as she slowly wakes up for the day. She is laying on her back, talking and singing to her Minnie Mouse stuffed animal with no worry about the day ahead of her. She certainly doesn’t need anyone to teach her to ‘slow down and let go.’
What lessons has the universe been sending your way?