Question of the month

It’s started again — the predictable question that everyone asks.

“When are you going back to work?”

And, unlike most of the other questions I get asked (is he sleeping through the night? do you like being a mum? are you breastfeeding? is he potty trained yet? oh wait, that’s not until next year), I find it particularly annoying, irksome and irritating. Why? Because I don’t want to think about it.

I don’t want to think about going back to work. I don’t want to think about leaving my son. I don’t want to think about being away from him just to earn a living building someone else’s dream. I don’t want to think about missing out on anything he might be doing — the latest development that week, that day, that moment. He’s growing so much and changing so much and stealing my heart more every day.

Well, he’s not stealing it. I’m gladly giving it away.

So every time someone asks that question, it reminds me how the precious time I have with him is winding down. How the day actually will come in just a few weeks when I’ll have to be at work at 8:30 a.m. and leaving him for an entire day.

I’m not OK with that.

I’ve mentioned that returning to work isn’t turning out as planned. I thought I’d be able to work half the time from home. I can’t do that now. If I’d known that several months ago, I would have made different plans. Because I always knew I didn’t want to put my baby in daycare and be away from him or her.

Now that it’s reality, I know it even more. I know how absolutely wrong it feels to me. And I’m not someone who can go so directly against her intution and heart. I can’t manage that kind of emotional denial. It’s one of the side-effects of becoming more self-aware.

And part of me thought that, maybe, once I actually had a baby to care for, I might enjoy the time away. I might enjoy the separation of mum-self and professional-self. Maybe even get a separate social-self in there too.

But I find I’ve rapidly become…well, not like that at all. And instead of becoming all consumed in being a mum (despite what this blog may lead you to believe!), I’m finding a balance between me as a person and me as a mum and carving out the time and space to keep developing my interests. The way I do that most of the time is just to bring Duncan with me. He sat through a 3-hour board meeting at church today. (OK, so he slept most of the time, woke up and ate, then got cuddled by various board members 😉

I’ve found these weeks at home with him (8 1/2 of them so far) such an incredible blessing. Yet it seems bittersweet and cruel – to have this time to bond with your child, only to have to learn to detach and harden yourself to leaving him. I was thinking today as we cuddled on the porch together that these weeks have been such an amazing time and a gift, despite all the massive recovering from birth and adjusting to life with a baby. They rank right up there with the best weeks of my life. With going to France for my brother’s wedding and chilling in a cottage near the coast in Pornic. With my honeymoon in Cape Cod. With any adventure I’ve ever been on.

So I don’t want to think about that date in October. W-day. Or hear people comment on how it’s soon, or far, or whatever it is in their perception. Or how it won’t be that bad. Or whatever.

And I’ve decided that if my boss happens to read my blog and worries that I’m going to be leaving as soon as I can…well, any worry or weirdness or questions that might create aren’t as important as me knowing what I need to do for the wellbeing of my family and being honest about it. I am grateful for all that I have – including a job to go back to.

I am an attached parent. I am so in love with my son. I know I can’t make a living just by staying home and taking care of him (and having more!), but I know there’s a solution out there where I can do both.