back to reality.

I had big plans to share some photos and details on Mari and Jenna's bedroom this week, but I'm saving it for next. The reality of my maternity leave coming to a close has thrown me a curve ball, so I'm going to try to hit and run with it.
It's so hard moving from one phase to another, isn't it? Just when the going gets so good with your baby - they're smiling, responding, talking, loving and sleeping (better!) - you have to move on without them. And for most working moms, that means putting your child in the care of someone else so you can return to the office.

It's a very personal experience and is so different for everyone. While I've gone through it once and this time, will be going back to working from home, it's still difficult. It's a topic that has been heavy on my heart with so many friends in this same season of life, and now it's my turn to try to take comfort in my own words.

I don't believe that it ever gets easy to leave your child. But I do believe that we get used to it. And we make it work.

For me, I am grateful to return to a good job that has made it possible to drift off into baby fantasyland for a few months, while I re-train myself on sleeping much less and giving so much more. It's a humbling thing that is so very raw and beautiful. Some only experience this newborn carefree(ish) life once. Some, more than once. And others, never.

Two years ago, I returned to work after Mari was born. Then, I returned to an actual office. This time, I'm reclaiming my home office space in our bedroom that is just steps away from Jenna's crib. I know that should make the separation anxiety easier, but the same old friends - guilt and doubt - are back, staring me down.

Even though I know that she will handle it better than I, the questions still bubble to the surface; What will Jenna think when she's not getting fed by me every three hours? Will she wonder where I've gone? Will she feel alone?

When I was preparing for the transition from mom to working mom with Mari, I started counting the lasts; the last time I spent the day in pajamas with my baby; the last time she fell asleep in my arms on a Wednesday; the last time I loved, played, cried and slept like it was my only job in the world. It made my heart hurt.

But, the truth is, while it was painful, counting those lasts registered, and it made me so thankful for each one of them - even a midnight wake-up call. And now, as I get ready to make this transition again, I know it's just the beginning of our real life, with four, and a new routine that is so good for all of us.

For the first time in almost four months (plus 10, let's count that pregnancy, shall we?), I get to put on jeans. Jeans that fit. That don't have an elastic waist band. I get to button up a shirt (well, nearly). And I get to challenge a side of my brain that's been dark. I get to bust a move and get back to doing something that I love that has just been on pause for a while.

And, even with that ache in my heart and a lump in my throat, I will hit the play button on Monday morning. And put one flip flop in front of the other. And for every second of every day, love, play, cry and sleep as Mari and Jenna's mom because it's the one job that never transitions.

And for that, I am blessed.


mary said...

beautiful. beautiful. beautiful. xo

ashley sullivan said...

wonderful words. soak up these next few days, and i'll be thinking of you next week. your strength and belief in yourself will carry you through.

Karen said...

You manage to put into words, so beautifully, what all mothers through-out time have dealt with. All the while, you make it look easy, we know it's not. You have done a commendable job juggling and I trust you will continue to be the best mommy and the best employee anyone would wish for.