Hi-Ho, Hi-Ho, It’s Off to Work We Go
I start work again tomorrow. Part of me is excited to go back to being a career woman instead of playing mommy all day, but a lot of me is apprehensive, disappointed, and perhaps even a little angry.
All my life I’ve told myself I’d be a stay-at-home mommy. I wanted to be there with my kids as they were growing up – raise them myself, watch them mature and discover who they were. Unfortunately, I didn’t plan to that end before getting pregnant with Little Miss. It’s my own fault, I know. So now I’m paying the consequences and have the 8-5 grind staring me in the face once again.
Little Miss is three months old. Her entire life has centered around eating, sleeping, and watching bright lights. Ninety percent of that has been done with Mommy. And now, all of a sudden, her world is going to change. Instead of hanging out with Mommy all day, she’s now going to have plenty of time to get to know Daddy. It’s a great concept, but it means quite a big adjustment for Little Miss.
It’s nice that Husband is able to take three months off as I did. He will get to watch her grow and change for the next 12 weeks – and a lot will change. By the time he goes back to work, Little Miss will probably be sitting up on her own, grasping and reaching for toys, and laughing on a regular basis. A lot changes for a baby in three months.
However, Little Miss is not used to being with Daddy eight hours a day. Even on weekends she spent a lot of time on Mommy’s lap or shoulder or in Mommy’s arms. She’s not used to Daddy regularly comforting her when she’s upset, or putting her down for a nap. And she sure does prefer the real thing to plastic bottle nipples.
As I am typing, Little Miss is in Daddy’s arms in the nursery, screaming as though her world was collapsing around her and everything she knows is going wrong. She’s been doing that for a good half hour. All Daddy wants to do is play with her, hold her, and comfort her.
When Daddy tried putting her down for a nap on Friday she did the same thing. After forty-five minutes of screaming and crying whenever Daddy went in to comfort her, I held her for five minutes and she was out cold.
This is one area where we’ve learned a lot with Little Miss, our firstborn. Our next child will spend a MUCH bigger amount of time with Daddy from day one. We thought we were being balanced, but apparently we went wrong somewhere. And now we’re paying a huge price. It’s miserable for a mother to listen to her infant scream bloody murder and force herself to stay in her chair and not run to her baby. There’s an indescribable flutter in her chest that tugs as hard as though there was a rope around her heart, pulling her with several tons of force toward the screams.
This week I am working only part time. So Husband will be alone with Little Miss for only four hours in the morning. But next week I go back to work full time. That means nine hours straight alone with a baby who’s trying to figure out how to be happy in her new world. Nine hours trying to figure out what it means to be a stay-at-home daddy.
This is a miserable part of the journey with Little Miss. Fortunately, the good parts far outweigh the misery. We just have to get through the hard parts to enjoy the easy ones.