Today I woke up and I got to hug and kiss both of my boys. I got to breastfeed the little one, then I got to have breakfast with the older one. I got to get them ready for school, I got to take them to their 2 month and 2 year checkups, I got to drop the older one off at school, and then I got to spend the rest of the day cuddling the younger one.
Today will be the last day I get to do any of these things. Today is my last day of maternity leave, and tomorrow I go back to work full time.
My entire maternity leave, to me, felt extremely chaotic. I am sure from the outside looking in, it looked extremely leisurely. But in reality – there was very little downtime. Every day, my iPhone calendar seemed to have millions of looming grey dots on it. Does anyone else get anxious about the amount of grey dots on their calendar?
Anyhow, since last week was my last full week of maternity leave, I decided that I would keep the grey dots to a minimum. It was my plan to spend my last full week of leave, just holding my baby.
But you know what? Life happens.
Saturday was William’s crazy 2nd birthday. Sunday was heading to the lake with my in-laws. Monday was a photo shoot for a blog partnership, and then a phone interview with a nationally recognized blog about my maternity leave experience. Tuesday was a fever of 102 for William, which meant I would be home with both boys – all week long. Wednesday William developed blisters on his tongue and hands – and yes – he had Hand, Foot and Mouth. I had a two year old, and a two month old at home – all week – trying to keep them separated so the little one didn’t catch it too. My last week at home was nothing like how I had imagined it. It was the same chaotic, crazy, bizarre mess that all the weeks before it were too.
But as I sit here and and look back on last week… really, as I look back on these wonderfully chaotic 8 weeks at home, I feel SO incredibly lucky.
When I head back to work tomorrow, at 5am, I won’t get to see my sons’ rosy cheeks as they wake up. I won’t get to kiss their little heads good morning. I won’t get to sit with them at the counter and eat our breakfasts of eggs and toast. I won’t get to breastfeed at my leisure. I won’t get to reheat my coffee 7 times a morning. I won’t get to give my sick son piggy back rides around the house to make him feel better. I won’t get to cuddle the boys after their naps. Tomorrow – all of these things will go away. I will go back to being a full time working mom, and I’ll never get this time again.
Looking back, last week was not anywhere near what I had planned.
It was better.
As I head back to work tomorrow, without a doubt, it is with a heavy heart. It’s not to say I don’t love my job – I do. It’s just that the transition is hard. I remember feeling the same way when I went back to work after having William. I think as a working mom – there is always that feeling. “What am I doing?… Am I making the right decision?” And the most gut wrenching – “I’m going to miss them so much.” I distinctly remember feeling physically ill when William’s teacher would tell me, so happily, about all the details of his day. All the details that I felt I should have been there for.
So – what am I trying to say?
I guess… I’m trying to say… that all you moms out there… staying at home, or going to work… you’re all warriors. We all have our stuff. It’s all hard. We all have our chaos and our crazy. But more than all of that, we have these amazing little people to love. We have these amazing little souls to be mothers to – and that is the best job of all.
This motherhood thing…. no matter how you spend your days – at home or at the office – is beautifully, wonderfully, tough. But in the end – there’s nothing else I’d rather be. To all you moms out there… I just feel lucky to be one of you.
Endlessly, endlessly lucky.