I’m going back to work this Friday. I’m so glad I had the foresight to pick a Friday to try to ease myself back into this. After 12 weeks of being able to stay home with my newborn, I’ll be returning to the workforce as so many moms do. My heart is breaking as I think about leaving Graham with someone else for so many hours of the week. He’ll only be this little for a little while, and I know each moment is precious. I know we’re lucky to have family members watching him; he’ll be in good hands with people I trust completely. I know I’m blessed to have been able to spend 12 weeks at home with him. But I can’t help but feel sad about the moments I know I’ll miss.
So much has changed in these first three months. Ever since Graham entered my world I’ve felt like someone has hit the “fast forward” button on my life. Every day I’ve noticed a little change, a little growth, some new sound or movement he’s learned to make. It’s almost like I can see his cells rapidly dividing right in front of me. How is it possible that in such a short time he’s doubled his birth weight, growing from a delicate little infant to a “dense little pound cake” (as my husband calls him)? How can it be that while just a few weeks ago he could only communicate through cries, he now happily coos at us and even smiles when I walk into a room?
The littlest things seem amazing to me—the coordination he’s gained that allows him to bat at toys and study his hands makes me so very proud. He’s even mastered rolling from tummy to back just this week, which I’m told is a little ahead of schedule. (did you see my proud mama bear chest puff out a little?) I’ve loved this time I’ve been able to devote to getting to know my little man, and will miss this period of my baby being my only responsibility.
It’s not just the sadness of leaving him that I’m dealing with this week; I also have a little anxiety thinking about how we’re going to get on some sort of a schedule and get used to our new normal. I plan on pumping when I go back to work, which entails lots of chores like transporting pump parts, ice packs, milk—and also washing and sterilizing the parts every day. And how in the world am I going to wake up so darn early, feed him, feed myself, shower and get to work on time looking halfway decent? I’m seeing a lot of dry shampoo and mascara-ing at stoplights in my future …
I just keep reminding myself that thousands of moms do this every day. Despite my worries, I’m told Graham won’t forget who I am. And I know that each day when I get home, we’ll have a sweet reunion as I pull him into my arms. I know that the weekends and evenings I have with him will be treasured perhaps even more than if we were able to be together all the time. I am lucky to be going back to work at a great job that I enjoy with wonderful people who are supportive and kind, some of whom are fellow moms as well. I know my family will survive this big change and be just fine, but you can guarantee I’m going try my best to savor every last moment of these next few days at home with my baby boy.