I feel so lucky that I had been able to stockpile sick leave and vacation time such that I was able to be home with him as long as I was--almost three months!
And I'm really ready to be back at work.
I think I had underestimated how much I need an independent purpose in life to be happy. Being his mama is important to me, but I'm so much better at that when I'm myself too. I almost feel guilty about that--like I'd rather be at work than be with him.
But it's much more complicated, really.
We went to see Dan Savage talk a few weeks ago, and he spoke a bit about the "price of admission" for a relationship--i.e., his partner leaves out the mayo every time he makes a sandwich, but it's something he's learned to put up with as the "price of admission" to their otherwise wonderful relationship.
Being more legally minded, I prefer to think of it as a contract.
When Sweet Husband and I got married there were several terms of the contract of our relationship--some explicitly stated, some not. One of the most important of those terms has always been that, within reason and such, we each get to do what makes us happy. As an easy example, I could be making a heck of a lot more money practicing a different legal specialty, but Sweet Husband has never even hinted that I should--we both know it would make me miserable, and that's not part of the bargain we've made.
Now that we have the Kiddo, it feels like that "contract" has expanded to include him too.
And that's the overriding thing that keeps bobbing to the surface of my flotsam and jetsam of thoughts and feelings about going back to work. I want the Kid to grow up in a family where--even though we love each other and sometimes make sacrifices for that--everyone gets to do the things that make them feel fulfilled and happy. And that includes him too.
I want him to grow up knowing that you can love someone else so, so much, but you still have to live your life for you.
(Also, as a side-note, stay-at-home-moms are heroes. Because it's repetitive and thankless, and even if you have the greatest husband in the world--which, I happen to think I do--you still don't ever really get a break.)
Contracts aside though, the thought of leaving the Kiddo at daycare tomorrow morning still makes it hard to breathe. I mean, we vetted our daycare as well as you can, but really, we're handing him over to complete strangers. Strangers who are going to be the ones to pat his back and sing to him when he cries. Strangers who are going to quickly learn that you remove his fists from his mouth at your own peril. And strangers who are going to read to him.
Which is the part I'm going to miss the most. Because, at about four or four-thirty each day--when he gets fussy and it's still awhile before Sweet Husband will be home--that's become our thing. We go upstairs, curl up on the bed, and read his books until he giggles. Then we have some "ba" and cuddle to sleep. It's been my favorite time of our days together.
Of course, we'll still do that--just later in the evening, I'm sure. But I have a feeling that, for quite awhile, at about that time of day, my mind is going to wander from transcripts and statutes to Shel Silverstein and Mangia! Mangia!.
To stay home or to work? It's not even a choice for me. But that still doesn't mean there aren't going to be a few regrets....