Tag Archives: work-life balance

Staying is Hard Until You Have to Leave

Motherhood is something I still haven’t come even close to wrapping my head around. This is ok since I’m pretty sure it’s one of those things that never stays the same long enough for you to really ‘get’. 

Still, three months in and I continue to be surprised by my inability to predict things… Ellie’s next feeding, how long she’ll be down for a nap, if that’s a diaper cry or a tired cry. And my emotions, those things I’ve been feeling for years, are even more unpredictable.

Three weeks ago I was so excited to get back to work that I spent a whole night cleaning out and updating my task management system. Night hours are like gold, precious and in short supply (at least in my world). I get maybe two or three full hours each night when I have enough energy to keep my eyes open and Eleanor is sleeping, and I chose to spend this time updating a to-do list? 

It seems crazy to me now as I stare down the barrel of a Friday return date at work, but at the time all I could do was daydream about leaving. In between deciphering crying fits and feeling like I always had my boob hanging out, all I wanted was the predictable monotony of my old work schedule. And then it changed.

We started to get a real routine down. Up between 6 and 7, out the door with papa to walk him to BART and then on to a coffee shop for breakfast. Nap time while I ate and read my book. Another walk home for a feeding, quick change, and then out the door again for grocery shopping and errands. Another nap and a late lunch  then some reading and time at her baby gym. Maybe a visit from a grandma or friends. Instead of feeling hostage to a barrage of unpredictable whims, I started looking forward to our days together. It was amazing, and unfortunately it was also just weeks before my scheduled return to work.

Now, I find myself approaching these last days like the last four M&Ms in a bag. I want to savor each one. Every second of it. As if there’s some way to bottle up this time we have together and relive it after it’s gone. Instead of putting Ellie down at nap time, I let her sleep in my arm (long after it goes numb), bath time is twice as long and I take a little longer reading to her in the afternoon while we snuggle together on the bed. I’ve even started bogarting burp time during midnight feedings, something I’ve always gladly handed off to papa, because I can’t get enough of the way it feels when she’s passed out on my shoulder.

I know it’s not like I’ll never see her again, but I’m blown away by how much it truly feels like that. At the same time, I also know that I’m not built for staying home to raise her full time — something I’m reminded of at least once a day when my exhaustion reaches epic proportions or she flips out and I can’t for the life of my figure out what’s wrong. 

So, here’s to living for nights and weekends! There’s no real option and deep down I know it will just make me slow down and cherish our limited time that much more.

Also, she’s currently snoring on me. Are babies supposed to snore?? God, I hope so. It’s adorable.

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