Team Wharton has survived the first couple of weeks with two full time working parents and two little boys. Whew! Life feels full to the brim and sometimes chaotic. Even though it doesn't feel like I have time to blog I'm glad I captured my first transition back to work as it happened and I want to do the same this go around so I'm dashing this off during pumping breaks at work. (See all posts tagged Working Mama here.)
So, how it's going. The first time we left Cedric at daycare I cried. But I haven't since then (hooray!). The two main caregivers in Cedric's infant room also took care of Dashiell as a baby and that familiarity makes all the difference. For the first few months after going back to work the first time the hardest part was missing and worrying about Dashiell. But over time those worries subsided as I saw how loved Dashiell was at daycare and that we maintained our intimate bond. And so I'm not worrying as much about Cedric because I have that positive experience with Dashiell to draw from. I do miss my boys and Chris and I text back and forth about them and are so excited to pick them up each day. But I don't find myself fretting as I did before. This is a welcome change for sure.
There are aspects of being back to work that I'm really enjoying. I love my office environment and my colleagues. I love the lack of loud and lack of crying at my office. I love having a block of several hours to be productive and to use both of my hands at all times. On the three days that Chris and I carpool we get a mini-date to and from work when we can talk without interruption. (To a working parent carpool with your partner = mini-date, ha!)
What I'm finding to be the most challenging aspect of life right now is the pace. Especially now at the end of the semester when Chris has so many demands on his time. He tends to get stressed out this time of year which makes me feel stressed out. It seems we can be busy all day long just to keep everyone fed and in clean diapers and in relatively clean clothes. And so even things that really should get done (yard work, putting away laundry, going to the optometrist) must fall by the wayside. This is why a seemingly mundane, easy thing like getting a haircut warrants status as one of my monthly goals.
On Saturday I had a couple of hours with just Cedric at the house when Chris took Dashiell for a bike ride. I spent the time doing laundry and ordering various filters for around the house from Amazon (coffee water filter, fridge water filter, air conditioning filter) because that errand to Home Depot keeps getting put off and I'm tired of the taunting red light in the fridge telling me the filter is bad. It was so satisfying.
The good news is that life should slow down in about three weeks when the semester ends. Somehow the end of semester craziness catches us off guard every single time. For seven years. Perhaps next semester I'll prepare with freezer meals and by scheduling a twice monthly cleaning service. Or I'll at least write a blog post saying I'm going to remember it the next semester.
On some days the fullness and busyness of the days gets to me. I used to think that the main reason I would potentially want to quit my job and stay home would be to have more time with my children. Now I see that another reason could be to have someone who has time to focus on all the home-centered work (which is work that I do really enjoy). I'm not actually considering quitting my job right now. Just today I was at work and thinking about how pleasant my job is and how fortunate I feel to have it. But I do wish I had more time to attend to home matters.
What I definitely have going for me this time is perspective. I know that the hard parts don't last forever. Over time life will feel less busy. It'll be easier when Cedric can sit and we don't have to carry him throughout the morning. Or when I'm not pumping at work anymore and don't have to pack a bag for my pump and wash bottles at night.
And so I'm trying to remember to live in the really good parts of life right now, and there are many when I take a minute to breathe and think about it. Like when Dashiell is babbling incoherently but using such emphatic hand gestures I can tell he's talking about something important; or when I'm reading a book to two boys nestled in my lap; or when Dashiell says 'Bye bye Did-it" and "I wa-doo" (I love you) to Cedric when they part at daycare; or when I nurse Cedric to sleep and find myself in a quiet dark room with a snoozing baby bundle; and when Chris and I rally after bedtime to play a game of Yahtzee, sometimes in the company of mug cakes.
In short: it's hard, it's awesome, we're taking it one day at a time.
+ + +
Thank you, thank you everyone for your support and kind words about Cedric's hospital stay. It was so scary. But Cedric is doing great! We had a very good follow-up last week and the doctor reassured us that we should not worry and that this situation should not occur again. Hopefully this is all behind us for good!