Remember the first time I was on maternity leave? I COULD NOT WAIT to get back to work. I don’t know what it was, the lack of a plan, the fear of being even a temporary stay-at-home mom, who knows. But I was better the second time around — I paced myself, gave myself projects and felt a lot more productive during that leave. So of course, this third time, plus it being the last time (seriously, the last time) — oh Lord, I don’t want to go back.
I think a lot of my reluctance to go back to work is that I’ve experienced a shift in how I feel about babies. Some of it is the great debate about multiple babies — some people’s worlds are rocked when they finally have the one baby. But….
Then you add two — although for some its three — and its like no big deal. Outside of the financial aspect (hello, childcare), I feel like once Trinity and I hit three kids, we were like, OK. No big deal. Sounds crazy, right?
I think it’s like this — we were so freaked out about having the first baby, we didn’t really enjoy Michael’s early days. Not only were we trying to get him to sleep consistently, worrying about every little sniffle or cough, we were also concerned about the state of the economy. When we added Chris to the mix, we were still dealing with a young toddler (Mike was only 20 months old when Chris was born) and adding a newborn to the mix. Talk about living in a fog.
But now, Michael is 4, is capably communicating with us and, for all intents and purposes, potty trained; Chris is going to be 3 this month and is just about potty trained too. And I look at these two and I’m like, “Where the heck did my cutie pie and my cuddle bug go?! Who replaced them with these svelte boys who are all knobby knees and elbows?!” And then I have to go cuddle Elliott and squeeze him, breathe in his baby scent and rub his little back before he stretches and transforms into another svelte, knobby-kneed boy the next time I blink. And dammit, I just made him giggle for the first time this morning! I don’t want to go back to work and not be able to make Elliott giggle!
All this has shifted my attitude toward babies. I used to say my favorite baby age was when a baby had just turned 1 — basically the early toddler stage. But, it’s hard to say that about Elliott. He’s really responsive — he’s been smiling and cooing at me since he was three months old, ahead of his pediatrician’s expectations, and I love it. Honestly, it’s like he’s dressing us down sometimes for some perceived slight — not standing up with him, or not paying enough attention to him. His hair is starting to get that messy, bedhead look, which I now know is the precursor to the curly mop all of my boys had. And so far, he’s been a great sleeper — the first night we put him down by himself, he cried for a half an hour then went right to sleep. He hasn’t cried since!
I haven’t changed that much, though — I still like to go out and do stuff, but with three boys in tow, I am a lot more choosy about our activities. I’m not one of those people who likes to leave their kids with a baby-sitter while I go off and do things — but sometimes an activity or event is just not worth the effort of packing up three kids. So while I’ve been off, to avoid cabin fever, I made sure to tackle some of those theoretical projects that occurs to me to do during regular life, but I never have time to do them — such as digitizing our favorite recipes, cleaning up the boys’ toy box and organizing their clothes. Organizing their clothes was maybe the biggest pain in the butt, but I’m glad its done.
And seriously? I have no idea how we are going to get any regular housework done when I go back to work. I mean, I feel like all I’ve done on leave is wash and fold piles and piles of laundry. I’ve pretty much had to do a load and a half of just the boys’ laundry once a week.
But, life marches on and one eventually has to return to work. So, heheh, don’t expect to hear from me again here unless I have emergency surgery, or something.