Well, my first week back to work from maternity leave was full of unexpected ups and downs. Walking into work felt like returning to my second home. I honestly forgot how much I missed being a nurse and working with my amazing co-workers. Once I regained my footing, it felt great to be part of the team again. And it was a relief to have other moms to talk to about all of my parenting woes. I did not realize how much I missed work until I came back.
To my surprise, I found myself feeling lost and overwhelmed on the days I was home with the kiddos. The reality of being a working mom really set in. I discovered that there are not nearly enough hours in the day. In order to spend time having fun with the kids, I had to live with the fact that my house was going to be a mess. The dirty dishes piled up in the sink. The laundry baskets overflowed. And there were toys and baby gear everywhere.
I could not seem to find a balance between my adult responsibilities and my mommy role. I felt an overwhelming sense of guilt because I "should have" wanted to just soak up time with my children. But the chores hung over my head like a storm cloud.
I also felt like I could not appropriately divide my attention between my children. While baby girl was napping, I would play leggos and cars with Liam. As soon as Maya started crying, I felt guilty for walking away from my son to soothe my daughter. Then, when Liam napped, I would do tummy time with Maya. But when it came time to wake Liam up, Maya was placed in her bouncy seat or swing to entertain herself. By the end of the day, I found myself wanting to go back to work just so I didn't have to feel the mommy guilt.
But there were moments at work that I felt immensely guilty for having my children in daycare. It felt like I was passing them off to someone else to raise them. Logically, I knew this was not true. But logic rarely took the place of my emotional overreactions. I felt like I could not be at peace in either place: at work or at home.
As we venture into the new week, this feeling of unrest still haunts me. Sometimes it is so overwhelming, that I feel like I might crawl out of my skin. But I am hopeful that we will eventually fall into something that resembles a routine. And then maybe I will feel like things are right with my little world again.
So, we press on...because there really is no other option.