In the midst of all the recent chaos, I completely forgot that my maternity leave ends NEXT WEEK! My (almost) 3 month old daughter starts daycare on Monday, and I am back to work on Wednesday. Having been off work for 12 weeks, it feels surreal to think I actually have a life outside of caring for an infant and toddler. In my "other" life, I am a nurse who takes care of adult cardiac patients. The dichotomy is enough to make my head spin.
Next week, I'm back to three 12 hour shifts a week (plus on call). Every day that I work, my husband drops off the kids at daycare around 8am and picks them up around 5:30pm. I get home from work around 7:30pm, and it's a marathon until we get my energetic 2 year old son to bed by 8pm (if we're lucky). If my daughter Maya continues on her current trend, she will keep us awake until 10pm or 11pm and hopefully sleep til morning. Although I'm sure this weaning process will throw off her sleep schedule.
Just the thought of returning to work makes me tired. Yes, I have a break from caring for my crazy kiddos while I'm at work. But I'm also on my feet taking care of adults for 12 hours. Not to mention the 30 minute commute back and forth from the hospital. And the entire time I'm away from my children, I will be worrying about them. Will my daughter cry for me the entire day? Will she eat for her daycare providers? Will my son wonder where I am when he gets home from "school"? (We call daycare "school" for my son.) It's a huge adjustment for everyone in the family. And I will be at work, feeling completely out of place.
When I returned to work from maternity after having my son, I cried the entire way to work. I envisioned my 3 month old son crying for me, wondering why I abandoned him. At the time, my mother was watching him while I was at work. So I texted and called her frequently throughout the day to check on him. It was a tough start, with my son initially refusing the bottled breastmilk for my mom, but eventually things fell into place. Just like I know they will with my daughter at daycare. But the uncomfortable feelings in the beginning are tortuous. It's hard for me to fathom things being so different.
But it's time to get over fears and move on with real life. This momma cannot afford to be a stay-at-home mom. And when it comes down to it, I really enjoy being a nurse. I work with an amazing group of people. And frankly, I need the "adult time" to vent with fellow moms, curse a little (or a lot depending on the day), and just be myself without worrying about young impressionable minds. So I venture on into the great unknown, and pray for a very short adjustment period.
Hey, a girl can dream!