My maternity leave officially came to an end on October 31st. I contemplated whether I should blog about this because it has been such an emotional time for me.
My first year of motherhood has been the highlight of my life. The adjustment was very difficult for me and I never thought I would get through it, but at some point it all changed. I loved having the year to spend entirely on my family.
I'm fortunate that my workplace was generous enough to let me come back part time. I appreciate it because I feel valued as an employee - they are being flexible to meet my needs. I know that some moms do not have a choice and my heart aches for them. As hard as it was to go from working full-time to staying at home full-time, I think it would be much more difficult to go from staying at home full-time to working full-time.
Yesterday was my first day back at work. I agonized over going back and it turned out to be okay. Dropping Josh off at daycare would have been the worst part. That would set the tone for the day. As it turned out, we walked into daycare, I put him down and he immediately ran over to a group of boys playing with Duplo. When I kissed him good-bye, he barely acknowledged me. I felt like he would be okay. Phew!
Work was a whirlwind! It's super busy, as always, and it was nice to catch up with my co-workers. In some ways, it felt like I never left, but in others, I couldn't believe the changes. It's a great place to work and I'm really lucky that I enjoy my job.
Despite all that, I still feel a sense of loss at not being at home full-time with Josh anymore. Many moms call it guilt and I can totally identify with that! I feel like I'm relinquishing some of the control I have in how my son grows up. There is someone else, a complete stranger, helping to mold the person that my son becomes. Though we ultimately chose what daycare we put our kids in, sometimes we don't have a choice (that's why it is a daycare "crisis") and do we REALLY know the people that we leave our kids with? Unless they are a family member or a friend who is already a parent, how do we really know whether they will teach our kids the way we want them to?
So, why don't I stay home full-time? Well, this is "choice" that Brian and I have made for our family. It is a choice that I agonize over and it brings up a need vs. want issue that Brian and I have spent the last year debating. It has made me question family values - not only our family values but the way we value families in our society. But I don't think that this is a proper forum for me to discuss this issue :-)