Saturday, March 1, 2008

Back to work and off to daycare

I have always prided myself in being an independent, career oriented, self starting brass ovaried woman that could take the world by storm without breaking a sweat. I would have it all - the career, family, home & even a few four legged children. Choose? I scoff at the notion! I can do and have it all!! When I had Cameron I knew that I had done the most amazing thing in the universe. I brought a wonderful little life into the world. A little ray of sunshine that changed who I was and who I wanted to be in a matter of seconds. I am a mommy - the most important job there is.

I have was brought up in a household in which hard work was a way of life. Education was paramount, and my mother instilled a strong work ethic into my sisters and me. I got a job when I was 17 years old and have had one since, sometimes working 90 hours a week. Prior to having Cameron, I had not given any thought on not going back to work. My idea of a stay at home mom consisted of the 1950's June Cleaver type with perfectly placed hair while preparing meals in pumps and a freshly starched apron. Me in a starched apron? Please! I hate to iron!

As horrible as this may sound, but I always felt bad for stay at home moms. The idea of spending every moment at home taking care of a little one had NO appeal to me. I mean I have never been more depressed as I was when I was an at home wife. After just a few weeks I felt the four walls of our home closing in like a pack of wolves. I felt alone with nothing of my own. Women that stayed at home were "lost" in the daily trimmings of the needs of their family. I never understood the appeal.

After the monsoon of visits from family, friends and loved ones subsided a bit, I began to settle in the groove of being a mom. Cameron and I spent the days eating, nursing, sleeping, reading, and talking (Our conversations are a bit one sided, but that is sure to change - she is a Poston). We got to get to know each other. It was wonderful. Sometimes I would just lay her on my chest, lay down on the couch, put on some music and just listen to her little baby noises. Then I knew why women stayed at home. In just a few weeks she had changed, and the thought of missing one moment was heartbreaking.

Then the countdown began. The end of my maternity leave was fast approaching. It was so bitter sweet. Spending every day with my little sugar pig was wonderful, but my career was so important to me as well. I work for an organization that I believe in and love. To find a job that you like is one thing, but to find one that you LOVE is rare. The Epilepsy Foundation was not something that I plan to step away from. I decided the date that I would return to work. Cameron was 8 weeks old, and we took the plunge.

The night before going back to work I packed for my first day back. It was akin to packing for your first day of school (which I have been told will elicit another crying jag). I was phobic that something would be left out. Everything that had to go to daycare had to have her name on it. Momma and I spent over an hour writing her names on bottles, blankets, and wipe box. Momma lovingly illustrated some things with flowers and ladybugs. I walked myself through my day over and over in my head to be sure that nothing was forgotten. Laptop, breast pump, diapers, wipes, crib sheet, a few clean outfits for Cameron, bottles, milk, purse, ..... I put everything by the door and realized that I needed to rent a mule to carry it all. I broke down in tears several times while packing.

Then it came. The alarm clock. I looked over at Cameron (who is sleeping in our bed to make midnight breastfeeding easier) who was awake and happy, and picked her up to nurse her. The waterworks started. I cried through breakfast; I cried in the shower; I cried getting dressed. We loaded up the car and hit the road. I was amazed that there were no tears in the car. We got to the daycare (its at a church) got her all unpacked. Rebecca and I walked into her room and there were little babies and toddlers everywhere. There were some in their cribs, a few in the floor playing with one another, and the two daycare ladies each had a baby in their laps. All of the kids (who are from ages 8 weeks [Cameron is the youngest] to 2 years/or walking) seemed to be having a really good time. None of them were crying. As I filled out paperwork, Rebecca squealed with delight. There was one little girl playing with a few toys on the floor. She looked at Becca, looked at her toys, and tried to share them with Rebecca. Again Becca squealed with delight. The fact that the babies were so content and seemed to be having a good time, my mind and heart was put at ease. I filled her little cubbie, put the sheet and her little heartbeat bear on her crib (which was labeled with her name on it), and headed off to work. No tears!

Thanks to the loving support of the staff of the Epilepsy Foundation, I am nursing Cameron midday. When I went to have lunch with Cameron, there were two babies crying. Cameron was lying in her crib wide awake as happy as a clam. I started to well up. I picked her up and we went to a private classroom. It was so nice to get to spend that time with her. Once lunch was over I took her back to the baby room and there were three babies crying. Now I know that babies cry. That is what they do, and Cameron is no exception. Martha (one of the nursery workers) said "Crying is contagious." Cameron seemed unphased by the unhappy little ones. I on the other hand was infected. I managed to get into the hall, and I started to cry. What if Cameron is unhappy like those little ones? What if as soon as I walk out of the door she cries like that? WHAAAAA!

I couldn't wait to get off work and pick up my baby. When I got back to the day care again she seemed as right as rain. I grabbed her up and kissed her all over. The ladies said that she had done really well, especially for her first day. I could tell that the ladies in there really cared about the kids that she was working with, and just as much cared for the women that were leaving their most precious possessions in their hands. Starting back to work on a Wednesday was a great decision because it gave me the opportunity to get my head and heart abound leaving Cameron with strangers, and then have her all to myself on the weekend.

Well I am off to give our little super star a bath and pack her bag for her first full week at school. Keep the good vibes coming.