May 7, 2012

week one

It’s incredible to me how 55 weeks can pass by in a blink. Even when you’re in the new baby haze, sleeping minimally, lacking your usual capacities, and trying to manage everything that is happening at once, the time flies by. Just when you think you’ll never sleep again, never sit down to eat a proper meal, or wear a shirt unadorned with spit-up, the time comes. You’re rested, can eat like a human, and are wearing a clean shirt.
I know I’m fortunate to live in a place where I can spend every minute of my baby’s first year with her. When you add a couple weeks of vacation to the end, you can even extend that little luxury, which is exactly what I did. But, two weeks ago, my year-long maternity leave came to an end, and it was time to return to professional life. 
I hadn’t remained completely disconnected from working, or thinking beyond diapers and naptime though. I went back to school when Lady A was about 9 weeks old to continue plugging away at my Master’s degree, and then in January (when she was 8 months old), I started teaching one College night class per week. These two adventures kept my mind sharp (well, sharp-ish), and allowed me to have much needed adult conversation and interaction that I think many mums lack when they’re off on mat leave. Having to leave them a couple times a week, made all the time I spent with my girls just a little sweeter.
When it was time to go back to work, I felt myself growing increasingly anxious. Though I know I felt the anxiety when I returned to work when Lady M turned one, I think it all felt a little different this time around, because I believe Lady A will be our last little munchkin. Last time I knew that I planned to have another child, and that another mat leave would be on the horizon, but following baby #2, the story is a little different. However, it helped to know they were headed to a wonderfully loving home daycare, and that I was headed back to a familiar place.
To really jump further back into the working world, the spring semester at the College started on the same day that I went back to work. That meant I worked from 8:30am until 9:30pm, teaching after I’d completed my first regular work day in a year. Leaving so early for work in the morning, neither of the girls was awake, and by the time I got home that night they were both slumbering happily.
Me? I just wanted to pull them out of bed for cuddles, but I knew better.
The next morning Lady A woke up before I left for work, but Lady M didn’t. That means I went from Sunday night until Tuesday after work without really seeing her. Of course I crept into her room to give her a kiss goodnight, but that’s not like spending the day with her, listening to her stories, and sharing little moments as we go through the day. It was a bit of a reality check, but we managed. I was beyond excited to get home Tuesday night and see my sweet girls.
Unfortunately, the traffic pattern of the Greater Toronto Area had different plans for me that night, as I sat on the QEW in ridiculous traffic that made we want to scream with road rage, burst into tears, or both. Arriving home after 6pm didn’t work for me, so the next day I took the toll highway, deciding the bill was well worth it, and was home just after 5pm. That was better. I felt like I might actually have the opportunity to see my girls a little more each night.
By the end of week one, we were all exhausted from our new routine and I had tried four different rush-hour routes, but it sure made the weekend so much more enjoyable. I savoured every moment of my 55 weeks off, and it makes me appreciate, even more, the time I get to spend with them now that ‘real life’ has reared its head.
So, week one has come and gone, and we made it. We’re all trying to create our new normal, and so far, it all seems to be going pretty well..

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