Being a parent sometimes feels like being an island. There is an ever present fear of messing your child up. In the moments you are in public and your child manages to do the embarrassing, it can be isolating when all judgmental eyes roll your direction. Or when you feel an emotional wreak the first days back to work away from your baby. It is hard in these situations to remember there are other people who have been there too.
I put up a quick Facebook post with pictures of the boys before returning to work last week. In the post I mentioned I’d be going back to work the next day. A few other moms commented back saying they would be thinking of me or expressing empathy as they had been there too.
It is the moments when another parent reaches out to say “I’ve been there” that feels like a life raft. The reassurance that another parent can say “me too” creates community. As a parent, it helps to have that commonality – to know we are not the only ones who have had that experience.
The first week back to work was rough. I missed my babies terribly. There were fun moments at work. The pull to be with my little one feels deeply instinctual. Getting reminders from other parents who have been there too helped pass the work days.
To all the parents out there, I encourage you to look out for each other. Let that struggling mom or dad know they are not alone. Let’s merge the islands of parents to create a parenthood Pangea.
Before my return to work I did finish the buttons on the convertible nursing scarf/ponchos. As promised from my earlier post here are a few pictures for my readers.
Yesterday, my husband and I went out for lunch to celebrate our anniversary. We are celebrating early this year since I am returning to work from maternity leave tomorrow.
In light of the celebration I was reflecting on our honeymoon a few years back. We had the privilege of going to New Orleans for the week. I remember we had wonderful food, saw a few sights and mostly spent quality time getting to know each other better. As a musician, my husband says he has felt a bit of regret when friends ask how much music he checked out. We went to Preservation Hall one night. We talked about in the grand scheme of things, we did something far more valuable by spending time bonding. Early love is being so entranced with one another.
That is why I call this special time with my newborn a babymoon. I have been free from work and focusing primarily on getting to know my new son well. We have been able to invest in a bond that will give him a solid foundation. And I can say this early love is evident by the entranced nature. Staring into his little dark eyes while he nurses looking back is intoxicating.
Tomorrow will in no way be easy. Only a mother can understand the feeling of being torn two directions when going to work. It feels impossible to be both good at my job and a good parent. I will do my best to provide for my baby by not only going to work, but also trying to pump milk to sustain him. The odds and challenges will be before me, as they are for many working mothers who pump.
Looking back on this time of baby-moon, I do not have regrets. My original “to do” list this time is hardly touched. The apartment is not clean. My bank account is near empty from the unpaid time. Yet, I am satisfied in knowing that I could spend this time bonding with baby and focused on that very thing. That is a gift I would not trade.
It is springtime in Chicago. I love midwest springs. By the time the new season rolls around, I have grown weary of winter’s cold, grey demeanor. Spring time ushers in new life. The grass pokes fresh green sprouts checking for the warmer temperatures. Then trees bud and blossom in the celebration of winter’s death grip releasing.
This spring also brought new life to our home. Our second son, Oliver was born before one last snow flurry. He was our little olive branch this year – a promise of new life.
To date, I have been in full-time management within the corporate cafe business. It has been a special occasion – taking FMLA leave from work to spend time bonding with our newest family member. With my first son, my relationship with work life changed drastically. I no longer felt like work was my life; I developed a new sense of family and home became my life.
With my second son, I am feeling a greater urge than ever to spend more time at home. It is pushing me to explore other avenues of creative income sources. It is also stretching me to discover other occupations that spark my passion and interest. I sense that with the arrival of my little olive branch this spring, there will be a greater turning of a new leaf in our home.