Saturday, October 12, 2013

Back to work.

Nothing about this journey of motherhood has been what I expected.

Tuesday October 8th was my first shift back at work since July 20th.  It was the day that had been looming on the horizon; one that I both welcomed and dreaded.  I think anytime you circle a date on your calendar, you inevitably start a mental time clock counting down to its arrival.

Prior to Henry's arrival, I planned on taking 8 weeks of maternity leave.  This, in theory, was an adequate amount of time for me to initiate and maintain the maternal bond between mother and son.  Then July 20th happened.  Out came Henry, two weeks early, and 8 weeks turned into 10 weeks.  Then, because I work shift-work, I wasn't scheduled until October 8th, which made 11 weeks total.  11 weeks.  As in, almost 3 months.  As in a 1/4 of a year.  If you had asked me pre-Henry if I saw myself staying at home for 11 weeks, I would have answered with a resounding, "No way!"  I thought I would be clamoring to get out of the house and back to work.

I thought staying home would be hard.  I imagined that I would have so much time on my hands that I would be desperately bored.  Let's get real here.  In my line of work, I get paid for my productivity.  A person in the billing department can easily figure out exactly how profitable I am.  Looking back over the last 11 weeks, I can't think of very much that I "accomplished," but somehow each day was completely full.  Full of what, you ask?  Feeding, burping, diaper changes...those are the quantifiable things.  The rest of my day was filled with loving on my son.  Others tout motherhood as a thank-less job, but I see gratitude in my Henry's big blue eyes.  The seemingly menial tasks of being a mommy make Henry feel loved and secure, which will shape him into a confident and loving man.  That is thanks enough.  The love of my son fills a part of my heart that I never knew was empty.

After Henry, I thought going back to work would be harder.  I imagined a traumatic tear-filled goodbye, with the nanny prying my child out of my hands.  That was not the case.  In truth, I missed my job, I missed my co-workers.  I missed using my education that I have made countless sacrifices for.  I loved my job before Henry, and I love it just as equally now.  My job is not thank-less.  While there are certainly annoying aspects to my job, it is also incredibly fulfilling.  My job fills a part of my heart that is separate from my family.  Being at work is resting in the knowledge that I am using my God-given talent to help others.

I don't regret my decision to be a working mom.  Working in the ER makes me appreciate life and cherish every moment with my son.  Being a mommy gives me compassion and empathy, which makes me a better PA.  Each role fuels the other.  I pray that as Henry grows, he will see a mom that he loves and respects.  I hope that this love and respect comforts him in those moments of his life that I will inevitably miss.  I hope that this love and respect will teach him what to look for in a wife and mother of his own children.

Am I sad to leave him?  Of course.
Do I worry that I will miss integral parts of his life?  All the time.

But all mommies have fears.  All mommies are plagued with nightmares of not being there.  All mommies second-guess the decisions they make that will shape their children forever.  We would not be good mommies if we didn't worry.

I'm not saying I'll never change my mind.  But for now, I find comfort in the fact that I am where I belong.

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