Letting go


A little more than one week until I return to work. Dum-da-dum-dum. Like a dark cloud, it has been ominously looming in the distance for weeks and now it's rolling in across the landscape, headed directly for a spot over my head. There, I imagine, it will find a comfy home where it'll hang out and pour, pour, pour. A bit melodramatic? Ok fine, you're right. It won't be that bad. Thank God I have supportive employers who are letting me return to a part-time schedule through the end of the year. Still though, that's thirty hours that I don't get to spend with August and someone else does.  I've already mentioned my greediness here and here so it's no surprise that I'm a bit possessive about my son, right? But what mother isn't?

So why re-enter the workforce if I'm dreading it so bad? Well, for one, we need the money. Working from home isn't an option -  I haven't built a big enough inventory of handmade baby clothes to open an etsy shop and, despite my best efforts to promote this blog via FB, I haven't got any freelance writings gigs lined up yet. Secondly, I work for a great company and have developed a sense of loyalty to them (damn that Jiminy Cricket, sitting all smug on my shoulder in his little top hat and spats). Seriously though, my employers have been super supportive and I kind of feel like I owe it to them - not to mention the fact that I've still got another two years until I'm fully vested in my retirement plan (turns out those schedules are a good retention incentive after all). Lastly, if pregnancy taught me anything it's that you can't expect anything in life because it won't necessarily turn out the way you imagine. Incidentally, I also learned that I'm a "You Go Girl". You know, one of those third-wave feminists that believe women are AWESOME.  Most of the time you'll see them at local road races - the biggest cheerleaders for our sex - and they would be totally obnoxious if they weren't so sincere in their enthusiasm. Keeping that awesomeness in mind, I recognize that I could totally surprise myself so, I need to give this working-mom thing a fair shot.

Pregnancy surprised me in so many ways and now I'm finding that motherhood is full of its own surprises. In what ways? Well, for one, I thought I'd be bored. Or that I'd feel trapped. I thought that by the end of my twelve-week maternity leave I'd have my lunch packed, clothes laid out, and shoes at the door; all ready for my first morning back to work. It'd be a relief to get out of the house and have a bit of my old identity back. To have more "going for me" than just raising a child. That's what I thought. I love being wrong. It puts me in my place; humbles me. Reminds me of my own vulnerabilities; like the fact that I've become dependent on an infant. That's right, I need this boy. And not in the I-am-painfully-engorged-and-only-your-little-mouth-has-the-efficacy-to-draw-out-this-poison kind of way. There are hospital-grade breastbumps that insurance will cover to solve that problem. I need him in the sense that he was literally my center for nine months and my balance is still a little off since his birth. I'm no longer the woman I was before he was born but I'm not not her, either.

August, on the other hand, I'm pretty sure could survive without me. We've had a couple major breakthroughs lately. He's learned to put himself asleep and just yesterday I saw him grab the pacifier and put it in his mouth. He has also finally accepted the bottle and since I've stored so much milk in the freezer that there isn't room for so much as one frozen pea, I've basically become obsolete. I knew this day would come but I thought there'd be a good eighteen years to get used to the idea. Then I read this book that just had to so perfectly remind me that,
"There comes that moment when we give our children custody of their own selves or blight their lives forever, when we understand that a being a parent is not transactional, that we do net get what we give. it is the ultimate pay-it-forward endeavor: we are good parents not so they will be loving enough to stay with us but so they will be strong enough to leaves us."
I know he's strong enough - you could draw a straight line from the top of his head to the tip of his tail bone in a perfect 90 degrees when he stands on our laps - but what about me? My self-reliance muscle has atrophied. When it comes down to it though, I want him to come into his own. There's so much potential in this kid that it'd just be cruel, to suppress it. His talents are limited to eating, sleeping, smiling and cooing right now, but he does them all so brilliantly that it bodes well for his future endeavors. And what is parenting if not the ultimate project; you produce the perfect raw material and have the opportunity to shape it into the most magnificent finished good. There's no way I'm denying myself of those bragging rights.


Teresa said...

A question to myself: why didn't I have these thoughts and answers when I had my children?

Katie F said...

Great post!

JosiJoy said...

Hey Lewie,
Okay, so I have to admit that I am also in that "stay-at-home mom would be totally boring" club and somehow and that I don't think I'll be surprised to find that it's not...I still think I will be able to "tolerate" being a feeding machine and mom over a period of 5 months and I believe (right now) that I will be looking forward to going back to work, back to my OTHER kids, my students... I'll have to let you know next June when I'm about to cross that bridge...Now if you have MORE than one kid, then in my world somehow, then it would be OK to stay at home full-time. hahaha I don't know, I respect women who stay at home, but I don't think I'm that "type" of mom who would want to stay at home...But maybe there is no "type" of woman who would want to stay at home, maybe that is an idea that I have in my own Josi-world... I will let you know. As of right now, I'm just trying to be pregnant. hahahahaha Although, I must say, I haven't been "one of those" who talks to my baby in the womb-which makes me feel kind of selfish sometimes because I seem to just be carrying on with MY life even though it is OUR life... I'm still hanging out with friends, hiking a lot (slower than I was previously able to-I did a 1643- meter (5390-foot) climb in 4 hours compared to my previous 3-hour climb), working, playing the guitar (okay, that is for baby sometimes too), and all my activities...anyway, so on verra, we will see.
Let me know how you liked it going back to work!!! I am definitely curious... Maybe you'll be pleasantly surprised!?
Love, me

JosiJoy said...

***Okay, so I have to admit that I am also in that "stay-at-home mom would be totally boring" club and somehow I don't think I'll be surprised to find that it's not

Amy@eatsleepdecorate said...

I know it won't be easy letting go. It will be a growing experience for you as a mom, wife and career women. You are amazing and will be able to balance it all for now. Life may throw you a surprise or two, but you are strong and have great support from not only your co-workers but your husband. Thinking of you throughout the next couple of weeks! XOXO


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