I really have less than eight weeks until I go back to work part-time. I’m not really excited about going back, but I’m also not completely dreading it. I can’t dread it because it’s my choice.
Some moms can honest-to-goodness not afford to stay home with their babies. And for the ones in that category that wish they could, I feel sad. A lot of moms don’t realize they actually can afford to stay home if they want, and for them, I hope they figure it out before it’s too late and their children turn thirty. And for moms who just love love love to work work work and leave their kids with caretakers all the time? I can’t really relate, but that’s their prerogative. If they’re happy, I’m happy for them.
So where do I fit in? Well, first of all, I love my baby with all my heart. I kiss her face eight million times a day and she gives me exasperating looks that make me kiss her eight million more times. I’ve been away from her for a total of less than two hours, and during those times, I could physically feel the anxiety. I know that going back to work will be tough on me, and maybe her.
Yes, my family can afford to live on just my husband’s salary. It would be difficult at times, but doable. We’ve recently cut our cable and telephone bills in half, started eating at home almost exclusively, used a coupon here and there, and are becoming cloth-diaperin’ fools. I’m sure there are more ways to cut our spending, and I hope to still find them. But I also want to go back to work to earn money for our family. It’s our plan to put my paychecks directly into savings. This will still force us to live on just my husband’s salary, while having the money to take the trips we’ve already started planning in our heads, to buy a different car when we want/need to, to help put Mary (and future kids) through college. In retrospect, we could’ve and perhaps should’ve saved more before having a baby. But we enjoyed eating out, going to Europe, and furnishing our home.
Going back to work when she’s still pretty little (she’ll be sixteen weeks old) is something I never thought I would do. My life’s plan pretty much consisted of graduating, getting married, having babies, waiting until the last was in school, then working full- or part-time. But now I think it makes sense to me to work some while she’s this age (and an only child). She’s not old enough to be playing sports that I may miss due to work. And she doesn’t have younger siblings that would make finding great childcare difficult or cost-prohibitive.
And speaking of childcare, Mary will be so lucky to have such wonderful people to watch her. First of all, her daddy will get in some great bonding time. Because Mark works such a kooky schedule, he’ll be around when I’m at work on a weekday. And during my weekend shifts, both of Mary’s grandmas and two of her aunts have said that they would be happy to help out! I’m so relieved that I can leave her with trustworthy people. In fact, if the scheduling hadn’t worked out like it’s going to, I don’t think I’d be going back at all. The way it looks to be falling into place has been really reassuring to me.
I have a pretty intense to-do list before I head back to work, but the most important thing to me is to soak up and enjoy my 24/7 Mary time.