Wednesday, July 6, 2011

First Day Back

Yesterday was my first day back at work which meant I had to leave my precious little guy for the first time! Yes, I've left him before, but only for an hour here and there. Not for eight straight hours!! This day had been looming for twelve weeks, but during my last week I grew increasingly sad. I tried to be brave, but inside I was crying and on that final night, the flood gates opened. It all started with tears while feeding him his last bottle before bed which were followed by more tears as I reluctanlty crawled into bed. I cried to Joel that McKinley would forget me or resent me for leaving him. And I truly do have those fears. Will he eventually resent me for not being with him every day? Am I a horrible mother for not taking the time to figure what needed to be done in order to ensure I could stay home full-time? And I'm sure these fears will continue to haunt me over time.

To make matters worse, I watched a Beverly Hills 90210 re-run on Soapnet Saturday afternoon and it was the episode where Janet goes back to work after her maternity leave. Steve was the stay-at-home dad with Maddy. Having to work late one night, Janet came home to find a note from Steve and he signed it with handprints of both him and Maddy. That broke my heart, but what followed really hit home. She says to Steve, as she's rocking Maddy to sleep, that she hates she just missed an entire day of her daughter's life. That's where I began to bawl because that's exactly how I feel! I am missing every day of his life and it kills me to know I can't get that time back! Sure, I have evenings and weekends, but what am I, a divorced parent? No, I'm a working mother. It's seriously painful.

With all of that being said, I got up Tuesday morning, got dressed, packed up the car and drove McKinley across town to my parents house where they were eagerly awaiting his arrival. He "talked" all the way there, killing me softly with those tender coos, and then smiled sweetly as I carried him from the car to their front door. He had no idea that I was leaving him for the day and maybe he never truly knew I was gone. What I do know is that as I hugged him goodbye, choking back tears, it was one the hardest thing I was ever going to do. That of course is until I take him to his first day of kindergarten. But let's not get ahead of ourselves!

My work day went just fine. I teared up off and on during the day. I put up photos all over my cube and now my walls bleed McKinley! I limited my check-in calls so I wouldn't seem like an overprotective mother and so I didn't have to hear about all the things I was missing. And then it was finally 5:00! I eagerly packed up my belongs, walked quickly to my car and hurriedly drove across to town. Upon entry to my parents house, the three of them were on the couch reading "Scuffy the Tugboat". I leaned over the back of the couch to see his sweet little face and like a dog when they get excited, McKinley proceeded to crap his pants! I guess that's his way of greeting his mother!

After I cleaned up his messy diaper, he smiled and talked to me and told me all about his day. He got fussy for a bottle at exactly the same time my dad served up dinner, of couse. (I want to prefess this by saying that Joel was attending a work dinner so I stayed for dinner with my parents.) Around 7:30 or so, it was time to pack up and head home. I was ready to sit on my couch and relax with my baby boy. Instead, he fell asleep on the couch at my feet so I caught up on The Talk on my DVR. He roused around 9:00 for yet another feeding and I was happy to oblige. I cherish these moments more now than I did in the first 11 weeks because they are so few and far between. And then it was time for bed.

All in all, the day wasn't horrible. I survived and so did he. I will be honest, I've told Joel that we need to figure out a Plan B and soon. I honestly wasn't meant to be a working mother. Work was fine when it was a paycheck to fund clothing and entertainment. But now, for me, the paycheck isn't worth the time I am missing with my son. And Joel agrees. But for now, I am a working mother and will do my best to let McKinley know that I am with him even when I can't be right be his side.

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