I went back to work a few days ago after a four-and-a-half-month-long pregnancy/maternity leave.
I had mixed feelings about it at first for a few reasons. My boys need 24 hour care… but it doesn’t have to be solely my responsibility. Pigpen doesn’t like being bottle fed (even though it’s still my milk)… but he can learn. Our family doesn’t need any more money… but I enjoy the break in my day to do other work with other people.
I made my decision and I’m glad that I went back for even more reasons. We get free childcare from my mother-in-law for the four hours we need it during the week. I feel like I’m contributing more — to my family and my workplace. Pumping at work isn’t so bad. And Andrew gets some quality time with the boys.
I like being a mother (actually, I like it more than I thought I would), but that doesn’t mean that I should do everything for my children by myself. That’s not a good balance — for myself or for the well-being of my children.
That said, I had a weird experience right before I went back. I felt like I needed to be prepared. And to be prepared, I felt the urge to buy things. I needed a 2016 datebook. I had to replace my hole-y shoes (done). Did I have all of the workplace-appropriate clothing I would need? Did I have all of the office supplies I would need?
Of course I did. Besides a datebook for the new year, I had everything I needed. I’d done the job before!
But even though I’ve done the job before and I knew my supervisor would be understanding about me getting back into the swing of things slowly, I was nervous. I was nervous that I’d forgotten everything, that pumping would be a pain, that Pigpen would go so crazy about the bottle that he’d hurt himself somehow.
These were all somewhat silly things to be nervous about and, most importantly, I didn’t really have much control over them. I needed to jump in and trust and see how things went, and then, if they did go badly, fix it when I had more information. There was nothing I was going to prematurely “fix” or avoid by buying something.
It was eye-opening to realize that it was my fear of the unknown that led me to feel the urge to buy myself some protection, some pacification. Just knowing that, I felt better about letting the unknowns happen on their own and taking it from there. I could buy something when I really needed it, if I really needed it, to fix a problem. But, so far, there haven’t been any problems. So no need to buy anything.
My job even provided me with a new 2016 datebook for free.
All is well.