It’s Sunday morning and I’m sitting outside in the summer breeze with my gorgeous baby boy napping on my chest. Time is stopped and my soul is nourished. This moment is ours to keep forever.
Since my recent return to work, I’ve learned to live for these moments. “Weekend” holds a whole new meaning for me now. Until this point in my life, I never understood the pure elation of a Friday afternoon commute home from work, or the heartbreak of bedtime on Sunday night. The week days are a blur of activity- work, commute, daycare, dinner- but weekends, weekends are the windows looking into the heart of life. Weekends are the life force that propel our family through the chaos of day-to-day.
Going back to work has been, hands down, the biggest challenge of my life. I’d spent 11 weeks beginning to figure out my identity as a mother, and just as soon as I was starting to feel confidence and some sense of normalcy in our daily life, I was expected to start all over and find my identity as a full-time working mother.
I never imagined myself as a working mother with an infant child in daycare. Though I recognize the value of socialization for the little man, and the importance of child-free adult interaction for myself, my heart aches at the thought of missing even a second of his life. I deserve to be the one who gets to watch him grow and learn, not a stranger. The biggest irony in it all is that I pay someone else to do what I am the most capable of and so desperately want to do myself.
I’ve stopped asking other working mothers how they have learned to deal with this transition, because I can’t handle hearing their response. “It gets easier.” Its tough to hear because it is absolutely true. It does get easier. But that’s what breaks my heart so much. I never want it to be even a little easier to be away from my baby, because to me, that means that the incredible bond we’ve built over his first weeks of life is lessening. Yes, I know I am still his mother and that our bond will always be strong, but even this tiny shift in our dynamic is not one that I am ready for yet.
It is a new season in our lives. I know that, with time, we will figure out a way to conquer the seemingly insurmountable challenge of Monday through Friday with relative ease, but until then, I will just close my eyes, take a deep breath, and be thankful for the weekend. The soul-nourishing, time-stopping, beautiful weekend.