Return to Normal?

I have now officially returned to work. My daughter is now 12 weeks old and I spent those 12 weeks out on maternity leave, some paid and some unpaid. I was able to be home with my daughter for her first Halloween (althoughwe were still in the hospital since she was born on 10/30), her first Thanksgiving, her first Christmas and her first New Year’s  Eve. I was home to cuddle with my little one, kiss her toes and snuggle her cheeks. I nursed her in the beginning and then moved her to formula (breastfeeding was not right for us), I changed all of her diapers and gave her baths. I would love to say that I loved every minute of it, but then I would lying. I love MOST of it. I was happy to have that time with her but when my 12 weeks was up I was ready to go back to work. I am a very social person and I am not the type that can be a stay at home. I give so much credit to those that can but I could never do it. I need to be out and about with other adults, dealing with things not related to my children. Don’t get me wrong, I love my daughter more than anything but I also believe that parents need to have lives that don’t revolve around their children 24/7. Yes, 90% of the time your life should be about your children but you need that 10% to keep you from going crazy.  Going back to work, joining the gym and returning to church are just that for me. They have become the 10% of my time that I get for me. Work allows me to focus on things other than my daughter, to challenge my brain and use it so I don’t become stupid. The gym allows me to decompress after work or after my daughter has been screaming for an hour and won’t nap. Church allows me to reconnect with myself, my faith, my center after the craziness of a week of work, the gym and Fiona.

At first I felt guilty for being ready to go back to work (after only 6 weeks of maternity leave.) People would ask me, “How can you want to leave your baby?” But the thing is, it was not a desire to LEAVE my child, but a desire to return to myself. A desire to return to and finish the things I began before my daughter was born. I want to be able to give my daughter the world but to do that I need to work hard to provide for her and I need to remain calm and sane. I still have my dream of going to grad school and to further my career. Having a daughter has not changed any of those dreams. She has just added to my love and desire for great things. Call me a terrible mother if you want to but I think I am doing just fine.

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