What am I in for?

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I go back to work in about 10 days. I don’t even have words for how I feel about leaving my baby girl. I honestly don’t think I’m cut out to be a stay at home mom, but at the same time, leaving her at this stage just feels a thousand kinds of wrong. I just wish I could have a bit more time.

To make matters worse, Charlotte has reached a point where she just wants me. No one else can calm her when she’s upset. It’s honestly pretty awful. If she’s screaming, it will just continue to escalate until she’s in my arms. I was in denial about it for a few weeks, insisting it was just coincidence that she’d settle when I took her, but it’s pretty clear at this point that it’s not a coincidence.

I’m so afraid of what’s going to happen when I leave her all day. I’m afraid she’s going to cry all day and think I’ve abandoned her. I’m afraid her caregivers (my parents on Mondays and a nanny Tuesdays-Thursdays) are going to be frustrated and tell me they can’t handle it.

And as much as that frightens me, I’m equally afraid of how it’s going to feel when she adjusts to my absence (because I know she will) and it’s no longer my touch that calms her.

I’ve been lucky to add a few extra weeks onto the 12 (ish) weeks of leave that we get in California, but it just doesn’t feel right that I have to leave her at this age. We’re still figuring out this whole mommies and baby relationship. We’re still figuring out breastfeeding (more on that later). We’re still figuring out how to have a life AND a baby. It’s just too soon.

I know I’m being a bit of a drama queen about this. I know that people leave their babies and go to work every day. The three of us will adjust to this new change with some time. I think the hardest part is just that this is it. This is the last time in her entire life that I will have this much time with her. From here on out, it will be a day here and there and a week maybe a few times a year. That’s just so sad to me. At least Catch will be with her during school breaks. That’s something, I suppose.

I was talking to my lactation consultant the other day, and she told me that this is why she changed careers. She had been involved in production at Disney, but after she had her (IVF) twins, she realized she needed more time with them so she started on a new path. That really speaks to me.

My company has changed over the fifteen years that I’ve worked there. We’ve gone from being small and family-oriented with a female-heavy executive team to large, corporate, and male-dominated. I know that when I return to my position having now added “mom” to my resume, that change is going to be more evident than ever. I really worry about how it’s going to be for me when I have to duck into the closet to pump every few hours or the first time I balk at working late or traveling.

These are all things that only time can provide answers (or relief) for. In the meantime, I am trying my hardest to put it out of my mind and enjoy every last moment of these ten days with my beautiful girl. (It would help if she would PLEASE SLEEP FOR THE LOVE OF GOD.)

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21 thoughts on “What am I in for?

  1. My heart hurts for you. No mama should have to leave their babies when they are so little to go back for the almighty dollar. I wish the US had already reformed the parent leave policies.

    I will say this – does C mostly cry and become inconsolable when she knows you’re an option? I mean, if you’re not home, does she settle okay with someone else? Even when she gets comfortable with other people calming her, you will always be her #1. I promise she’ll always choose your comfort over anyone else’s. (and Catch too).

    • I’m really not positive at this point because I’ve been pretty available. We had an awful screaming incident when I went to Target a few weeks ago, but she was ok when I went to the grocery store. She will often settle if you shove a bottle in her mouth, but the breastmilk isn’t exactly abundant, so her caregivers are only going to be able to rely on that to a point. I’m hoping I can leave her with my mom for a bit this weekend just to see how it goes. Fingers crossed.

  2. Aww this was so sad to read. I don’t know how women do it. I have never experienced leaving my infants for work as we made the decision years ago I would stay home and raise our children. I do know had I been forced back into the work world I don’t know if I would be cut out for it. There are the few strong ones that can, I think Charlotte will do great in good time. There may be a tiny adjustment period, but she will be just fine. They say infants can smell their mothers scent even if they are ten feet away. I bet when your gone she won’t have that desire for you to be the “only” one to console her. She’s also very young, it’s perfectly natural that she would want you or catch only. I’m sending all my thoughts your way. Being a stay at home mom is very hard full time. There’s ups and downs just like working full time. I think it’s not about the quantity but quality, just treasure all the moments you all have together at home and know Charlotte has two amazing role models with a strong work ethic to lead her by great example.

  3. Aww, yes, it is sad to leave them with someone else when they are so little. I went back to work when my girl was 10 weeks old, it sucked but sucked less as time went on. I totally get the career change thing, I quit work after a few months because being gone 50+ hrs a week was too much, I need a career where part time is possible.

  4. I’m always appalled by the fact that so many of mamas have to go back to work so early. The transition will be hard, but I am sure that everything will work out in the end. It’s just unfair to not get to be with her when you’re still working things out together.

  5. Women do it every day, like you said, and every time I hear from one who is it’s the same struggle (or at least similar). I was a mess and most of my work hours were remote at 12 weeks pp! It is not right that we have to leave our babies when they are so little. I will be thinking of you these next couple of weeks and hoping things settle out with Charlotte’s wanting of you.

  6. Leaving your babies is hard there no doubt about that. But seeing that smile and reaction that you get when you return is heart melting! We have a goal to get me working within the school system by the time the twins start kindergarten. That way I am home with everyone on school breaks because it is no fun during Christmas and summer when I am the only one leaving he house.

  7. It’s so hard and unfair that you’re offered so little time. That said, she will be fine with the people who take care of her. She’ll bond with them, love them, and be comforted by them– while still loving you every bit as much.

  8. You’re not being a ‘drama queen’ – it’s f’ing HARD to leave your baby! Just this morning, as I was nursing A before heading to work, I had the clear thought that I should just NOT go to work and spend the day with him. I don’t know if I could hang with being a SAHM (I do love cooking and baking and even cleaning, so I actually think I might be ok) but I do know I love my job and that we get shit leave here. It’s all so messy. Soak up every last minute and know that she will need you regardless. I’ve been back at work since June and A just started not going to sleep at night unless it’s with me so . . .you know, it comes and goes, for better or worse!

  9. I think the anticipation of going back is harder than actually going back. It was for me at least.

    It’s so hard. It would be weird if it wasn’t.

    The advice I heard and has seemed to be true for me is that kids are different when they are at daycare. They only want you when you are around, because when they see you and know you are there, they want to be held by you, etc. But at daycare they do okay because you aren’t in the immediate vicinity.

    When we are home, Wolfie pretty much just wants me. I had a great deal of guilt about this for awhile, feeling bad that he would get fussy easily with his dad. But according to everyone I’ve talked to about it, it’s totally normal and expected. Even still, he does great at daycare and is pretty content to hang with the ladies there.

  10. This is brutal. I know that Bumbi has benefitted from daycare for social reason alone. The fact that I didn’t even have her till she was 4 months old and didn’t get any bonding time with her probably negates any advice I could possibly give, so I won’t. But I am sending you a virtual hug. Bumbi has been going to daycare for 2 years now and there are still times that drop off is brutal and hard and I want to call in sick but I have been forced to muscle through it. I do get videos and pictures of her during the day from her shadow so that helps, but shadow will be phasing out soon…Anyway, I am truly sorry.

  11. Ugh. I’m sorry sweetie. I decided that I couldn’t do it. I feel like C would have adjusted and been ok-I was the one who couldn’t handle it. And I didn’t want her to have to share the attention with a ton of other babies, but it sounds like you guys have a pretty good situation-lots more one on one care!

    My C is inconsolable lately without me too. Like if her dad is taking care of her while I’m at the firm it’s a nightmare for him. I keep hoping it’ll get better. But so far not so much. And she’s gotten absolutely awful about taking a bottle. She’ll just starve herself until I get home. This is all probably because I just work one afternoon a week so she doesn’t really have to adjust (in her eyes).

    Many hugs to you. I’m glad you got at least a few extra weeks. Our country is the worst.

  12. I really hear you about the sadness going back to work. I’m really suffering for it already and still have a couple of weeks too. Career change sounds like a plan I wish we could afford. I am thinking of paying down all our IF/RPL and IVF debt and changing my work situation come hell or high water. Babies for me have been a major game changer. If I could stay home for a couple of years I certainly would.

    A has been doing the only-me thing for a while but recently it became true only in the evenings. Of course I’m with him all day so I have worries about this too. I am sure it has occurred to you as it has to me that crying use up a lot of calories and will not help with our efforts to get these string bean babies to gain weight either. Thinking about all of this just makes me want to cry!

  13. I don’t know why, but I thought you guys were in Canada and I was reading your posts for the last whole wondering why you were heading back so soon. Now I realize your in Cali 😞, which is great but I agree: mothers should get more time in the US.

    I have no words of wisdom, only comfort. It sounds like you have great care lined up and I know you and Catch will make the moments count, every day. This period of time will likely be intense but you have all of us to vent to and process when you need to, plus all our support 😀. Good luck with the little steps towards easing her in to being away from you for longer periods of time. Thinking of you.

  14. I don’t know if taking a little more time is an option? But for me the difference between leaving my 6 month old and (considering) leaving my 3 month old was staggering. By 6 months I just felt like she was sturdy and less fragile and even though it sucked to be away from her, it didn’t feel like my heart was literally being ripped out and stomped on.

  15. Going back to work absolutely sucks! Like beyond sucks!!! Leaving your babies is the worst thing. But you said it, you adjust to this new way. It doesn;t get easier leaving every morning, but coming home at the end of the day, with all that love waiting for you, that is an amazing feeling. 3 month leave just isn’t long enough. The US needs to get it together! at least 6 months leave, at a minimum. I feel for you friend…hugs to you…

  16. Hugs, It is so hard. Our little guy would scream unless he was with me too, still does sometimes. Somehow they do adjust to different caregivers though. Not sure if it’s a possibility for you, but we made sure our nanny knew that if he was crying for more than 5 minutes to let us know and we’d come home. I had to go back at 8 weeks and it was way too early for all 3 of us.

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