I recently took the plunge back to work after the birth of baby #3. Sure, he’s four now. But that doesn’t matter.
We did the necessary “stuff” to prepare, the preschool tours, the practice of going to bed and waking up early, convincing each other how great it would be as I filled out the mountain of paperwork.
I had an epiphany two nights before I was to start at an office job. My heart was pained with the thoughts of 8+ hours away from him. In that moment I realized that his scent is like a drug to me, his smile gives me euphoric responses. His laugh a high.
Some people use heroin or alcohol. Me, I hug my children and hold on too tight. I didn’t realize it before, or in this way, but they fill me up. All those empty, scarred spaces that others use drugs to fill. My children do that for me.
But, I had to ask myself at what cost?
Am I holding on too tight? Is he going to be able to go to kindergarten if I don’t push him into preschool this year? Is he going to stop needing me? Will he move out and go to college someday? Or am I adversely shaping his future by being too afraid to let him grow?
Parenting is hard.
With my first born there wasn’t an option to stay home for long post partum, we were young and didn’t have the money to think twice. After my second, my daughter, I was fortunate to be home for the first two years, the transition back to work and into childcare was hard, there were tears by both of us, many times. After a little time we fell into a nice rhythm, I was happy to be back in the category of “working mom” and she was making friends. But, four years home with my final baby, four years of not being able to pee in privacy or set on the couch without him in my lap has made that addiction powerful.
My job started the 6th of July. I almost didn’t go. Every. Day. Since. But, I’m in now, I know letting him go is better for him, and so that’s better for me.
Unless of course he needs a good cuddle, I’ll call in. We often say babies need their mamas, I realize I needed them just as much.