One week from today, I return to work. I'm dreading it with every fiber of my being.
Yes, there are lots of plusses.
We really (REALLY!) need the money. We did not have the savings to take a year off of work. That was never the plan. But as they say "God laughs at plans." We've borrowed from our retirement, we've lived in credit cards, we've played "shuffle the bills" to keep us out of bankruptcy and we've made it as best we can. God has seen us through. There's no way around it because we really only had enough money for about 4 months at home and we've managed to stretch that into 12. But we're officially at the end of our rope. If I don't go back to work now, we'll be bankrupt. Period.
Daycare will provide great socialization for Robbie. His therapists all agree that no amount of therapy or parent-lead activities can replicate the benefits of being surrounded by peers.
Regularly speaking to adults and seeing the outside world will be good for me as a person, as opposed to me as a mom. I really have become consumed with raising Robbie. And while I don't think that is a bad thing, I do miss the interaction with adults that doesn't center around a child.
At dinner with some friends (all of whom are infertile) I found myself struggling to have something to talk about that wasn't "God, Robbie just won't nap!" which really isn't what a bunch of infertile women want to hear about. It will be good to expand my horizons a bit.
But all of those benefits really pale in comparison to how incredibly sad I am to have to leave him. The longest I've been without him since he's come home from the hospital is about 6 hours. And that was only twice- once for a long medical test at the hospital and once out with some girlfriends. The only person who has ever babysat is my MIL and that was only an hour or so while David and I had a date.
And now I'm going to have to leave him for 9-10 hours a day. Most of his waking hours. Depending on which shift I work, we might have a couple of hours in the morning- mostly spent getting ready and working through his pukey time of day. Most days I'll get home just in time to put him to bed.
It breaks my heart to know there will come a day when he wants Julie (the daycare owner) or Katie (her assistant) instead of me.
And I know I'm so, so blessed to have spent a year with him. That is SO much more than most working American women get with their babies. But it still just doesn't feel like enough.
I worry, too, about germs. While we haven't lived in seclusion since May, we are still pretty careful about hand-washing and germ-spreading. And now he'll be in a daycare with 4 other small children who are too young to understand not to rub their snot on each other. He's GOING to get sick. There is just no way around it.
My biggest fear is that he gets sick and dies and I'll know that if only we could have managed our money better, I could have stayed home and he would have been okay. Yes, my mind is dark and twisty like that.
I think about little things, too. Will I get to see his first steps? Hear his first real word? Will I really get to know him?
My coworkers tell me things are slow at work and they're giving a lot of time off. I'll probably be taking a fair amount of it. But that is a catch 22 as well. The more I work, the more I earn, the faster we can pay off our (massive) bills and the closer I am to being able to stay home with his permanently. But that's such a lofty goal, so seemingly unattainable, that it's going to be hard to turn down the opportunity to come home and kiss his beautiful face when given the opportunity.
I know I'm not the first women in history to struggle with balancing work with child-rearing. I know many women truly embrace their jobs and love the productivity it brings and even find that the time away from their child makes them a better mother because they get a break. Maybe in time I'll feel the same way.
But right now? Right now I'm just sad. I'm going to miss him so much.