With my last two babies, I was gainfully employed and afforded the opportunity for a three month maternity leave. Of course after my wonderful maternity leave, I had the agony of going back to work. And no matter how invested you are in your job, which I was, and how committed you are to going back, which I also was, it still stings going back to work. So this time around, I have the pleasure of not having to make that journey back to work and deal with the pain of leaving a new baby. However, I also don’t get a “maternity leave.”
These past two weeks (going into our third week now), Adam has used vacation days to be able to spend time at home helping us all get acclimated. In my mind, it has been my “maternity leave.” It’s not that I’m getting uninterrupted time with my new baby, nor the ability to nap all day long (luxuries I was able to have during my prior maternity leaves). It’s just that I have had the chance for a lighter load, some extra help and to ease into this three child juggling act.
This last week of the three, although horrendously sad and scary at the prospect of him going back to work, is the most delightful of the three week “maternity leave.” It’s delightful on several levels. For one, the kids are back on their schedules. So there will be time that Adam and the kids will be simultaneously out of the house and hopefully allow for some extra snuggle time as well as shut eye with Noah. And then probably the best part is the fact that Adam will get a much better understanding of the exhaustion and struggles with shuffling the kids all around town.
It’s not that Adam isn’t already a sympathetic, understanding person because he most definitely is. It’s just that I try very hard to paint the picture of what our days and weeks are like, and now he will be able to experience it all first hand. He won’t have laundry to throw in when he walks in the door or dinner to start during “quiet time” or the variety of other things I try to balance in the mix. But he will, however, see what drop off is. He will experience the mad dash to ballet. He will know Coach Ken when I talk about Drew’s basketball coach. Etc. etc.
So bring on the naps! Look out Noah, I expect some serious oogling. Because we are entering my last and best week of “maternity leave.” It better be the best week because I have the sneaking suspicion that the week to follow may be big time painful. The following week is going to have tons of sleep deprivation while managing three kids solo and it’s possible I may fall asleep during any attempt to oogle. For now I’m going to enjoy the last of my maternity leave because any way you look at it I still have to go back to work (it’s just a different type of work now).