I've had friends who went back to work after maternity leave and quit on arrival. Then I have friends who do just fine and can't imagine staying home all day taking care of a baby. I was positive I'd be in the latter category. Without a doubt.
Then Henry happened.
Don't get me wrong. There are days when I watch Shea shower, get dressed and drive off to work and envy seeps from my pores. There are days when he chatters on about his meetings, successful calls, jokes with coworkers and lunch with clients and then I bitterly report that my biggest accomplishments for the day were showering and unloading half the dishwasher. Oh, and I kept a human being alive.
But when I think about returning to work in a month, the dread suffocates me and knots my stomach. Because even the hard days are awesome.
I am the one who gets to see his smiley face each morning. I see the little changes in him everyday - the way he has found his hands, the little bubbles of drool that are starting to form, the scratch on his face, the way he has learned to flap his arm in the direction of a toy. When he wakes up from his nap, it's me he smiles at as if he hasn't seen me in weeks.
I know he'll always love his mama, and that he'll still want me (and his daddy) most. But I don't want anyone else to see the little changes first. I don't want to be sitting in a stale board meeting while he's smiling at someone else. And good grief, who wants to pump in the bathroom?
Right now we've decided I need to go back, at least for awhile. Though hopefully not until after Thanksgiving.
But oh what I would give to unload half the dishwasher and cuddle with my baby all day, every day.