I go back to work on Tuesday.
“Conflicted” doesn’t even begin to describe how I feel.
I have to go back. I don’t have a choice. The little things like health insurance, retirement plans, and, well, a paycheck, make it necessary for me to go.
But, if I had a choice, if money and benefits were not an issue, would I want to stay home?
Actually, no. At least not full time.
I feel guilty even typing that.
Don’t get me wrong. I love being here with Maggie. I’ve fully enjoyed the time I was able to be off. I was thankful that by having a C-section, my doctor wouldn’t release me to return to work for 8 weeks, and then I had 2 weeks of vacation time that I was able to use so that I could have a full 10 weeks with my baby. And I know that when we drop her off at day care, I’ll cry and spend a good portion of the day missing her. I’m tearing up now just thinking about it.
But I need more of a challenge, I guess you could say. Not that raising a child isn’t challenging enough, but I sometimes feel the need for “shop talk” that doesn’t revolve around children. I need more adult interaction, a reason to wear something nicer than jeans, someplace to go where I can take a purse instead of a diaper bag.
And I feel so selfish wanting that.
I know that by the end of next week (if not sooner), I’ll be longing for the days to be like they’ve been for the past two months. The novelty of returning to work will wear off quickly. I’m only the third woman at my company to have a child since it was founded over 15 years ago and will be the first one to come back; the other two quit after their children were born. Most of the people I work with are older than me, and most are men. With the exception of a few, no one’s really going to want to hear me blather on about Maggie. There will soon be a such a sharp division between “work” and “home”, and I know that will irritate me to a degree.
I’m a fairly organized person (just don’t look in my basement or garage, because either one would totally blow your mind). But my organization skills are going to be put to the test once I go back to work. Being off work, I’ve been able to keep the house somewhat clean. I’m almost always caught up on laundry (but I love doing laundry, so don’t let that depress you if you have mounds of it to do). I’ve been able to spend time blogging. I started my Christmas shopping, something I usually don’t do until mid-December. I even cooked a real dinner every once in awhile (and I freaking HATE to cook).
But once I go back, that will all change. And quickly. Just the thought of getting up in the morning, getting Maggie up/dressed/fed, making bottles to go with her to day care, getting showered and dressed, packing my lunch, and getting out the door by 7:15 at the absolute latest makes me want to curl up in a ball. Figuring out how to get the house clean, the laundry done, errands and grocery shopping accomplished, and meals made is going to be a juggling act. I’ll have about 2 precious hours each day to spend with Maggie during the week, and I’m already feeling a little bitter about that. There won’t be enough hours in the day.
I’m whining, I know. So many people do this. People with more job responsibilites and longer hours. People who travel for their job and don’t even have the chance to spend 2 hours a day with their children. People with more children. People with children that don’t sleep as much or as soundly as mine does at night. People who don’t have a spouse that is willing to help. People that don’t have a spouse at all.
I know it will all work out. That we’ll get into a routine. That some things will be sacrificed (such as cleaning the bathrooms, because I hate cleaning bathrooms). We’ll find our balance. We’ll find our groove. We’ll hit the lottery. OK, maybe I’m stretching it on that last one.
But right now, I’m overwhelmed. I want to work. I want to stay home. I don’t know what the hell I want.
So, I guess the ideal situation would be for me to work part-time, get paid what I do now (or more . . .) for working full-time, retain my health benefits and retirement plan and stock options, and have the flexibility to work when I want. Then I could still have a lot of the day to spend with Maggie and wouldn’t have to put her in (or pay for) day care. Is that too much to ask, really?
OK, back to reality!