When J was born I was a single mom. Her dad being completely uninvolved and requiring a court order just to get him to support her. Even now he hasn't seen her since she was a month old. His choice, not mine. Needless to say I had to find ways to cope and deal with our situation with out going crazy. How did I do that?? I avoided dealing with a lot of issues. Instead I dove head first back into work when she was barely a week old, resulting in a very early introduction to daycare. In being honest I probably didn't even really bond with her until she was several months old because I went back so quickly. In those early days I did what I needed to in order to make sure she was taken care of. Fed, bathed, clothed her. You can't really play with an infant that young and I had never really been a cuddler. Did I love her?? With out a doubt. I'd have fought tooth and nail to protect her. I just didn't feel that connection that so many of my mommy friends talked about. And before you bash me I HAD to go back to work. We don't get paid leave and the bills don't just pay themselves. I did what I had to at the time.
When my mommy friends were talking about being emotional and near tears over going back to work I thought they were crazy. What could be so hard about leaving a baby who does nothing but eat, sleep, cry, and dirty diapers? Who wouldn't want a break from that? I swore I could never be the stay at home mom type. Seriously?? Stay home all day with them? No freakin way! I'd go crazy first....right?
I used to hear all the time "I have no idea how you do it!" quickly followed by "I could never do it myself". Do what? I was doing the same thing they were, taking care of a baby. Right? This concept though is two sided though. Pro's and con's both ways which I'll go into in a minute.
Still, somehow we survived and apparently I did something right. I'm now dealing with a 5 year old who can negotiate like the best salesman, often leaving me at a loss of what to do next. She's fearcely independent and likes things her own way. A product of her infancy/toddlerhood or quite possibly, the spitting image of me. I know a few people who laugh every time I say in exasperation "She won't stop arguing with me!" or "She's so stubborn". They are really quick to comment that it sounds fairly familiar to them or that all to famous phrase..."Wonder where she got that from". Grrr
So where am I going with all this?? With baby E things are completely and utterly different. Having to adjust has been some what of a trial in it's own right but I'm learning how to adjust. Today was a rough day where I was really thinking about all this. And ironically...crying my eyes out too. Definitely not a good thing when your driving down an interstate at 70mph. What brought it on?
I realized that I only have 15 days left before I return to work and baby E learned about the tough world of daycare. Well maybe not tough for him now, he has a little while before he'll care that another kiddo took his toy. Still, he's my baby. And I've gotta leave him with someone else while I go and slave away for a few measely dollars. For at least 8 hours a day I won't be the one that comforts him when he cries. I won't be the one who rocks him to sleep or changes the never ending dirty diaper. I won't be the one who gets warm all over when he smiles, even if it is due to gas. Hey, we take what we can get.
The difference between J and E....it really bugs me now. Not because I love E anymore than J. Not because he's more important or anything. It's because now I have the luxury of caring. I'll have had 6 weeks off work with him. I've been with him 24hrs a day since the day he was born. I've had the chance to bond with him in such a way that just the thought of him pulls a few heart strings. Now I can say that I know how my other mommy friends felt. And now instead of thinking they were crazy, I feel their pain. I sympathize with them and I feel like I could shed a tear for every single working mommy that has to leave their child.
Whats even crazier is I would now gladly stay home with both my kiddos every single day. Well J has school but you know what I mean. I want to see every last one of those firsts that he will have. I want to be the one that is there for him in every way he needs. I want to continue to be here every day when J comes home from school with time for her in the evening because cleaning and dinner is already taken care of. Not rushing around tryign to fit a days worth of work into a few hours at home. I'm no longer the mommy who was slightly detached as a way of coping with a situation. I'm a mommy who is going to cry, and cry, and cry some more the day I leave him in someone elses arms. I'll be the mommy who calls to check on him and takes time to adjust to not thinking of him every moment. **Sigh** I'm going to be an even better mommy. Treasuring every moment I am with my kiddos more than before. No longer taking for granted the few moments that we do have.