Today has been my reentry day. The whole thing didn’t play out the way I thought but you would think I’d be used to that by now. I honestly didn’t think I’d get all emotional and weepy. I did. It wasn’t as bad today as yesterday for some reason, and at least I quit crying before I got to work. There was also this huge sense of relief. And then guilt for being relieved. Stella cried when I left which surprised me. Then I felt guilty for not being as sad to leave her as I was to leave Felix. It’s a mess.
I need to work. It’s not just a financial thing. I think that otherwise I don’t know how to balance myself as a mom. I get too consumed with my kids, and while that’s not a bad thing, I think it’s ultimately a bit unhealthy for me and by extension for them. I can’t seem to just take off and leave them and do something for myself the way I’m “supposed” to. As much as I daydream about Will and I going camping again or off to New Orleans for the afternoon or evening, I hate the idea of leaving my children. As much as I sometimes would love to knock back a few mixed drinks, I can’t/won’t do it. Even if I were willing to pump and dump (wasting milk), who else will get up with them at night if/when they need me? On those occasions when Will has offered to watch them so I can go out, I have nowhere to go. I won’t wander aimlessly and waste gas and money. So sure, at work my time is not technically my own, but I have more liberties than I do at home. I can pee when I want to. I can actually sit down and eat. With a fork and knife. Wow.
In a perfect world where I’m independently wealthy, I’d stay home for a few years but only with the caveat that I would have part-time help to do things like take the kids places to do things. It’s the sitting around all the time that’s the killer. We could take art/dance/karate/gymnastics lessons together. We could stop at Whole Foods for neat exotic fruits and go to the park for picnics whenever we wanted. But it’s not a perfect world. The world will get better as it is, however. I’m getting better at juggling. Stella is sometimes behaving better. Felix is getting stronger. Soon I will be one of those moms who can take her kids to the zoo or the bookstore – alone – and everyone will not only survive but get some enjoyment out of it. I’m anxious for those days to come although I hate that my little ones will have to get older to do it. I love them little.
There is also a nasty little part of me that’s enjoying this morning. Will has been a bit shall we say unsettled. He’s had both kids only a few times and that was for 30 minutes or so. Maybe an hour, max. He’s never had to feed and dress them both solo. Today was a big shock to him. I’ve had a quite a few calls and texts so far. I think there have been moments over the past 10 weeks where he got impatient at my impatience and couldn’t empathize with how trapped and edgy I would feel, particularly by the end of a week. Maybe he’ll be a little kinder now when he remembers this time period and why his wife suddenly became a bit needier and crazier. I just really don’t think men get it (OK, OK. Women, too, for those stay-at-home dads out there). Sure you have stress at work but it’s a whole different ball game at home with the kids. I’ve had days where I’ve had meetings with attorneys and elected officials that got nasty and wasn’t worn out or full of self-doubt as a bad day at home with 2 little people who seem inconsolable or wild.
So it’s back to the real world for me. And just when I adjust, Stella will go to school. That will set a whole new set of emotions off, but all in good time…