This is the last week of my eight week maternity leave. One one hand I’m ready to get back to feeling “normal” and being around adults, and on the other hand… it feels like I’m leaving my baby for money.
Basically, I had a minor breakdown at the beginning of the week when I realized I’ll be leaving Penny soon. The anxiety I have over leaving her peaked and I spent a lot of time crying. I’ve spent every day of my maternity leave with her and this past weekend was the first time I left her for an extended period since I was in a wedding that weekend.
Honestly the bond we have and the strong feelings I have for her caught me off guard. I hate staying home and I struggle with it even now but the feelings I have about taking care of her overrule those feelings. I want to be around her and be her main caregiver. Before she came into the world I assumed I’d be ready to go back to work at 6 weeks but here I am mourning that I’m only taking off 8.
Unfortunately, finances are a big part of going back to work (as well as my physical health, mental health, identity, etc… working is good for me). We need me to work full time to afford our desired lifestyle and financial goals. Right now we are not paying enough in childcare to justify losing a full salary. Surviving on just salary right now would be that – just surviving. It’s not what we want for ourselves or for Penny.
I love to work and always have had some type of job or business pursuit so not working at all will never be on the table for me. I may one day be able to work less, to work part time, or to go to some sort of self-employment situation. But for now? I must work full time and that means I must leave my little one.
Luckily we have sorted out a great situation for her childcare wise. She will be in an in-home daycare along with her cousins for several days a week and then have two days with grandmas. I’ll miss her a ton I already know, but I’m confident she will be fine and happy. She will get to grow up much closer to her cousin than if I was watching her alone and she gets precious time with grandmas that love her. Knowing these things makes leaving easier… even if I have already shed many tears over the concept.
I’ve been told that being a working mom gets easier. That it hurts so much at first and there will be a lot of tears on my end, but eventually it gets better and much easier. She will start to love her daycare friends and adore the people watching her. I know this period is going to be harder on me than it is on her… but I can’t wait for it to feel easier.