I took this picture last weekend when Ava and I were hanging out together when I watched the Indy race qualifications on TV while Aaron was a the Track. It reminds me of our precious time together.
I'm 2 and 1/2 weeks into the working mom-mode. Logistically, it's busy, but manageable because I'm a plan-ahead, organized person. But, emotionally, it's rough. The first day, I left Ava at daycare I called Aaron for support. He's been leaving her every day for work since she was born so I thought he'd have some helpful coping tools. He told me that because I'm the one that's been spending every moment with her and carried her during pregnancy it's harder to be separated. Aaron put words to what I was feeling inside. It's always different for the mom. Dads bond like crazy with the baby, but moms bond so intensely. After all the maternal instinct is what protects a species!
It's unnatural for a mom to be separated from her baby at 8 weeks or even 6-months. The first 12 weeks of a baby's life is more likely a "4th trimester" needing transition time to be out in the world. I've said this before...new moms need technology (aka breastpump + gear) to be separated from their babies. If a nursing mom doesn't pump every 3 hrs, she's at risk for losing her milk supply, which prevents her baby from even nursing at night and weekends when they're together. I'm lucky to have a nice spot at the office to pump. This is why many moms have to wean earlier than they planned from nursing because they put off time to pump because of work schedules or their less inspired (totally understandable)! Like many working moms, I have a regular "meeting" in my calendar to pump and fit it in when I'm at offsite meetings, wherever. I have sweet pictures of Ava on my iPhone that I look at when I'm pumping and it helps me reconnect with her, but often times it makes me sad because I miss her terribly.
In our family, we need both incomes to accomplish our lifestyle and savings goals. Maybe in the future it will be different. I know she's ok at daycare and even having fun socializing with babies her age! We picked a Christian daycare center only 10 minutes from the house and I take her there every day. The first 4 weeks back at work are easier. I'm working 1 day a week in the office and the rest from home. I take her to daycare a half day so I can work while she's at daycare. Like I said, logistically, we have a good system.
I NEVER thought I'd be a mom that would want to quit her job and stay home with the baby. Being a mom is a full-time job. No joke, it is! And I have another job that I'm proud of and work hard for, but it's different now. I have to leave work exactly at 5pm to get up to my daycare not only because they close at 6pm and I nurse her when I arrive, but because I'm DYING to see her. Working on the weekends is really hard for me to justify since we have so little family time together. So when I'm at work, I'm laser focused to do what I need to do. My organization and efficiency skills help.
Sometimes I think that it's no different from even stay-at-home moms that take their small children to preschool or kindergarten. It's heart-wrenching to them, but they know they have to let go so they can go to school and explore on their own. And then when their children leave home for college, there's another time when you have to let go. I've gotten a taste of the bittersweet side of parenting that you've created a human that you love so much, who will grow into an independent person and you'll have to "butt out" when the time is right. My in-laws really have this down. (Seriously, they're a great example of this).
When you ask working moms how their doing, they may tell you something to gloss over it or even if they say it's hard, you have NO idea how hard until it happens to you. Holy cow! Ava knows I love her because she smiles at me when we're together. She will come to know her schedule that mommy or daddy will come pick her up after she's had her day. I love that Ava is socializing and learning age-appropriate activities, but being her mom and leaving her at 10 weeks old, is MISERABLE. These emotions are hard wired, intense, and all encompassing. But, I know that being apart really makes me enjoy my time with her even more.