I have two weeks left of my maternity leave. Sophie will be ten weeks old when I go back to work. I know that is four weeks later than many other moms have to leave their babies, but it still seems way too early to me! With Emma, I didn't go to work until she was sixteen months old. I was there for her first word, her first steps, first solid food, first everything. I am so afraid of missing one of these milestones with Sophie! I also worry about how she will be taken care of (not at first, my amazingly wonderful mother has offered to stay with her for several weeks until she is a bit older). No matter how good a babysitter might be, or how long we've known her, no one can care for a baby like her parent (or grandparent).
Oddly enough, when Emma was smaller I never wanted to be a stay at home mom. She was always Daddy's girl - she loved me, too, but unless she was hungry (nursing) she wanted her Daddy. That didn't change for many years, either. She just didn't seem to NEED me as much. She loved her daycare and was even a bit spoiled there. When she started school, homework night was one of the two nights a week I was working so she didn't need me for that, either.
Once she moved into middle school, though, things changed. Homework is harder and more involved. I can no longer trust she finishes it at the babysitter's house. By the time we get home from work and picking her up, it's dinner time, then bath and bedtime for her. We don't have time during the week to just catch up, relax, enjoy each others' company. I miss that.
Now we have Sophie. The past eight weeks have been wonderful. I have time with her during the day, time for myself when she naps, then time with Emma in the afternoons. I help her with her homework, we talk, we play, we do things together. She has time to go outside and play. We're more relaxed. We eat better meals, and earlier so we have time for family time after dinner.
Don't get me wrong - I love my job and will enjoy being back at work. It is challenging, and interesting, and I work with a lot of wonderful people who I miss interacting with. But I also have a financial obligation to my family to go to work. We just can't do without my salary in the mix.
But if one of us came across a winning lottery ticket, guess where I'll be...