Tomorrow I return to work after four and a half months of unemployment. Sometimes, if I look back, it feels like forever that i’ve been out of work. Other times, the time home with my son seems to have flown by. I was home with him for a third of his life. When I think of it that way, it seems both impossibly long and also kind of neat at the same time.
I never really saw myself as a stay at home mom and, the truth is, I was terrified being at home with Lenny all day, every day, like we were while on maternity leave. Only, this wasn’t maternity leave, and I wasn’t home with a newborn. Being at home all day with an older baby is completely different. We had more structure to our days, enjoyed more interactive play, and outings and play dates were the norm. I didn’t feel the isolation that I felt while on maternity leave, despite my initial fears when I lost my job.
Most importantly, I ended up being home to witness some of Lenny’s huge milestones. I was the one who started Lenny on solid foods, instead of sending him off to daycare with a bunch of options and hoping something worked. I was home when Lenny started consistently standing up, and then again when he walked for the first time. I’ll admit that, when I was working, that was my biggest fear–that his teachers at daycare would see him walk first before me. In fact, I was the only one in the room when he walked multiple steps for the first time. It was special.
Being back at work, I’ll miss our lazy mornings, when there was nothing that had to be done before the morning nap. I’ll miss visiting our local library with such regularity that the librarians now know Lenny’s name and notice when it’s been a few days since we were last there. I’ll miss walking to the farmer’s market, something we were never able to do because I would get out of work too late. I’ll miss holding Lenny for every nap time–call me crazy, but I didn’t mind. I’ll miss play dates with my sister and niece, seeing each other whenever we could. I’ll miss afternoon TV and, yes, even The Wiggles.
But, I am grateful to be returning to work. I’m excited to return to work I am familiar with, but with many challenges so I know I’ll grow and learn. I’m looking forward to Lenny being back in a daycare we know and trust, and for him to be in the company of kids his age all day. I’m looking forward to contributing to the family finances once again. Our bank account has missed me desperately, and going back to work could not come at a better time.
I suppose I feel that way about returning to work in general. Now is a great time for me to go back, and the last four and a half months were a perfect time for me to be home, too. As much as we could have used the money of a second income, I now consider my layoff a blessing in disguise. I got time home with my son that I never thought I’d get as a working mom, and at a perfect time in Lenny’s life. Even though I’m returning to work with the usual apprehension that comes with the unknown of a new job, I know that, with these changes, my family is destined for great things to come.