Yes, I'm going back to teaching next week. Part time, five days a week, 3 classes. I wasn't dreading this until a few days ago. I figured: part-time, I'll be a very balanced person. I'll have more time for everything. We found a great nanny-share situation, so I feel confident about this and it will make the transition easier. But the whole idea of not being with the being that I've been with pretty much nonstop for over a year (counting in-belly time) is a little daunting.
So I've been trying to slowly transition into a bit more separation to make it less painful. Don't worry, I go to the store occasionally without him. A few weeks ago Shannon and I had a date for our anniversary, and my parents watched O. It was actually kind of a comedy of errors, as both of us were not sure how we would feel about it. First, I put him down to sleep. We were in Newport, staying at a beautiful house with my parents, and we had the choice of an upscale place down the street that required reservations or something more casual. Even though it was our anniversary and we both love nice restaurants, I didn't feel like going to a nice restaurant. I said it's because I wanted a beer, but I think it was actually because I didn't want to feel bad if I said "can't do this, let's go home!" And I definitely didn't want a reservation to worry about. So we went to Rogue Brewery, were surrounded by families with kids, got mediocre food, and discovered that it was pub quiz night. I didn't know how to sign up and didn't really want to play, but that didn't stop me from blurting out the answers. We thought, hey, we'll go somewhere more upscale and "adult" for dessert. So after our non-romantic dinner, we tried four places for dessert, and everyone was CLOSED. It was 9:15. We would've just gone for a walk on the beach, but neither of us had brought a jacket in our disorganized exit. We ended up at this bizarre mish-mash old hippie converted barn joint sitting at "Wood" (the name of our table) which was like an old schoolhouse double desk. We sat at the far ends and couldn't touch, let alone hear each other. When we got home, Ollin was up, watching the Olympics because the neighbor's dog had woken him. He laughed at us with no concern for our worried hearts, and went on drinking his bottle from my mom. One down.
Last night I went out with old friends and left Shannon with Ollin. Again, I insisted on nursing him to sleep first. I was a little more adventurous and stayed out a little bit longer, but his face never left my mind's eye and my body carried itself the way of a mother newly away from her baby. At least I enjoyed showing off my temporary cleavage, and moving a bit more freely. I texted too much. I was home before he ever stirred.
I've considered not going back. What are my alternatives? Take a year off, try to do some kind of work from home, or put a lot of strain on my husband to be the sole bread winner, etc. I would consider other options if I didn't like my job. It sounds like much more stress and work to start a different job, even if there could be benefits later. I've also heard that working from home tends to be frustrating because you don't have uninterrupted time with work or with your child.
In my moms' group, people have said encouraging things like, it's not as hard as it seems, etc. All of us who must go back to work soon are worried. I suppose it would be strange if we didn't feel the separation; if the bonding is healthy, it's going to be hard. So I'm experiencing some guilt, some doubt, and some readiness. I did a trial run with childcare, work and pumping for a few hours, but
I'm sure I'll still cry the first day that it's real.