Let’s catch up, shall we?
In November my husband got offered a job in Maine and then next thing I knew it was New Year’s Eve and we were moving boxes into a rented house in below zero temperatures. (I say “we”, but it was mostly him because I spent most of December with the worst virus I’ve had in years, courtesy of daycare. And it was mostly him because we had a royal screw up with the movers, which is a whole other story.) At any rate, it was thus that I entered into the exhausting realm of stay-at-home motherhood. Now it’s six months later and good gracious, I have a one-year old that is trying to walk and talk and who, surprise surprise, has OPINIONS about things. Chiefly among these opinions are SIPPY CUPS MUST BE HURLED ON THE FLOOR, SLEEP IS FOR WUSSES, and KITTIES! DOGGIES! ELMO!
Let’s just say it’s been an adjustment.
The thing is, I hated going back to work after she was born; she was only 12 weeks old, I was still exclusively nursing her, she was so tiny, and it was so awful to spend so little time with her. We would get home at 6 and she would often fall asleep by 7, wiped out from daycare. I actually loved our 2 am feedings because it felt like sneaking in a little visit with her. I was really looking forward to having her all to myself again, if only for a little while until I could find a job.
As my dad used to say, be careful what you wish for – you just might get it.
There are parts of being home that I have loved, don’t get me wrong, but the first months were brutal. One of us would finally start feeling better and then the other one would get hit with something else. I was hell bent on nursing her through her first birthday, but by the end of January we were both done for various reasons and the subsequent hormone crash (and the completely misplaced and irrational guilt that only a mother would understand) kicked in. Then of course the weather was terrible and we were often trapped inside for days on end. There were still boxes that hadn’t been unpacked and the kitchen was a disaster and then THE BASEMENT FLOODED.
On top of all that I was job hunting while juggling a tiny bit of consulting work from my old job. To my surprise I found a number of jobs to apply to, but I will spare you my rant about the job postings looking for masters degrees and extensive experience (both of which I have) that paid less than what I was making…back in 2007. I will also spare you my rant about the lack of 9-5 jobs anymore, apparently we must be available nights and weekends now, and forget about telecommuting. (Given winters in Maine, I just don’t understand the lack of work from home options, other than some misplaced native pride in being able to drive through anything Mother Nature throws at us.) I will also spare you the disappointment over a job I thought I was a total shoe-in for and didn’t get, and how twice I was interviewed by women ten years younger than myself who left me to wonder, how did they get “there” while I am somehow still “here”?
(And, y’know, where exactly *am* I?)
Meanwhile, every time I left the house people thought my daughter was my grandson. Also every time I left the house there would inevitably be some older gray haired man wearing a plaid flannel jacket and a baseball cap talking in a slow, deep Maine accent and I would get that swooping, pit-in-my-stomach feeling because whoever he was that day, he wasn’t my dad.
It’s weird being home and still being homesick.
But you know what? Last weekend we were at the grocery store and I ran into a former coworker that I had not seen since I left Maine over 10 years ago. She practically fell over when I introduced her to my husband and daughter, and she said she didn’t recognize me because I looked so happy. I’m not 100% sure she wasn’t just being nice, I expect a lot of it had to do with the fact that I used to have super long dark hair and now it’s short and decidedly silver gray. But I was pretty miserable back then. And despite all the ridiculous stuff, I’m pretty happy now.
I also go back to work in a few weeks.
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