“It must be bittersweet.”
“How are you holding up?”
“You poor dear.”
Seventeen of these. SEVENTEEN.
It was my first day back at work today. I got four “Welcome back!”s, and seventeen comments assuming I was in some way suffering, sad, or regretting my return to work.
Folks, I am ecstatic to be back at work. My situation is such that I could absolutely have taken a full year off – job security, financial security, general demands of life – I could absolutely have done it. I did not want to. I (and this bit is critical) chose not to.
It turns out my pre-parent self knew my parent self well enough to predict that even though I am a mom now, I am still happiest when I am able to be scientist too.
I love Spud to bits. He is the cutest, most fascinating, glorious little butterball of a baby there ever was. He makes my heart full, and my soul glow. He has a tooth and is trying his darndest to crawl – whole new ball games abound.
I am delighted that Pea has this chance to get to know him as well as I do. Today was a banner day for Spud and food (15.5 oz in 8 hours! Nary a spill from the sippy cup! Pea had to go into the freezer stash to satiate our child!). It was a brutal day for naps (two 40 min ones, with the second under protest and the third rejected outright. Spud is teething, and possibly also growing, and Pea didn’t know to use the sleep sack). Still, all in all a good day!
I found it increasingly unsettling that my conversations at work always started with an assumption that I did not want to be there, gained friction when I asserted that I was very pleased to be back, and had a relaxation of tension when I mentioned Pea was home for the next while. “Oh, that’s nice, that must ease your mind.” “Oh, that’s all right then.”
Is it? Is it all right, this choice I have made about MY life and MY family and MY child? I’m so very pleased you approve, and made it so clear that you wouldn’t have if I had brazenly stuffed my child in the nearest daycare. Where, you know, the staff have actual experience and training with babies and have age appropriate toys, and are not just blindly winging it the way Pea and I generally are. I’m so glad you approve.
I’m a bit steamed. But I also had a really great day at work, and Pea and Spud had fun when Spud wasn’t refusing to nap, and Pea sent me my new favourite photo of both of the gorgeous men in my life (going for a walk. Pea looks delighted. Spud is making the most amazing “whaddafuk is going on and whodafuk is you?!” face). So never mind those commenters, today was a great day.