This was my first week back to work after taking 4 months of maternity leave. Heavy sigh. It was hard. For reasons I'll discuss on this blog, we decided I needed to go back to work full time instead of part time and after four instead of six months, like I did with the boys. Oh to live in Canada or Europe where I've heard stories of moms getting as much as 2 years off. I know there are trade offs for that, but it just seems that our country could help out a little more for new moms. I am lucky, I work for a wonderful company that allows me to take up to a year, but only 6 weeks of it is paid.
It's amazing how fast four months goes. My hope was that I'd get to spend four glorious months with Amber. Getting to know her, cuddle with her, nurse her, love her; all of the things I enjoyed so much with the boys. It didn't seem like I got to do that too much. I spent most of my time running after the boys. At 20 months when she was born, they were still very needy and a huge handful. Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed every last minute of it. I got to watch them go from baby to full fledged toddlers. Their vocabulary amazes me every day. They grow and learn and amaze me every day -- not to mention, get a little easier every day too. They have their moments, but they are such a pleasure and a joy.
So back to work I go, with all three in daycare. Luckily we made some investment decisions this summer that has allowed my parents to move into a house on a property we will subdivide and build our own house on. (Another blog for another day...) What that means is that the boys are in an in-home day care 2 days a week and with Grammie and Bumpa 3 days a week. Amber is in a child care center 3 days a week and with Grammie and Bumpa 2 days a week. Being with family helps, but it still doesn't ease my aching to be home with all of them full time.
My hope is that in 3-5 years, I can leave my corporate job and do something part time, or take on a hobby job that I truly enjoy. I just hope that I'm not missing out on the kid's best development time. I have so many mixed emotions about them staying home with me vs. in a daycare setting.
First, I think it's good for them to be away in a daycare setting some of the time. I like the interaction they get with peers their own age, the structured activities and development opportunities and also the time it allows me to do some adult things. I think it really allows me to be a better mom if I'm not with them 24/7.
On the other hand, if they're with me full time, I can control their development, be a part of their daily life and grow and learn along with them. I feel bad thinking about someone else raising my kids. When they're in daycare all day, the mornings and evenings are so short! I only get a few hours with them a day. I guess I just need to be sure that those few precious hours are quality filled hours. (Except that I'm busy making dinner, cleaning up, getting baths done, etc.)
The other downside to daycare is that I don't think any of them are getting enough sleep. Amber was taking two 3-4 hour naps at home. Now she's only getting several 1 hour naps. The boys were getting one 2-3 hour nap. Now they are only getting 1.5 hours at their daycare, although the days my parents have them at home they get their normal naps. I know they'll settle in to their routines and be just fine, but I stress out about this stuff!
Next week is my second week back. I'll make the most and know that for us, this is the way it is and it will get easier after we all settle into our new schedules.