The typical medical maternity leave for an uncomplicated vaginal birth is six weeks, which would mean saying goodbye every morning to this precious face:
I knew I couldn’t do that, so I opted for eight weeks of leave. Unfortunately my short-term disability insurance cuts off at six weeks, so these last two weeks are unpaid. Hubster wasn’t able to drill this month with his reserve unit because of his school schedule and choir tour, so that’s additional income we must do without. By the grace of God we will be fine, but it’s hard contemplating a return to work when I might have chosen to take more time off if income were not an issue (silly us, we enjoy eating in a house with working lights!).
Still, I am excited to return to my students and the routine generated by work. My biggest concern is functioning with so little sleep – Princess Buttercup seems to have decided 10-midnight is the best time for play. Also, our mid-morning snuggles after Hubster and Spartacus leave at 7 AM are so sweet, and I am sad to lose them. As my mom told me this week, I seem to be “socially and psychologically” ready to return to work, but not emotionally. I will go back next week, teach for a few days, then have the next week off for spring break. My lesson plans are basically done for the end of the year, so that cuts down on planning time.
While I’ve gotten a lot of things on my maternity leave list done, I still look around my house and sigh, as there is so much more left to do. There is a beautiful sign hanging in my living room that we were gifted from a widow at our church after her husband passed, that sums up our situation so well:
Our house is just a little house, but God knows where we live.
It reminds me to be peaceful and relax; yes, we have piles of books and burp cloths and dishes and unopened mail everywhere. Yes, we are constantly on top of each other in our 1400-square feet, and yes, it stresses me out. If I couldn’t keep our house in a modicum of order when I was off for two months, how will I do it when I’m back to a teacher’s schedule? We cherish those three hours from 5-8 PM when we get to spend time with Spartacus; I pity his daycare teachers because we do keep him up too late, but it’s the only time we get to see him during the week. Obviously we don’t want to spent that time vacuuming or doing laundry, so our house just seems to get dirtier around us. Thank goodness our renovated bathroom is beautiful and functioning.
My poor Hubster tends to get my rants about house and work around 11 PM, when Buttercup is screaming, we are all exhausted, and my “getting ready for bed” routine seems to start with brushing my teeth and shift to my desire to Lysol the counters, do more laundry, fold what’s in the dryer, huff at the fact there’s no where to put the clean clothes, and try to sweep up gobs of dog hair from the corners. At some point I’ll moan about how we haven’t done a budget in the last month and we’re not going to survive for the three weeks until I get a regular full paycheck again. He is a rock, always patient with me and the baby and Spartacus (poor Annabelle gets less patience these days, but she hasn’t picked up the missed social cue of crying-when-I-lick-your-face-must-mean-I-need-to-lick-your-face-more-to-make-it-better).
This is my view right now as I type:
- My pump and bottle filled with six beautiful ounces of 8 AM milk. This is when I will pump at school during my free period so I’m trying to mimic that. I will freeze 3 oz and keep 3 oz for when Buttercup wakes up in about 45 minutes.
- A coffee cup with lukewarm coffee my handsome Hubster made me at 6:30 this morning but I keep leaving in places around the house as I putter in my morning haze and it gets cold.
- The empty wine glass from last night while we watched an episode of The Good Wife as we listened to Buttercup cry in her crib (we leave her for ten minutes, time her with Netflix, reassure her we’re still here, return her to crib, repeat until the episode ends or she wears us down and ends up in our bed).
I reread one of my favorite viral mom-blog posts from Finding Joy “Why Being a Mom is Enough.” I love the author’s line –
It’s in not worrying so much about the laundry and instead just letting that go and being thankful for a family to do laundry for.
I’m excited to return to work. I love my students and am fulfilled by what I do each day. I love using the talents God has given me to enrich the lives of my students and colleagues, and I crave learning things from all of them and look toward my future steps in my career. I have never desired to be a stay-at-home mom, although part-time would be nice. In my last post I reflected on my different vocations, and not one of those vocations is laundress or housekeeper. So if I am less successful at those tasks that’s okay! I have a family who happen to wear clothes, and students who sometimes need grades and feedback on essays. How blessed I am!