There you are the proud beaming parent of a brand new baby girl. And although you wouldn’t trade her for the world, you didn’t quite expect her to work you to the point of exhaustion like she has. While you regret having to put her into day care, and cry at the thought of someone other than you drying her tears, you secretly can’t wait until you go back to work. There you feel will be a refuge into which you can escape the fast paced, at home life you lead now.
That Monday morning arrives. You get up early, wake your little cherub from a deep slumber, feed her and think to yourself, “Wow! This isn’t too bad”. You shower, eat your usual bowl of cereal while she lays down playing with one of the fifty toys you purchased on maternity leave. Now you are getting confident and wonder why everyone makes such a big deal about “morning madness”.
You gently place her into the car seat and look at your watch, “I’m making great time,” you say to yourself. When from out of nowhere the air bubble from hell presents itself with a vengeance, bringing with it half the bottle you thought you got down her so easily. Of course, she’s sitting there all smiles. How can you be angry at such an adorable face? You run upstairs, wash her off and replace her outfit with another you had laying out “just in case”. At this point you are on the edge, running late and can’t wait to palm her off on the first person you see at the day care center.
With open arms they greet you and after a few tears – some hers, some yours – you rush in a panic off to the office. With minutes to spare you are back at work, you grab your cup of coffee and regroup. Then your relaxing day begins. Running around, file this, mail that, type the memo for your boss. Who, although is glad to see you back, still hasn’t learned to prioritize his work as he dumps another rush in your lap. Five o’clock. Thank God, the day is over!
You sit on the train unwinding from your not-so-relaxing day back. You think to yourself that she probably didn’t get much sleep at day care, it being her first day, and that she must have cried a lot because she missed her mommy. Much to your surprise they inform you that she slept like a lamb and only cried when she wanted a bottle. “Well that’s good”, you think, “at least she wasn’t traumatized!”
Ahh! Home, sweet home. All in all, your first day back wasn’t so bad. Your cloud, however, is quickly dissipated when the colic you completely forgot about returns at its prescribed time. Nothing can console her, and because she slept all day, she is revved up for an all-nighter.
So while making dinner, eating, doing the dishes and preparing the next day’s bottles, you have your crying angel strapped to your chest in a futile attempt to soothe her. It’s at that point you begin to realize that it is actually more exhausting to go to work, come home to the baby and the household duties for which you now have far less time to accomplish.
Eventually, at eleven o’clock when the crying has stopped and she’s finally gone to bed for the night, you wonder what ever possessed you to return to work. With joy, however, you envision the excitement on her face when you give her that fifty-first toy you picked up on your lunch hour. She’s worth it!
(I wrote this in 1994 right after i went back to work after having my now 19 year old daughter)