Before Livie was born, I was already worrying about going back to work after maternity leave. I already couldn’t stand the idea of leaving my 12 month-old with strangers whom would be raising my child for me for 35 to 40 hours a week (that’s the way I saw it at the time). It made no sense to me. I didn’t want to do it. Hubby and I even looked at whether we could afford for me to stay home an extra year so I could be with our daughter. It was tormenting me to the point of keeping me up at night.
Fast forward to when Livie is 9 months old, and things started to change.
Let me start off by saying that I love my daughter to bits. She amazes me everyday and I love that I have had the opportunity to be there for so many of her firsts. I know that not everyone gets this opportunity. That being said, by the time she was 9 months old, I started to experience this chronic feeling of being trapped. And also started feeling like a shitty mom for feeling this way.
You see, it’s the same thing every day. Bottles, diaper changes, meal times, naps, play time, the occasional play dates with my fellow new mommy friends, laundry, dishes, cleaning. For many moms, this is just fine. But for me, my mental and emotional health was starting to take a hit. I started to miss putting my mind to work, having time to be productive in a non-mommy way, see other people and not talk about baby stuff.
Between meals and naps, getting out of the house was becoming impossible (especially since Livie only sleeps when in her bed). So I was becoming increasingly restrained to my home. I started to feel a bit like a prisoner in my own home. Although I definitely had the cutest and most entertaining inmate, it started to be hard. It’s still hard sometimes. It’s hard because I have lost touch with parts of who I was before Livie. Let’s face it, before Livie arrived, those parts of me took up a lot of space in my life. Although being a mom is the most important part of who I am now, it is not all that I am. And I have started to miss those other parts.
So here I am a month away from going back to work feeling like, despite all the anxiety I experienced months ago when thinking about this moment, it might be exactly what this mom needs. Also, I don’t think it makes me a shitty mom anymore that I feel this way. In fact, I actually believe that by listening to myself, it will make me a better mom.
In addition, watching Livie play with other children these days has convinced me that she is not only ready to move on to daycare, but that she will flourish there and learn things that I can’t teach her on my own.
Nevertheless, I know it will be the hardest transition of my Life. So until then, I will savour every moment I have left with my little inmate.