I am in mourning. Four weeks left of my last maternity leave, and the mourning has started; the anxiety, the panic, the doubt, the guilt and the fear. Anxiety because I don’t want to go back to work! Panic because I know these last four weeks are going to fly by. Doubt because I’m never going to be able to do it all. Guilt because I wish I could be home to take care of my babies and my family, but I know that our household requires my income. Fear because change is hard for me, I generally do not adjust well to change.
It’s not that I don’t like working, I actually quite enjoy my job, and I take pride in doing my job well. I know that going back to work will give me more freedom to a certain degree, and make me feel like Michelle again, instead of just feeling like mommy. I know that I will be glad to socialize with my coworkers and our customers. I know that, eventually, I will adjust and be very happy to be back to work, but I wish I could stay at home with L and L and be here to get K and B off the bus and just be their Mommy. I want to raise our children. I want to take care of our family. The problem with being a full-time working mommy is, I don’t like doing things halfway, I’m an “all-in” type of person. I don’t want to be mediocre. When I go back to work I will not be able to be an “all-in” Mom, nor will I be able to be an “all-in” employee. I will be stretched so thin that I will not be able to do either job to the best of my ability, I will just be mediocre.
I will be in a constant state of “not good enough”. Rushing out of work at the end of the day – even though I’m still needed there, often leaving things half done – so that I can grab L and L and get home to attempt to scrounge together a barely decent enough meal, squeeze in some reading with K and B, make sure that their clean, ready and organized to face the next day, hopefully manage to fold (and put away) the laundry. Did I mention dance, piano and gymnastics?? Can’t forget to exercise myself (hah!!). Never mind doing things like groceries and cleaning or extracurricular things like decorating for Halloween, preparing for a dinner party, or shopping for one of their friends’ birthday parties. Fuck. I just can’t do it all, there is just no possible way for me to do one well without letting the other one suffer to a certain extent.
In my rational brain, I know that it will all work itself out. I know that I’ll figure out a new routine and get used to our new normal. I know that L and L will enjoy going to daycare, and that K and B won’t even really notice that I’m not home to get them off the bus. I know that hubby will be fine with my half-assed dinners, and that the housework will get done somehow. I just hope that in between it all I can find some time to stop and smell the fucking roses because one day I’m going to blink, and when I open my eyes my babies won’t be babies anymore and my girls will be too busy hanging out with their friends to even notice me.
I mourn the end of my last maternity leave. I mourn the end of my last baby’s first year. I mourn the start of our new normal. I mourn the beginning of the rest of our lives.