*** A Goatmilk Exclusive ***
BY MISS MUSE
My son, J, is 8 months old today. The past 5 months have flown by. The first 3 – not so much. It took time for me to adjust to the reality of motherhood. There is a definite loss of freedom attached to becoming a parent, a feeling that your life is no longer your own. The utter dependency of a new life on your decisions is absolutely frightening. There were moments when I felt completely awashed in love, but others where I couldn’t wait to give my son over to his grandparents so I could gain some sense of myself back.
Towards the end of my 3 month maternity leave, I found myself looking forward to going back to work. The lack of a structured day meant I often didn’t shower or change out of my pajamas till 6 pm, if that, and it was driving me nuts.
I’ve been back to work for 5 months now. My days start at 6 am and end around midnight, with night feedings at 2 am and sometimes 4 am. I work reduced hours, but I still don’t get home till at least 4 pm. Right after I come home, I change J’s diaper (often while still wearing my suit), feed him, put him down for a nap, bathe him, and somewhere in there make dinner and talk to my husband for a bit before crashing.
As hectic as it is, and as exhausted as I am, I actually enjoy getting dressed up in suits in the morning. I enjoy having adult conversations at work. I like the intellectual stimulation of crafting legal arguments and the few victories I can gain on behalf of my immigration clients against the government. And I feel lucky to have found a person whom I trust enough to take care of J while I’m at work.
There is, of course, the other side – the guilt of dropping him off in the morning, turning around, and walking out the door. I know at some point he’ll go to school and I’ll have to do that anyway and just let go, but it feels too early. I always have a nagging suspicion that maybe, maybe I’m doing the wrong thing by working. Maybe I should stay at home with him. But I make my decision hoping that its the best one for my family, praying that God looks at my intentions and forgives me if I’m mistaken.
I love nothing else in the world more than spending time with my son. I miss him when I’m at work, and look at his over 1000 pictures on my iPhone any chance I get. The moment I walk in the door after work, his whole face lights up, he bounces up and down, he bites my shoulder with his toothless gums in excitement, he makes noises that are more beautiful than music to my ears. I feel ridiculously, undeservedly, loved.
Nothing in my life up to this point has been as challenging and rewarding as parenthood. It took some time, but I’m finally starting to have fun with changing diapers in a suit.