This week was my first full week back at work. I remember past summers as a teacher, spending most of the summer attending trainings and recertifications, earning technology for my barebones-at-the-time classroom, serving on school committees that met regularly throughout the summer, and working on school-related videos. This summer, I tried to make the summer all about my son, and only put in 4 workdays at my school.
We spent all day every day attached at the hip. We went to the park almost every day — to swing, admire the ducks and geese, and slide.
(Doesn’t my sister take stunning photos? This was his birthday photo session at the park!)
We visited storytimes at our libraries and participated in the summer reading programs, tallying hours spent reading for one program and compiling a list of titles for the “1,000 Books before Kindergarten” program.
All settled up with a hat and buttons after a busy summer of reading!
We planned a fun 1st birthday party and celebrated our birthdays together with smash cakes. We went peach-picking. We took swim lessons. We frequented the theme park in my hometown. We had playdates, went to Swing & Sway classes, and visited our local toy store during baby hour. To close out the end of summer, we spent a week relaxing in the sand at the beach with daddy.
So, understandably, going back to work this week was difficult for both of us. He has been clingy the past few mornings and getting teary; I’ve never seen him like that before. As a teacher, I know that I need to give kisses goodbye and walk away, instead of coddling or rescuing him, so that’s what I do, but I always feel that “mom guilt” when I leave. Luckily, he has wonderful teachers, and I get good reports when I pick him up!
Yesterday, because of Open House night at school, I saw my son for ONE HOUR total. Half of that time he was nursing/eating dinner in the high chair, and the other half, he was getting a bath before bed. He woke up an hour early today and I savored the time playing with him until I had to get ready for work. (Once I’m there, I’m a good compartmentalizer and can stay pretty focused, but I still miss him like crazy and feel guilty about not being with him!) If anyone has advice/thoughts about feeling guilty, I’m all ears!
Today was a half day for me, but I decided to keep him at daycare a full day so I could get some things done around the house. I got so much done in 2 hours! Laundry, cleaning the bathroom and kitchen, organizing random piles around the house, making phone calls, paying bills, updating spreadsheets, flipping through pictures, MOVING FURNITURE UPSTAIRS by myself, dusting, rearranging some things in my bedroom, and getting things ready and packed for teaching on Monday. Things that would have taken me all summer, had my toddler been in-tow!
It’s a hard balance, emotionally, of needing to get things done at home and go to work, while wanting to be with my baby all day instead, which is also a huge responsibility with its own, equally-challenging demands. He is never still and is always getting into everything! (I should add that I am so thankful for my husband and the role he plays in our family.)
On my first day back at work, I was trying to load my car with everything – the diaper bag, his lunch, my lunch, my purse, my school bag, my water bottle, my coffee, and the baby. Sounds easy enough. Factor in a Jack Russell who will run for the highway if he gets out and a baby who likes to sneak up the stairs every time I turn my back, and it’s near-impossible. Before I could leave the house, my son had fallen down the stairs and my dog got stung by a bee. A great first day back. I’m hoping it’ll get easier.
We really should look into baby gates.