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Sunday, August 11, 2013

The End of Maternity Leave Reflection (Week 11, Day 6)

Well, this is it. Today’s the day. My last day of Maternity leave. On Monday I return to work. For all intensive purposes, I did my best to enjoy this last weekday with Maddy - met up with another mommy and baby for coffee, took a final weekday walk through the zoo to soak in the gorgeous summer weather and fresh air. I’ll have the weekend to run errands and relax, before jumping into Day 1 back at work on Monday.
I can’t lie and say that I’m ready. I don’t think I’ve ever met a Mom that is. Like anyone else, I have lots of questions about how I’m going to make the daily schedule work, how I’ll ensure I leave work on time so I don’t miss an extra minute with Maddy, how I’ll continue to pump while at work so that I can provide breast milk for my daughter when she’s away from me, and how I’ll compartmentalize everything so that when I’m at work I’m not pining for Maddy, and when I’m with Maddy I’m not thinking about all the things I need to do in the office tomorrow. These are all major things that I’m not going to get right day 1. But I’m determined to figure it out.
What I AM looking forward to is giving Maddy the opportunity to socialize with other babies, something I think she will really enjoy based on the play dates we've had with other babies. I’m looking forward to having adult conversations, and the satisfaction that comes with truly driving change within an organization. I’m looking forward to the scary newness of the role I’m going back into, allowing me to be challenged when I go to work rather complacent with something I already know. I’m looking forward to being the role model I want to be for Maddy, even though she won’t know it for many years from now.
When I think back on my maternity leave and the “goals” I had, my main goal was to not have any - In my day job I’m a planner, an organizer, someone that moves things forward and makes things happen. Back in April, when I would think about the time after Maddy was born, I wanted to really focus on being in the moment - no goals, no objectives. I looked at the three months as a wide open block of time to be defined once the baby arrived - and to take the shape of whatever we decided it would be.
The continuous amusement of Maddy Moo
Now at the end of my maternity leave, I can feel good in saying we accomplished our goal. Each day was dictated by how Maddy felt. We did things I didn't expect us to do, had days that were jam packed, and others that were lazy and luxurious. We met new people, made new friends, and connected with old ones. We took advantage of the glorious weather and the rainy days. And for the most part, we tried to live in what was happening that day - what stage of development Maddy was in, and how that would change our lives and schedule. I was able to learn who she was, and in turn how to care for her.
More than anything, I was just able to watch my baby grow from a newborn to an infant. Solidly in a new stage of babyhood, she continues to amaze me everyday. As we take this next step together, I know there will be ups and downs, and I'm looking forward to seeing where this next stage will take our family.