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Thursday, September 19, 2013

Reflection on Month 1 of Being a Working Mom (Week 16, Day 6)

As the week continues, so does Maddy's cold. It feels like it is never ending. After a week and a half, her common cold has stayed consistent, and the coughing has gotten worse. We finally took her to the doctor to ensure there was nothing more we could do to help her recover. The kind nurse practitioner examined Maddy, and validated our assessment - she has a cold, and nothing further can be done to help her recover beyond rest, frequent nose cleanings, and feeding her often. And while her cough wakes her up and makes her feel uncomfortable, she is still smiling and playing and enjoying her awake times.
One thing I noticed today in the ever changing world of my daughter was her hands. They've all of a sudden gone from little balled up fists, unable to coordinate motion and only used to flail aimlessly, to purposeful extremities. Beyond grabbing and grasping, her hands are open, feeling and touching all the time. When soothing Maddy in her crib, those little hands wrap around mine as a sense of reassurance, palms open and flat, feeling my fingers and hands for comfort. There is no touch more delicate than that of a baby learning to use their hands for the first time. It's something that I've been experiencing with Maddy for the last few days but couldn't quite put my finger on, and now I realize it's the experience of new sense of purpose with these perfect little hands.
Day 6 (again):
My first month being back at work and a new working mother is officially complete, and I'm officially exhausted. Every working mother said it would be hard, and they weren't lying. The forgetfulness, feeling of being constantly rushed, trying to run full steam ahead while running on empty, all the while trying to halt and take in the precious moments of awake time with your little baby have taken their toll.
For the last two weeks Maddy has been sick, and I've been sick too. So to cap my end of month 1 at work, I stayed home with my slightly feverish daughter. To be honest I was relieved at the thought of spending the full day with her, but knew this would not be a fun filled day outside like on maternity leave. The weather called for rain all day, and every time I put Maddy down, whether it be on her play-mat, the couch or her crib, she screamed bloody murder. She threw up on me 3 times, somehow managed to get poop on me and would only nap laying on my lap. So much for trying to get some work done while she slept! After several outfit changes on both our parts, I was able to get a few calls in (whispering during nap time) and send a few emails, but the rest would have to wait for the weekend.
I know things will get easier. I know I'm in the thick of it now, learning to balance my need for perfectionism at work with setting clear boundaries and expectations for myself. I know that rushing to and from work will get easier, and I'll get into a routine and stop forgetting things and have to come home.
The one thing I know for certain is the quality time with Maddy will continue to be precious, and as long as she stays the happy, smiling, bright girl that she has been, we'll be able to get through this together.