Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Hi, ho. Hi, ho. It's off to work I go.

I’ve touched on it briefly, but in no exaggeration…no, really…I had one of the worst pregnancies ever.  I was sick every.single.day for nine months.  Again, it’s too soon to go into too much detail; however, the gist of the story is I lost part of my maternity leave, didn’t get into a daycare in time, and wasn’t super duper happy with my job anyway.  Everything worked out perfectly for me to stay at home for a few extra months and start fresh with a new job.

It sure wasn't my original plan, but I wouldn’t trade these past 8 months for anything in the world.  It is unimaginable how quickly Teddy went from a ball of goo that wasn’t aware of anything, to the giggly, clapping, crawling little bull dozer that he is now.  I’ve been toying with the idea of going back to work for about a month now.  I only mentioned it to a couple of people.  Why?  Guilt, mostly.

I’m southern for crying out loud.  My main forms of communication are flirting and the guilt trip.  It’s what we do.  We don’t even realize we’re doing it.  For example, my sister leaves the exact same phone message when I don’t answer my phone.  “Surprise surprise.  You didn’t answer your phone.  What if this was an emergency?  I don’t even know why you have a phone.”  However, when I do answer my phone, I’m greeted with, “Surprise surprise.  You answered the phone.  I can’t believe it.”  I’ve tried pointing out to her that I’m getting guilt tripped no matter, but here again once a Tuggle woman has planted her feet firmly in an opinion you might as well take a cue from Sisyphus and roll a stone uphill (like how I just dropped some Greek mythology on you?).

I digress. I thought I was well acquainted with guilt.  I was wrong.  You have no idea what guilt is until you’ve had a kid.  The second he was born, I was tethered to this huge responsibility.  He never leaves my mind.  Ever.  There is no break from being a mother.  Out of sight, out of mind doesn’t exist anymore.  There’s no break for parents and it’s not something you can understand until it happens to you.  Then, insert the guilt for wanting a break.  You see what I mean?    

Woo wee.  The guilt for deciding when to stop breast feeding.  The guilt for when he should go to his own room.  The guilt for wanting a nap on a cold rainy day but he’s wide awake.  The guilt for just wanting to eat at the table with your husband.  The guilt for wanting to just go to the pool without taking 2 hours to pack everything you need.  The guilt for the first time you are holding them and take a corner too fast and they hit the doorframe.  The guilt for the first time you spend the night away from them.  It's never ending.  (Don't worry, you kinda get used to it.)

Now, I’ve made the decision to go back to work.  Lord help me, the guilt factor which I thought I was maxed out on, just got multiplied by 10.  I start work on October 1st, and it’s like this ticking time bomb in the background of my life.  The second I signed my offer letter, I tip toed into his room, picked up a perfectly sleeping baby, held him in my arms, and cried. 

Any time I get excited about joining the workforce again (because who are we kidding, I will always be a worker bee), a HUGE wave of guilt cascades over me and I think I’m going to drown.  Am I a terrible mother for working?  Is Teddy going to forget me or something?

TJ looked at me, like I had lost my ever-loving mind when I finally voiced my concerns.  He cocked his head to the side like a questioning dog, and he asked, “Do you think you aren’t going to be his mom come October 1st?” Ugggh.  He just doesn’t understand.  Of course, I’ll still be his mother, I’m just afraid that my 8 month old son is going to judge me…wait, what?  Damn.  Maybe I am crazy.  I am 50% excited and 50% devastated.  He did tell me to just give it 3 months and if I think I've made the wrong decision then just quit.  I may have the most understanding husband in the world, but I'm a firm believer than men can never fully grasp a mother returning to work.
A quick look at my sabbatical from work:
January - First day home from the hospital
February - First trip to the lake

March - Picnic in the yard

April - Easter in Georgia

May - First time in the pool

June - First trip to the beach

July - Before West Nile 2012 ruined our outdoor play time

August - Supporting Nolan and team Georgia

September - First Dove Hunt

It's been amazing.  In fairness most of the pics occured on the weekend anyway, but I'm still pretty darn sentimental right now.

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