If you want to know what it’s really like the first six weeks after you have a baby, watch the indie flick Kelly & Cal. Bottom line: it’s hard. To anyone who thinks you get to laze about … you are insane. It is far more difficult than working a job, that’s for sure.
Baby M turns 8 weeks this Thursday which means it’s almost been two months. I am fortunate enough to extend my leave until the end of the year thanks to my willingness and ability to forego pay for a month and my employer’s willingness to keep my job for me beyond what they are required to do by federal law. I cannot fathom going back sooner … I am JUST starting to feel like a human being again.
Thankfully, things are starting to get a little easier and more fun. My house arrest is over … am able to get out and do things from time to time. Sure there is a lot of scheduling and timing involved due to breastfeeding, and it feels like I’ll never go to Yoga or have a mani/pedi or massage ever again … but I know that’s not the case.
And I know how lucky I am to have time away from work to spend with my child and get her life started out right. It’s an unusual feeling to not be working. I have been employed without interruption for the past 15 years since finishing grad school, save the occasional vacation. The most I have taken off consecutively before this was two weeks, and that was when my Dad died.
Yes, I wear that as a badge of honor, despite professing to be on the “Americans work too much and don’t know how to live” bandwagon. I guess I’m conflicted. I’m proud of all I’ve accomplished and all I am able to do outside of the domestic realm. At the same time I am enjoying being around my baby, husband and kids all day. I get tremendous satisfaction from creating familial and household harmony, for being present with them for the day-to-day. And in my heart and gut I know staying home for now is the right thing to do. I am literally providing orientation to LIFE for my child … in the grand scheme four months is infinitesimal. And the hamster wheel continues to turn just fine without me.