Monday, February 19, 2007


The end is near.

This is my last week of maternity leave; I return to work next Monday. I’m not ready.

I imagine I would not be ready if I were returning to work after three months of maternity leave, or six months of maternity leave, or even a year.

But Lula is nowhere close to sleeping through the night yet; her long stretches of sleep are about three and half hours. Currently, Bump and I take turns napping during the day, but once I return to work neither of us will be able to do that. I’ll need to be semi-functional during the workday, and Lumpyhead will wake up between 8 and 9, expecting to be fed and entertained. I hope Lumpyhead and Lula’s nap schedules will coincide to give Bump a little much-needed rest during the day, but honestly, neither Bump nor I anticipate that will happen.

I know that in many ways, I am lucky. My office has been great about allowing me to set my own timetable. I don’t have to worry about childcare placement. Many parents in my situation get only a week of leave. (Granted, those parents have penises and didn’t push anything out of anywhere, but I can’t really use convalescence as a reason to remain on leave.)

The real trick is emotional, not physical. I’m no longer in pain. I don’t get exhausted after walking short distances any more. I’ve self-medicated a few rounds of the baby blues with brownies and a buttload of mini candy bars. I feel like I’ve recovered from childbirth. But how do you recover from new motherhood?

I will miss seeing Lumpyhead all day. Lula will morph from a floppy-necked, cross-eyed newborn to a squishy, chubby-cheeked infant, and I’ll only see that transformation a few hours at a time. I’ll be looking at pictures of her while I pump at work, wondering what she and her dad and her brother are doing right then, picturing an idyllic scene with a sleeping Lula and giggling Lumpyhead.

In the meantime, Lula will be squealing while Bump tries to put Lumpyhead down for a nap, or Bump will be struggling to find a way to take a dump yet prevent Lumpyhead from poking at Lula’s eyes, or Lula will be peeing all over the changing table at the exact moment Lumpyhead decides to drop a Level 3 Code Brown.

(I guess this is more apocalyptic than I originally thought.)

I return to work in seven days. I'm not ready.


Michele said...

I dont have any words or wisdom. Just an understanding shrug and heavy sigh. Oh, and brownies, always brownies.

Working motherhood sucks. It just does.

Sarah, Goon Squad Sarah said...

I don't have any words of wisdom either, but at least you can drink now.

Becky said...

I'm jumping on the no-wisdom bandwagon. Sending chocolate thoughts and a margarita high your way.

nonlineargirl said...

The thing that is crazy is that you probably got more slack when you were pregnant than you'll get now. Now the visible sign of impending motherhood are gone, but the real (tiring) work is in full effect. (Hmm, maybe not so helpful. Really I just meant - good luck!)

I forget what side you are on, but a good friend of mine just re-entered public service. She's going to be working for house energy and commerce. She has no kids and is unlikely to be helpful in that regard, but she's smart and funny and sarcastic.

la dra said...

*sigh* I know exactly what you mean.

E :) said...

Sigh. But the upside is that you now have two beautiful children you can boast about.

Melissa said...

No brilliant advice.

Maybe full-size candy bars would help?

Em said...

Sigh, it does seem soon. Routine will make it easier in some ways.

I'll be thinking about you, LHM.

Violet said...

I always said I'd wait until my daughter was sleeping through the night before even thinking about working - but she didn't start doing that until she was a year old, and it's not even every night. I'm not surprised you aren't looking forward to the end of your leave. Perhaps if you could hire a live-in nanny who'd do the night-time stuff as well - then you might get enough sleep.

Bozoette said...

I remember that feeling so well. And like everyone else, all I can offer is brownies.

julie said...

I feel for you. I didn't have to go back this time, but last time I did, and it blew.

Good luck to all of you.

Jill said...

It sucks. I remember it too well, having gone back after six weeks with each baby.

If it helps, I thought the second time was just a teensy bit easier than the first.

laurie said...

why mini candy bars? are you not entitled to full-sized candy bars? and what about stout beer? they told me stout was good for the nursing. or were they just placating me?

enjoy your last week at home. kiss those little L's a lot.

mo-wo said...

No no no. You want the synchronized diaper befoulment... they never nap together without the diaper tag teaming. Please let Bump know.

Good luck next week.. or take a weeks holiday. I remember the last Monday, Tues... Wed for my last mat leave it is a weird time.

Aunt Bob said...

I know what you mean. And no amount of leave would be enough.

Let's win the lottery.