Twenty months ago I was nervously preparing to leave my baby in someone else’s care, wondering how I would be able to handle being away from them for a full day. My nine month maternity leave was coming to an end and I was returning to full-time studies. My first week was an intensive orientation where I would need to be in class 8 hours a day, and it would be my first time being away from my 9 month old for more than a few hours. I almost backed out and my partner, mother and sister each separately gave me motivational speeches to reassure me that both baby and I would be fine.
That first day included moments where I suddenly felt like I had forgotten something only to realize that it was just the feeling of being on my own that was throwing me off. On the other hand there were moments of excitement such as when I sat with some classmates and had an adult conversation without being interrupted by a dirty diaper or the need to nurse. At the end of the day I was so excited to get home to my baby, but I was certain that I had made the right decision. Getting out of the house, doing something that I was passionate about allowed me to give my child my full attention without any resentment when I did get home.
After a year and a half as a student, followed by a few months of my second maternity leave, I am preparing to pick up my toddler from the LAST DAY of daycare. Starting next week I will be at home with both of my children (until I return to school again). And I am just as nervous as I was that day twenty months ago. This time I wonder how I will make it through an entire day without a moment to myself. I wonder how my toddler will cope with being away from friends and teachers and whether I will be able to keep up with the endless energy of a toddler. How will the chores get done? Will I be able to get them to nap? What will we DO all day? As these questions run through my head I remind myself that it was not so long ago that I had been scared to be separated. I remember how quickly we both adjusted. And after taking a few deep breaths I am able to calm my racing mind and convince myself that we will find a way to make this work. That I WILL be able to handle the challenges to come. That I can do this, and although it may take some getting used to, I get to be a full-time mother to both of my kids for the next little while. As challenging as it probably will be I look forward to this next phase of parenting and can’t wait to see where it takes us.
Wish me luck!