Lucy turned 11 months old today. I now have only one month of maternity leave left. AAAAA!
I am determined to make the most of the time remaining and enjoy many happy moments with my little girls.
Please understand - I am not feeling sorry for myself. I never forget for a moment, that I am privileged to have a fantastic maternity leave/parental leave package. I do not complain.
That being said, my awareness of my good fortune does not prevent me from being sad that it is drawing to a close.
I am finding it far more difficult to contemplate going back to work than I did nearing the end of my first stint of mat leave. Why is this the case? Last time, I knew that another pregnancy was part of the plan, and I was confident that I would eventually be back on leave again. I love being on leave with my children, and I love the freedom. Freedom from all the petty stupidities of the workplace, the politics, the falseness that is there, the value-system that isn't a match for my own, the feeling that I can't be successful without becoming a different sort of person than I am. (I enjoy my job, and there are some fabulous people there who I care a great deal about - these are just some issues that will probably always bother me. But no job is perfect.)
Maternity leave is something very special, and it is coming to an end for me. I am never going to have this much time with my girls ever again. For the rest of my life and their lives!
It makes me happy that we have worked out things such that Greg can have the experience of being home with the girls. My sadness at seeing my own time slipping away, is by no means any comment on my feeling about his upcoming turn. I know he will be fantastic again, and that Lucy and Becca will gain something priceless from having him at home.
I had an insight recently - part of the reason I am finding it so difficult to contemplate returning to work, is because being at home comes closer to fulfilling the requirements of my ideal career than my current job does (discounting the issue of remuneration of course - something that can't be ignored).
In my ideal job: feeling of accomplishment, challenges, flexibility of hours, ability to go outside, responsibilities, meaningful work, able to see progress, feeling of being appreciated, good commute, lax dress code, getting to use a large number of my skills to good effect, opportunities for learning and personal growth, opportunities to acquire new skills, set my own goals, contributes to the greater good. Also, at home, I am surrounded by people who love me and whom I love - can't beat that! At home, we laugh every day. At work, we have to be serious. Home: Loved and accepted. Work: Judged and evaluated. Home: culture of love, sharing, and learning. Work: culture of competition, resentment and power struggles.
O.k. these comparisons are just making me depressed, and I think they are becoming unfairly slanted.
Back to reality: There should be food on the table, clothes on our backs, and a sprawling mansion. O.k., not a mansion - but a well-appointed bungalow.
All this to say, I have been feeling very emotional with Becca and Lucy lately. I find myself getting teary-eyed when I'm with them - which it not really typical of me. I watch Lilo and Stitch with Rebecca and I want to cry. I go to Fitmom with Lucy and make her laugh - I want to cry.
And I'm not sleeping well because my nightmares and sleepwalking are back! I have nightmares about returning to work and being a failure (in various ways). I have nightmares about terrible things happening to the girls. I have nightmares about making horrible mistakes that hurt the girls. I had a nightmare where I accidentally poisoned Lucy because I had mistaken her for a giant spider. I had a nightmare last night that Rebecca blinded herself in one eye because I was inattentive. I had a nightmare that I kept trying to go to work on my very first day back, and one thing after another kept delaying me. It got later and later until it was so embarrassingly late in the day, that I questioned the wisdom of going in at all.