Sunday, January 04, 2009
2009 officially begins that mystical phase of my life that always seemed so far distant, even after the birth of my first child. I have entered the Mom Years. Yes, I've been a mom since that day the clinic nurse did a little jig and told me I was pregnant in October 2004, but somehow I always felt I was acting a part until now.
I went back to work last week. I took six weeks off when I had Charlotte, begged an extra week and came back working 32 hours. I apologized for not having enough sitters to work the full 40 hours. I came to work exhausted and terrified after all nighters filled with breathing treatments and prayers, I even came a couple times with my husband and daughter a few blocks away in the emergency room. It was still important to me to impress my boss and coworkers, to appear to have it all together, to be promoted to Senior RN and not let the craziness of my home life compromise my job...too much. I took call while living and sleeping in Charlotte's hospital room, assuring everyone it was perfect because if I got called in, I was already there! For the most part everyone was understanding and kind, and I was sent home more than once after breaking down in the break room.
Things started to shift during my second pregnancy. I asked my boss if I could drop down to 24 hours after the baby. He said no, and I shrugged and said I wasn't willing to do more. Too much stress, too little time with my kids. He let me come back with the understanding I would be let go as soon as we found a new full time replacement.
I took my full 12 weeks of leave and came back working Saturdays, Mondays, and Fridays. I take two 20 minute to half hour breaks each day as I am a nursing mom. Its not my fault the lactation room is on the other side of the building. I cleared a spot in the fridge for my pumping bag. I call frequently throughout the day to check on my babies. If Charlotte gets really sick again, I'll probably just quit. I'll never again be doing paperwork while my daughter is laying in a hospital bed.
I really do like my job. I love many of my co-workers. I love the satisfaction of a smooth, well placed needle, I like performing a procedure most doctors know nothing about and therefore treat me like an expert and sometimes an equal. I like many of my patients, I have always, always loved hospitals. Even after having a chronically ill child. I love being a nurse. I am proud of my profession. I am so grateful for my knowledge and the advantage it gives me in being Charlotte's mom. And Ella's mom.
But I love being home with my girls. I love putting Charlotte on the school bus and seeing how excited she gets. I love seeing Ella stretch and smile when I unswaddle her in the morning. I love feeding, bathing, playing with and hanging out with them. I love the satisfaction of laundry done and a vacuumed floor and a hot meal waiting for my husband. I love being a mom and I love being a wife. I am excited to watch my girls grow in their own unique ways, Ella by leaps and bounds and Charlotte slowly but steady.
For now, working part time will be perfect for me. I'll have a little extra money to help with groceries and medical bills and still get to buy myself the occasional present, but I might have to budget and save more for it, which is good lesson for me to learn. I won't feel guilty about not leaving the house for two or three straight days after working a couple. Charlotte gets pretty cranky just hanging out with me all the time, so spending some time with her grandparents is a blessing. And a little adult conversation for me doesn't hurt either.
As for my temporary status at work, I'm not too concerned about that either. My boss who wasn't keen on letting me work part time left for greener pastures too. The stress was too much for him.