It’s here. This is the Diary of a Mom’s First Day Back at Work.
I didn’t sleep at all Sunday night.
I woke up early Monday morning and hoped the babies were up because I really wanted to feed and snuggle before leaving this first day. Yay, they were stirring. I didn’t even have to “accidentally” make a loud noise or poke them awake. Dear Sweet Dumpster Husband fed the girl and I took the boy. Then pumping, of course. ALWAYS BE PUMPING. Held back tears.
Got dressed and thanked baby jeebus that I did myself up most days while home on maternity leave, otherwise this whole hair and make up and real clothes thing would be a bitch. Done in 11 minutes. Held back tears. I’VE GOT MAKE UP ON NOW, GOTDAMMIT.
Nanny arrived early and wass so calm and ready to go, it’s hard to not tell her everything 800 times even though she knows how to handle everything as she’s worked with multiples families before and knows this whole deal very well. Also, I’ve made a 10 page document with every single instruction and phone number and piece of information that no one will ever need, but it’s all there, dammit. Don’t be that obnoxious crazy obsessive mommy. Oh wait, too late.
Held on way too tight and squeezed them way too hard and kissed each baby goodbye and told them MOMMY LOVES YOU SO MUCH and BE GOOD BABIES AND HAVE SO MUCH FUN!
Held back tears. NOT. A. CHANCE.
Walked with Dear Sweet Dumpster Husband to the L train across the street and got on the train and realized the last time I did this routine, I was so freaking huge, I could barely fit through the turnstyle or fit in a seat on the train. In December at the end of my pregnancy, I was roughly the size of a circus tent and I’m pretty sure that creepy old timey circus music played everywhere I went. I was so sick with a cold and no voice for a solid three weeks and just wanted these babies OUT OF ME. So today I took some thankful breaths for having so much more comfort in my body today.
The train ride is spent trying not to cry. So, reading and looking at the city that I love and watching the people around me, all while stealing looks at Dear Sweet Dumpster Husband, who is so kind and loving and patient this day. He knows how terribly gut wrenching this is for his wife. With a clenched hand, we arrive at our stops. He leaves me with a kiss on the forehead and a “have a good day and I love you.”
I feel like I’m missing a couple limbs. I feel like I should have my arms full and I don’t. And it hurts. It physically hurts.
I walk down the stairs at my train stop and down the alley to that big Tower where I work. I feel naked. I feel sad and scared and excited and thankful and sad. Did I say sad?
It felt really good when security folks applauded me when I walked through the lobby. It is nice to be remembered and have people express joy at your return.
My security card and key to the office both worked fine. When you’ve been fired from jobs before, you always have the fear that your security card and key won’t work. It’s like a bad dream, in that once you’ve experienced that shame and humiliation, you always secretly fear it’s going to happen again. Anyway, they both worked and I was relieved and happy and confident walking back to the office and BAM. MY FREAKING LADIES ROOM KEY DIDN’T WORK. Very sneaky karma. You know I need that ladies room more than anything else and you are screwing with me. I panicked and immediately knew I was fired for the sham of a human being I really am. Oh but wait, they just changed the lock and I got a replacement key.
“HOWARETHEBABIES OH MY GOD IS IT SO HARD TO BE AWAY FROM THEM?” That was repeated pretty much all day and I went through all the answering, MOSTLY without tears and without biting anyone’s head off. There are only a couple people walking around without heads today.
When I got to my cubicle and turned on my computer, my screensaver was a big huge belly picture with Dear Sweet Dumpster Husband and I took a moment to appreciate how far we’ve come. How when that picture was taken, we had NO IDEA who these babies would be and that our lives would be THIS INCREDIBLE. It was a good shot of gratitude. Of course I whipped that shit off of there and got a brand new pics of Hall & Oates up on that screen faster than you can say, “WHY ISN’T MY PRINTER WORKING?”
It was truly good to be on my own in the office. I’m not going to feel badly for saying that. It was fun to walk to get lunch and not be pushing a stroller. But then in the next breath I would wish so badly that I had them crawling all over me and laughing and even crying. I was feeling ALL THE FEELINGS alright. I missed my little friends so much.
I ate lunch in like, 4 seconds flat. Picture Cookie Monster but with a veggie sub. And others looking at me like I’m an animal in a zoo. First time in months I’ve really been concerned about someone coming and talking to me while I was eating and having all kinds of shit in my teeth. And of course about 18 people thought that was the perfect time to come talk to me, in the 4 seconds I had lettuce and tomatos and shit all over my face from shoving it all in my pie hole in record time. WHEN I DIDN’T NEED TO.
I kept hearing phantom babies crying. So I took that as my cue to pump it up. The Pump Room (let’s be all fancy, shall we?) is also a video conference room. I sat there playing out all kinds of hilarious scenarios of our CEO dialing in on a test call and finding me there mid pump with my dress down around my waist and my REAL bra off playing on my phone and singing softly to myself while rocking in the fetal position. In the end, not so funny, so I’ve covered the camera while I’m in there now.
It’s awkward to pump at work. No lie. But I did it and I’ll keep doing it as long as I can and as long as nobody starts drinking that shit from the office fridge. You know how that goes, right? Some young broke kid working as an intern is starving and thirsty and checks the office fridge while no one is watching and eats and drinks all your shit. “There will be blood if you drink my bewbie milk. This is your warning you young punks.” That’s the sign I put on my little cooler that holds my milk. Too much?
The afternoon was starting to get to be too much. My incredible nanny was texting and sending pics all damn day and that was the biggest help. I am so thankful for her and that she gets how crazy moms can be. Especially the first days. Dear Sweet Dumpster Husband along with many friends and family all sent notes and calls sending me love and strength and I’m so grateful.
At about 3:30 I was starting to get twitchy. Luckily I was able to run out of there a little early and get on the train home to see the drool monsters. That was a LONG train ride. But when I walked in and all was well my heart felt pretty good.
I had done the thing I feared the most for months now. I had gone back to work and left them all day and nobody died. In fact, we all did pretty well all things considered. Maybe this working outside the home thing isn’t going to be the death of me after all. So, Diary, as we close the chapter that was today, my first day back at work, I am grateful for how rich and complex my life is today and again I ask, HOW IS THIS MY LIFE?
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