One last week

My last day at Watermark was July 6, 2016. My first day at my new job will be July 3, 2017.

Dexter tickling toes at the bus stop. I swear Theo enjoyed this more than his face would suggest.

This means two things.

1. I will have taken almost a year’s sabbatical from my career and

2. I have one last week left as a full time mom.

When I had Dexter, I spent three months at home, and then for two more months I switched between working from home with Dexter, taking Dex into the office and leaving the baby at home with a nanny while I went into the office. At five months, we put him into daycare full-time.

Like most parents, I was incredibly nervous about putting him in daycare. I thoughtfully packed his bag with gear Dexter would need and items that would remind him of home, and carefully composed the essay they asked me to write so they could get to know Dex’s personality and his daily routine. And the big morning, as we were leaving, Matt accidentally tipped the bag, dumping its contents. We tossed it all back in and ran out the door.

It wasn’t until we were getting ready to say good-bye Dexter at the daycare, as I was fighting back tears, that I realized that my meticulously-crafted essay didn’t make it back into the bag.

And that’s the story of how I, sobbing, described my beloved baby to daycare workers while they stared at me with shock and pity.

Caught in the rain during an attempt to playground it up.

Once our family settled into our new day-to-day routine, it was like my entire psyche breathed a sigh of relief. No, it was more than relief — it was perfect, reassuring certainty that this was the lives we were supposed to be living. Everything clicked into place. I enjoyed my work again and most importantly, I was a better mom when I wasn’t being pulled into so many different directions and had the energy and focus to be completely present when with my family.

Even though it’s less than the normal amount of UK maternity leave, I’m comfortable with the amount of time I’ve spent at home with Theo — four entire months. After nearly a year off, I am beyond ready to jump back into work, to further my career and explore a new role in a new industry. We are also so ecstatic about the childminder we’ve secured to watch our sons. She is loving and experienced and literally looks like a Disney fairy godmother. We are incredibly lucky to have hired her. Dex and Theo are going to be so happy and healthy.

“I will stop taking so many photos when he stops being SO PERFECT,” I thought, almost angrily, as I took this photo.

However, it is still going to be an drastic, dramatic change. I’m going from nursing, playgroups and naps to commuting, conferences and deadlines. Last time, the flextime months served as a buffer, but come July, it will be like I flipped a switch and my whole life goes from black to white.

Don’t judge. T. Rex is in nappy because it was a billion degrees and A/C is rare in the UK. People keep saying, “You are from Florida, you must be used to this heat!” Well, no, because Florida has AIR CONDITIONING.

There are also a couple of things that can’t happen here which make me sad. In Orlando, Matt did drop-off in the mornings but I got to pick Dexter up at the end of the day, and I will miss seeing his delighted face as I walk in the door, because Matt will have to do both ends here. I also used to get to visit Dex at lunchtime to nurse, which can’t happen with Theo because I’m working too far away. I’ve been pumping since a couple of weeks after Theo was born and have a nice stash of breastmilk – we are running out of room in the freezer – but I absolutely loved seeing and holding Dexter in the middle of my days and wish someone would invent a teleporter already so I could do the same with Theo. Get on it, inventors! You have a week.

“Hey, Lady. Why don’t you tell Theo what’s troubling you? I’m listening.”

Parenting is full of impossible contradictions. I am both confident that we’re making the right decisions as far as career and childcare go and really anxious about weathering the changes I will face. I am both energized to reenter my career and deeply sad to say goodbye to my days at home with Theo and Dex.

And I’m just a little blue, low-level grieving the end of my time as a full time mom. Dexter is probably starting to wonder why I keep telling him how much I love being his mommy and why I keep choking up when I tell him that. He’s probably also wondering why I put on a movie this morning (for the snuggles) and let him eat snacks on the sofa (just because, to be nice) and why we postponed lunch to go outside and blow bubbles (that’s just plain fun).

One week left. Gotta make it count.

“Mommy! Doing tummy time Theo!” (T looks unimpressed.)
“Dex, what are you doing now?” “Tummy time Theo back!”

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