I returned to my full time job when Jordan was 16 weeks old.
Because my office is in DC, rather than VA or MD, we get 16 weeks rather than 12 of maternity leave. Unpaid, except for two weeks of 60% disability. But still - the option of 16 is lucky by comparison.
And your child is still so small when you return to work. I am fortunate that my mom was and is available and willing to take care of my baby.
I was full time for a few months, and then we realized that five days a week was just too much for Betty. And I felt like I was missing out on time with my itty bitty boy that I could never get back. So I cut down to three days a week in the office.
And then, about five months ago, we stumbled into a perfect situation, and I upped my office days from three to four per week.
Some of it was about more time as a professional adult; some of it was about money. I do realize I'm lucky to have this kind of flexibility at all.
We need my salary, but perhaps more importantly, my benefits. Jordan's on my health insurance. I pay his premium and about $70/month for mine. If my mom weren't watching J three days a week, my salary would mostly go to child care. I really would feel like I were working just for benefits.
So for the past five months, we've had this ideal situation in which one of our neighbors watched him one day a week and whenever we had an emergency, like Betty was sick. They are friends of ours, and their son is J's best little friend. They love our son and we love theirs.
And on Saturday night, they told us they are moving. In two weeks. It wasn't planned - life is just happening this way. They leave on Easter.
I sat down and cried. And then I drank a lot of wine. I emailed a friend of mine with a whole lot of fuckity fucks. And I cried some more.
I had this momentary, I'll quit and be a stay at home mom! Except that it's not a possibility in our current situation. Also, I would probably go batshit. And then we would struggle to pay the mortgage and Nick would have to foot mental health bills.
Like I said, I drank a lot of wine.
And now we're trying to figure out what to do.
Betty can fill in for a few weeks, but my boy is a lot of work. By the end of the third day, she's pretty tired. Hell, by the end of the weekend, I'm exhausted.
We need the child care, and almost more critically, we need a relationship with someone so we have backup for emergencies. But finding this is a hard process.
Because basically, when you trust someone with your child, you're handing over your heart and soul all packaged in toddler clothes and saying, "Bye! Have a good day!"