Back to School: Moderate Takes

1.) I started back to work last Monday, and hoo boy, did I jump into the deep end. I knew my boss was traveling at the beginning of the week and that our other department member was on her honeymoon, so I felt like I had to get back. I also skipped my regular telework day, as it was my boss's first day in the office. A lot of people were on vacation, so it was a nice, quiet week to get back into the swing of things, but I really hate that Charlie got thrown into the deep end as well.

2.) We ended up working out a nanny share with a family down the street from us. I had been worried about timing with getting to work if I had to drop Charlie off somewhere but I literally cannot leave my neighborhood without passing their house. How convenient is that? The hiring process caused a lot of agita, but much more so for the other family. Their little guy was born in February and the mom was due to go back to work the first week of June. However, the seemingly fantastic nanny we hired showed up on the first day and quit within a couple of hours with a pretty shady excuse. This poor couple was left with no child care on the mom's first day back -- total nightmare situation. It was kind of a blur for me; this all went down on the day we brought Charlie home from the hospital. They scheduled a bunch of interviews over the next week or so, and Mark would go to their house for the interviews. Any contenders were asked to walk up to our house to meet Charlie and me. We finally found our nanny in mid-June, but she wasn't able to start until mid-July. Again, it was no big thing for us, but thank GOD the other woman's employer was super flexible about things. Our nanny was totally worth the wait. She is from the area where Mark and I grew up, is a little older than I am, has two kids, and worked in the same daycare center for 12 years. Most importantly, she is fantastic with Charlie and he seems to be really happy so far, which is a huuuge relief.

3.) Our first day went really well. Charlie hung out in the bathroom with us while Mark and I got ready, and then we had a nice chunk of his super smiley morning time to hang out and play. He had had a crap night of sleep, of course, so he was ready for his morning nap before the nanny arrived and was sleeping when I left. Not having to say goodbye made the transition a little easier, and I didn't cry at all. (I think I got all of my allotted tears out over the weekend. Holy hannah, poor baby didn't need a bath, I spent so much time weeping onto his sleeping head.) I will admit to welling up as I got in the car, but that was because I found a box and card with "Mom" written on it. Mark had printed and framed a bunch of the best Charlie pictures for my office. Is that not the sweetest thing you've ever heard? Love him. Charlie got a great report from the nanny and he looked so happy when I peeked in on the webcam. 

4.) On the down side, I am totally struggling with work guilt. I wasn't quite ready to leave the baby; I would have loved having one more month at home, but it is what it is. I am so glad he is in such wonderful hands, but it kills me to miss so much of his day. Overnight, I went from spending every one of his waking moments with him to getting maaaaybe two hours a day. I have about an hour with him in the morning, and if traffic is on my side, an hour at night. It doesn't help that the transition is wiping him out and he's desperate for bed around 6:45. It's killing me, too, that he doesn't seem happy to see me when I get home. In fairness, Mark is usually pushing him past his preferred dinner time so that I can feed him when I get home, and also, he's just barely three months old, so yeah: BABY. But still, I spend all day itching to get home to that face, and it kills me that he just kind of watches his dad and ignores me, despite my being all up in his business, kissing him all over. I also barely survived Tuesday's fret fest. It was the first day at the other family's house, and Charlie seemed unsettled when I left him. He gave me this look like, "Mama, you're leaving me again??" The nanny is great about sending pictures, but Charlie looked worried in Tuesday's shots. We skyped once Mark got home and the little guy seemed like his usual self, but ugh. Mostly it's killing me that, right now, I know everything about him, and I feel like I'm on the verge of losing this, like someone else is going to need to tell me what my baby needs or is trying to communicate. 

5.) There is also a good side! Sort of. Shame is my biggest (only?) cleaning motivator, so having someone in my house 2-3 days a week means that I'm getting in the habit of picking up and organizing stuff daily. It is astounding just how many things I now plan and prepare for on a regular basis, just because the scramble that results from not doing so is vastly worse. I get home from work and we scramble through the bedtime bottle and getting Charlie to bed. I make dinner (from the planned weekly menu, because there is no more grocery shopping on the way home), and then we have about an hour to hang out before we do the closing up shop chores. Mark does the dishes while I putter around cleaning up -- getting rid of clutter, folding couch blankets, putting away toys, gathering baby laundry that needs to go upstairs, washing bottles, boiling bottle water, making bottles and packing Charlie's bag if the next day is a travel day, packing my lunch, laying out my clothes for the next day, and folding any laundry that's in the dryer. It's so...grown up. I always thought my mom was just a do-er; nope, it's just necessary crap and thus a massive PITA if you don't do it. Being an adult is so not all it's cracked up to be. But at least the nanny won't see my inner slob?