I planned to go back to work on Thursday, but pushed my start date to Monday after my husband threw his back out on Wednesday. Leaving him alone with the baby for the first time when he could barely walk just wasn't an option. So instead of embarking on working momdom, I spent the last few days experiencing for the first time what it would really be like to be a stay-at-home mom.
Trent's been home with me throughout my maternity leave, so I've had the luxury of sharing responsibility for the baby. There were a few days when he went out of town for conferences and I was alone with the baby, but that was early on, when Nugget was still sleeping through most of the day. It wasn't until Wednesday evening that I first experienced the mind-numbing exhaustion of being the only one who can respond to the baby's cries. I have reached a new level of respect and awe for single mothers, and stay-at-home-moms, and people like my neighbor, who runs an infant daycare in her home. Alone with multiple babies all day, five days a week? I would lose my mind after one day. I nearly did lose my mind Wednesday night.
It probably would not have been so bad if Nugget and I weren't having trouble in our breastfeeding relationship. I think he's frustrated with my slow letdown, or inadequate milk supply, or both, so instead of being restful cuddletime, an easy way to soothe him, nursing is a tearful wrestling match of escalating infant fury. And all the while I'm mentally chasing my tail in a downward spiral of worry and guilt (What if he weans after only four months? Is it juvenile diabetes? Am I not drinking enough water? Am I drinking too much coffee? Am I too stressed out? How do you stop stressing out about being stressed out?)
You'd think all this would make me look forward to going to work Monday morning, but the eagerness I felt earlier this week has evaporated. For some reason the last few days made me recognize that going back to work will increase the stress on me, not decrease it. (Duh.) I'll get home from a long day of billing like mad (or worse, not having any work to bill and reading about law firm layoffs on abovethelaw all day) to take over from Trent, who will be exhausted from a long day of keeping Nugget happy and entertained while trying to fit in a few hours of work. If it's this hard now, how much harder will it be then?
I guess I'll find out come Monday.