Being a mom who "works outside the home" has its ups and downs. There is nothing that can prepare you to go back to work after spending a joyous 3 months on maternity leave in the gaze of your precious newborn. That time is sacred and to be cherished. I cried for weeks leading up to my return to work, and as I suspected, the anticipation of it was worse than the actual action itself. But, boy, I hated leaving that baby at home. Even knowing that she was in the best of care (an ideal situation with my sister-in-law and niece coming over to our place to keep her) it was still not ME, and so I felt the maternal pangs of abandonment every time I left.
Soon we got into a rhythm, and that helped tremendously. It quickly became normal to juggle getting ready and making sure her food was prepared before I left. No longer was it daunting to wonder how I would manage pumping milk at work and holding back tears when I saw her photo on my cell phone. We got set in a routine and she adjusted beautifully, looking forward to her "playtime" with her 2 year-old cousin, Sofie on those three days I had to go to the office.
But, it still wasn't easy. It still ISN'T easy. I reminded myself that I was providing wonderful things for my daughter because of the income I could provide. I could give her health insurance and splurge on the occasional treat because of the money. Not to mention, I simply didn't have a choice. We wouldn't be able to make rent without the money I was making, and so we were forced to come to terms with our compromised life of three-quarter-time work for me. Still, a day hasn't gone by that I haven't prayed for God to provide a way for me to stay home with my baby. So that continues. But, it felt like it was harder on me than anyone else...until now.
Recently, Matilda has begun the clingy "gotsta-have-my-mommy" kind of routine. She loves other people - she plays great with others and loves to ham it up for attention wherever she goes (she IS a Pardy!) but now in the mornings when I leave for work she does not want me to go. She is sad. Which makes me sad. It is just sad. SAD!
There is nothing like the clutch of your child. She is like a little koala bear, who, I think if I let go of completely, would still maintain her balance affixed to my side because of her crazy grip onto me. It is so sweet, and desperately pitiful.
So, now I have to do the "quick-switch-bag-of-sand-trick" every morning. You know - that classic Indiana Jones scene where he takes the golden idol and replaces it ever so swiftly with a bag of sand in hopes that no one notices it ever went missing??? The greatest switcharoo ever, in my opinion (though it does fail and he is nearly crushed by a giant boulder...) Now, I have to give Matilda her cup of Cheerios, smooch her on the head, turn on a Curious George show and then slip out before the theme song ends so that she is just distracted enough by George's curious wiles that she forgets all about her mommy for a second. AH! Heartbreaker!
I hate pulling the ole switcharoo on her, but I know God is teaching both her and me lessons through this. I know I don't want us totally co-dependent on each other. But still, the mother in me is shouting to protect her from all sadness, be there and stay with her and give her what she wants - and to feel completely and utterly NEEDED is at the heart of all mother's desires.
So, the prayers for future provision continue. And in the meantime, I should probably by stock in Cheerios and send a thank you card to the Man in the Yellow Hat.