Your drop your child off at his new day care for a two-hour trial. You write out and sign the post-dated cheques. You buy diapers and wipes, and pack a few extra outfits just in case. Maternity leave is ending. Your little one is starting day care and you’re going back to work.
All the preparation, the worry, but mostly, the guilt; it’s all part of the transition. That’s what I learned the first time around.
My second (and final) maternity leave though, has been one big blur, much more so than the first. I was lucky enough to share a spot at B’s regular day care with another little girl, so she was able to maintain that routine two to three days a week. It made for a very busy schedule, but I knew it was best for her and for me and Baby G. A “mommy day” consisted of cartoons in the morning while I slept on the couch, snack, playtime, lunch, some form of outing, snack and then counting the minutes until D got home. There were lots of Gramma visits and times where I could run errands without hauling the kids with me. I know there were hard days and easy days, but to single out one day, one event, is really difficult.
While B enjoyed her day care days, I was able to spend quiet times with Baby G, but honestly, I hardly remember them either. I remember rocking him to sleep, but it all blends into one long night. I remember playing with him, but it all blends into one long play. I don’t remember the date he first sat up by himself, I don’t remember the date of his first smile. The only definitive moments I remember are slowly slipping away; pictures and videos will be my only reference.
Unlike during the maternity leave with my daughter, I didn’t sign Baby G up for any classes; they all landed during naps or on days B was home. I didn’t make a big deal about his first Christmas; he was a month old. I didn’t play with him as much as I did with my daughter at that age; I needed the rest.
Maternity leave with Baby G was very different, and true to being a mom, sometimes I feel guilty for not being able to do more for my son, the same way I did for B.
But certainly motherhood is not about things “being the same”. I take comfort in knowing that B supported him when I couldn’t. That’s something the she didn’t have, and that benefits both of them.
What was your maternity leave like? Do you remember it well?