Thursday, November 19, 2009

New York Office Mom 24/7

Every mom dreads D-day…the day she returns to work and has to leave her little baby in the hands of a stranger (which means anyone other than mom). Most likely it’s the first day that mom has been apart from her baby for more than 2-3 hours…at least that’s how it was for me. I would long for a couple of hours to myself when I was on maternity leave – just a few hours – to run errands, do my nails, even make a quick stop at a nearby shopping center. Alone time was hard to come by, so when anyone offered to take care of the little guy for an hour or two, I accepted without hesitation. Little did I know that once I returned to work and had to be separated from him for almost 8 hours/day, I would wish I could get back those hours I willingly gave away.

As I began to countdown the days, hours, minutes to D-day, everyone would try and console me and tell me that it would get easier over time. I believed them…I mean, women experience this all the time – especially the working women of today compared to the women many moons ago – but what I didn’t realize was how hard those first days would be.

I remember that first day, it was a Friday - thank God for that! It was so hard not to look at the time. As soon as I got home, I ran to him and started balling. Of course he greeted me with the biggest smile and had no idea what was going on, and that mommy had left him for so many hours..but I couldn’t control myself. I wouldn’t let him go and held him so tight, that I had to check if he was still breathing at one point.

Fortunately, I was blessed with having the choice of leaving the little guy with a trusted family friend, who had raised two beautiful girls, lives close to home, speaks Spanish (very important for us) & has the gentlest of souls...Not every mom is as lucky as me though, and I cannot imagine what that must be like. It’s hard enough leaving him with family or a close friend, but having to leave your little one at a nursery or with a new sitter must be so difficult. You do what you have to do right…?...but it’s NOT easy, no matter what anyone tells you. What was REALLY important for me when returning to work, was peace of mind – it was the only possible way I’d be able to function without picking up the phone every hour or biting my nails until there was no more nail to chew.

It’s been about a month or so since I returned to work, and yes, it has gotten easier, but I still find myself feeling really guilty (that will never go away) & racing to get home to Lucas, bumping people on the street, subway and the bus. Note to all my fellow commuters out there, you don’t want to mess with a mom anxious to get home to her babies, especially during rush hour on NYC’s wonderful and well organized (sarcasm) MTA system… I’m just saying, there is no way that your reason for rushing is more important than mine. Don’t say I never warned you!

So now I get home and am greeted with the biggest of smiles and the happiest of baby noises…I can’t imagine coming home to anything better than this, even if my job begins all over again from 6-10 when yours ends after a 9-5 workday. It’s all worth it – regardless of whether I’m never able to watch TV in real time (thank you DVR for coming into existence), have a spontaneous night out with friends or catch up on much needed sleep.

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