you can’t go back again

So I’m going to take a stab at writing about going back to work, an event which is now scheduled to occur in less than two weeks. At that point it will have been five and a half months since I’ve set foot in my office, nine days before T was born. It was always going to feel weird going back after so much time away, but from what I understand a lot of “changes” have occurred during these months, people have been let go, moved groups, moved seats, and rumor has it that morale is not just low but nonexistent.

I’ll still be working in the same sales group but with two new (to me) senior team members. I’m hoping that months of being self-sufficient has primed them to continue to be somewhat self-reliant, and not, like a certain team member who sometimes made me feel sorry for his mother who was surely doing his laundry well into his college years.

My plan is to leave the office as early as possible so I can get home before 3pm and take T’s afternoon nap with him. We shall see.

Anyway, a lot of people comment that going back to work must feel “bittersweet” because as sad as I am about leaving T, it must be nice to be around adults and have adult conversation again right?

Erm, no, not particularly. I’m kind of totally fine discussing T’s poop patterns or feeding woes all day long with my other mom friends via text. I find myself with absolutely zero desire to go back to talking about yields, the basis, convexity, and the like all day long again. I know that many women appreciate the opportunity to use the “non-mommy” part of the brain but, personally, I think I’d be quite happy to leave it on the shelf for the next five years collecting dust.

I wanted to be a mom. And now, I am a mom and that is all I really have the desire to be. I love that I know T better than anyone else by far and I love that he wants me when he needs comfort (or bo.ob). This is everything I’ve ever wanted. Being a mom is hands-down the most meaningful thing I’ve ever done with my life.

It kills me that I have to now go back to work and pretend that it matters when I know it doesn’t.

Okay, okay, I know I need a few disclaimers and caveats here now, because yes, I am so lucky to have my job. And it is a good job. I work with good people and I have an amazing boss. On many levels I do really enjoy what I do, it is constantly pushing me to learn more and expand my knowledge base. It’s never boring.

But it isn’t raising my baby. And I feel like if I were doing something like, raising money for orphans in Rwanda or something, I could at least justify that I was doing something good for the world in lieu of raising my baby, but I’m not. There really is no feel good aspect of what I do from a “bettering the world” perspective. I work in an industry that’s about making money.

So I know you’re probably thinking right about now, “Why don’t you stop whining and just quit then?”

Sadly, it’s not really an option. I mean, it kind of is, but mostly it’s not.

Strictly speaking, yes, I could quit. We could make massive changes in our life, rent out the condo, move to the ‘burbs, drastically scale back the luxuries we allow ourselves. Paul makes enough money on his own that, yes, it is technically feasible.

But it really kind of isn’t. At least not right now. You see, I didn’t mention this, but the reason we were suddenly able to afford a night nanny back in February, was because I got a large raise and promotion, yes, while I was on maternity leave of all times. My boss made it pretty clear that it was meant to make the point that I was valued and they wanted me back (see what I mean about great boss?). Anyway, the result of all this is that I guess I’m sort of the primary breadwinner for the household now if we define “primary breadwinner” as the one who brings home 50% more than the other.

But that isn’t even the real reason I can’t leave, because even with that, it still sort of feels worth it to me to give it all up and spend all my time with my son.

The real reason is that I do want more babies. Which for me means inevitably expensive, specialist-packed, monitoring-filled pregnancies. Oh and possibly astronomically expensive NICU stays.

At least for now my company offers crazy good insurance whereby all my many (many) ultrasounds and labs were free (for me). My entire hospital stay for delivery cost me three figures out of pocket. Low three figures. Same for T’s 21-day NICU stay which involved doctors from every pediatric specialty (and a couple radiologists from UCSF). MRI’s, EEGs, ultrasounds, so much labwork they made him anemic (sad face)…you get the picture.

I cannot imagine how much my pregnancy through the end of T’s NICU stay would have put us into debt if not for the generous healthcare insurance provided by my company.

I know it’s not the most inspiring reason to keep working, but it just is what it is.

So I’m going back. And we’ll make the best of it. Like so many other mother’s before have, who didn’t really want to go back to work but had to and it wasn’t so bad after all.

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