Summer in Review

first day of school (work) for mama!

Summer is over, and I am back to work (shh, no I’m not blogging from my desk when I should be putting together packets for the beginning of school). I decided that I was going to handle this transition differently than others, that I wouldn’t begin thinking or talking about it ahead of time. I have noticed my tendency to process, re-process, and then OVER-PROCESS impending transitions, and that actually contributes to my increased anxiety. So this time I ignored the transition. Maybe it was denial, or maybe it was really awesome coping, I’m not quite sure. And while last night I had a touch of restless sleeping, I’m going to chalk it up to that rascally 20 month old lying next to me.

To allay the back-to-work-mama guilt that started to spin my wheels around 5pm (all those ‘but I should have done this’ or ‘is it going to be hard for Potamus to go to daycare 4 days from only 2 days?’ thoughts, I decided to focus on what I HAD accomplished this summer. And it turns out that I was a pretty freaking amazing mom in the past 3 months of summer:

  • Road trip to Cannon Beach
  • no less than 6 trips to the zoo
  • no less than 5 trips to KidsQuest Museum
  • Road trip to Cama Beach State Park
  • Road trip to Eastern Washington
  • Splash park shenanigans
  • Weekly lunch dates (with tot-in-tow) with mom friends
  • Puyallup Fair
  • barbecues with the grandparents
  • splashing in our backyard ‘pool’
  • endless bubble blowing excursions
  • lunch dates to Panera
  • driving around listening to Macklemore to get Potamus to take a nap

I mean, the list could go on and on. Where I failed, in my grumpy attitude toward my husband, and resenting him working 3 jobs, I also excelled in rolling with the punches in a lot of cases I re-defined my identity as a summertime-stay-at-home-mom, and am now back to work, and I will miss out on certain aspects of life with Potamus, but I will also gain a lot, as well. I’m trying to focus on what I did, the moments we snuggled, and the experiences of him hugging me voluntarily for the first time, how I’ve really gotten to see him develop into a funny little person with a personality as big as the moon, and a sense of humor to rival any tv comedian. It was a good summer. Yes it was hard, but, like labor, I remember all the good parts, all the love I felt, in betwen all the sandwich making, diaper changing, tantrum avoiding messes. In wistful moments I think of how much of a sweet baby he was at the beginning of the summer, and how a ‘short’ three months has turned him in to quite the ‘little man’ toddler. Sigh. Those hugs he gives me, though…I mean, that’s gold.

How have you helped yourself navigate tricky transitions? Tips for staying sane?

Daycare/School Day #1

I managed to wait unti 3pm to call and check-in on Potamus at daycare/school. Boof called at 10:30 and gave me a text report that eased my mind enough to get back to my crazy first-day-back-to-work. Why the college decided to have the first day back to work be the first day that students start class, too, is beyond me. But hey, we’re surviving!

Daycare Day 1

When I went to pick him up he seemed surprised, but was happily munching on cheerios in his high chair. He didn’t seem abnormally clingy, and didn’t protest when I nursed him and then popped him in the carseat for our ride home. Once home we played and he seemed SO happy, even “Bollywood” dancing in his bedroom and reading lots of stories. I’m hoping that school is a good place for my extroverted little chap!

And I didn’t cry. I am sure he’ll have cranky sad days, but overall it made me feel so good that he was only sad for about 15 minutes in the morning, and did amazing at naptime (2.5 hours on his mat!). Go Potamus!

Mindful Anxiety

I noticed last night, after all of the Easter festivities were finished, that my soul was sad. Not only was yesterday a wonderful holiday celebration, and it’s hard to come down from the high of being around all of the lovely people in my life, but I also┬árealized that yesterday was my last Sunday on maternity leave.

I begin work next weekend, which many find strange, but it’s my team’s turn to be on-call, and so it seemed a better choice to start a few days early and go back to work with my team. But I am propelling my emotions forward a week and feeling sad. Sad that this lovely time with Potamus is ending.

Today is Monday, and I am finding one foot in the present moment, being mindful and aware of how I am feeling RIGHT NOW. Potamus and I lounged in bed nursing this morning and I just kept looking at his sweet face and thinking ‘I love this. I love him. I am sad that this is going to be different in a week.’ The other foot is in the future, trying to plan out my schedule in my head to minimize the anxiety that is going to be coming my way. This planner part of my personality can be quite dangerous, and so I am trying to only let it in sparingly, otherwise I might find myself pulling away from both Boof and Potamus to try and lessen the pain of going back to work.

To be honest, that pulling away feeling is what I am dreading happening. I’m not sure if it’s leftover postpartum anxiety, but I sometimes worry that when I am not the only one who is able to feed him, and have that lovely snuggly time, that I will somehow no longer be his mother. No, not that I won’t be his mother, per se, but that I won’t feel that bond, and that my not feeling the bond will affect him not feeling the bond. Perhaps it’s an unfounded fear, but it feels real nonetheless. Even when people ask me about breastfeeding, I have to be honest, I know that many people exclusively pump to give their child the nutrients that are found in breastmilk without the nursing experience (whether they couldn’t or didn’t want to), I breastfeed for the emotional bond, and not necessarily for the nutrient benefits. I don’t see formula as poison, and probably would feed Potamus formula if he couldn’t nurse. So I worry that when the nursing relationship changes, even slightly, that I will feel less of an emotional bond to him. It may sound crazy, but I have even found times lately, where he’s crying and I feel like I am incapable of meeting his needs, and I pass him off to Boof or my mother-in-law. Will I become completely apathetic once I begin work?