I started work on Monday after 1 year, 1 month, and 2 weeks of finding vocational purpose and fulfillment inside the home.
No matter how much you love work (which I do), or appreciate the merits of daycare (which I do), or desire to get out of the house (which I often do), returning to work after being your children’s primary caregiver is difficult. It is hard to wonder what your children are doing. It is hard to think about them getting upset and not being around to pick then up and hold them close. It is hard to imagine the firsts that you will miss because you are no longer spending the majority of your days with them.
Gavin is my Mama’s boy. His affinity for me manifests itself through the tantrums he throws when we are not together. He likes to be with me, close to me, holding me, nursing from me. For one of the happiest babies I have ever seen, he sure is vocal when he doesn’t have what he wants… And what he wants is me.
As many a mother will tell you, crying can push you over the edge even on a good day. In the throws of one of Gavin’s ear-piercing screams for me to hold him while trying to get things done, I admitted to him that I certainly wouldn’t miss that noise when I returned to work.
Still, it is nice to be wanted. It is comforting to be needed. It is flattering to be his one and only.
Cameron was a Mama’s Boy until he went to daycare. He gained independence and realized that he would be fine – and maybe even enjoy himself more – if he wasn’t always attached to Mama.
They need to grow up. They need to grow wings. They need to fly.
(Why does this ultimate purpose of motherhood seem so unnatural in the daily act of mothering?)
After my first day of work on Monday, I rushed home to find Dan and Gavin waiting at the door for me. Gavin’s face lit up as he reached out eagerly for his first Mama-snuggle in hours. But my big boy – the one who used to reach his own little chubby arms for me at one point – was standing in the living room declaring that he would not come see me because “I don’t love Mommy.”
(He was trying to make a joke. He was trying to be funny. He was trying to justify the changes in his routine.)
I don’t love Mommy.
The day I started work was the first day that Gavin stopped needing my breast every few hours. It was the first day that I wasn’t his one and only. It was the first day that I wasn’t needed. It was the day that will lead to the one where he won’t want me as much anymore.
I like work but I miss them. I miss my Mama’s-Boy baby, I miss my all-too-grown-up toddler. I might not miss the ear-piercing screams, but I do miss being wanted. I miss being needed. I miss being their one and only.