There's less than a month left of my maternity leave, and today I started to feel noticeably anxious and sad about it for the first time.
While there have been a few tasks that have kept me tethered to the Inn work-wise (picking our Resident Artists, hiring new cleaning staff, paying bills, and maintaining our social media to name a few), for the most part it has been an incredibly successful transition away from the day to day operations (thank you Brett and Michelle!) and so, I have been able to spend all my time with this squishy, adorable, laughing-- and yes, crying-- baby.
And what a treasure it's been! I honestly don't think an hour goes by without thinking, "Damn, I'm so lucky I get to do this."
"This" being... what exactly though? Because sometimes it feels like it's, well, nothing. I'm barely getting the dishes or thank you notes done so I'm obviously not making art, not growing my business, not bettering my community. I'm not even napping when she's napping, so sometimes as I take stock at the end of the day I ask myself: But seriously, what the fuck did I do all day? Like literally, where did the hours go?
They went to breast feeding, to diaper changing, to giving baths when diapers changes go awry, to dancing to really loud Talking Heads with her in order to get her to nap, to walking down the road in the fresh air also to get her to nap, to several loads of laundry, to making ridiculous faces at her so she'll giggle, to making even more ridiculous noises at her so she'll learn to use her own voice, to swaddling and un-swaddling and re-swaddling, to reading her the news aloud (and usually stopping shortly because it's way too fucked up these days for a baby), to bouncing and burping, to more breast feeding and diapers changes and...
And all together that often feels like "nothing". But what I need to remember is that it is something.
It's raising a child. It's spending time with her that everyone says will go so quickly and holy shit it does, it DOES. Where have these past 10 weeks gone??
Oh right, see above.
I'm lucky (again) that when I return to work it will be literally in my own backyard and that Steven works from home 99% of the time. In some ways, that will make the transition to working-and-parenting easier. And in some ways I'm sure it will also be harder because I guarantee we're underestimating just how difficult it will be. All in all I think it'll be a "cross that bridge when we get to it" kind of thing. Like so much of parenthood it turns out. Because for all the thinking and prepping and reading and wondering--
--you of course have no idea what it's really going to be like until you're actually living it.
So no more beating myself up about supposedly "doing nothing". I've got three more weeks of maternity leave, this precious "something", and I'm going to do my best to revel in it. And after that I'm going to do my best to revel in whatever new balance we create. Please hold me to it, ok?