However, there is no panel who will determine if I am ready and will decide when I go back. It's been decided for me. Ready or not, this is happening. I am going to be the client who needs an after hours or Saturday appointments. I keep trying to remember the mixed emotions I had when I left for my leave. I was going to miss my long standing patients. I was going to miss the sense of identity provided by my occupation. Turns out, I didn't miss working anywhere near as much as I thought I would. Now I'm going to miss staying in my bed clothes until 10 or 11 AM. I'm going to miss watching Gilmore Girls as I wash bottles. I'm going to miss swimming under the sun at noon. Most of all, I'm going to miss watching my Jate grow and develop right before my eyes.
Except, and I hate to admit this, I have been growing a bit bored. Especially as Husband had a lot of long nights due to his hockey assignments, I felt restless. It's hard maintaining a one sided conversation all day long. I would feel frustrated when she would spit-up on me for the umpteenth time, or when she would pee on the changing table, again. A break from my routine is actually welcome.
I keep telling myself that this transition is going to be good for both of us. Jate needs to be around professionals who know what she should be doing to develop at this point in time, rather than me checking the baby centre app from time to time. She needs to be around other babies and kids. When we made the decision to have an only child, we made a promise to the hypothetical child that we would provide opportunities for social interaction with his or her peers. We've spent a week transitioning to day care, where she's attended from 9-2 as a way to ease into her new routine and so far she's done rather well. I managed to hold it together on her first day, mainly because I had so many things to do. A long overdue dentist appointment and a trip to the grocery store, where I spent over two hundred dollars. What did I buy for all that money? Husband inquired. Honestly, I don't really know. I was just shopping without a baby and I don't know when that opportunity will come again.
It's also going to be good for our cats. I took Tyler to the vet as I noticed that he was losing weight (fun being stuck in traffic with a screaming baby and screaming kitty). Two hundred dollars later, we received a diagnosis of stress. Apparently, it's a hard knock life for a cat. Actually, I do feel badly for him when she really shrieks, as he does look distressed. Seventy five dollars later, I got some more Feli.way diffusers to help ease his stress and he's been maintaining his weight. Hopefully, having the baby out of the house for most of the day will ease it some more.
I am also very fortunate that I have a job that I love and provides a lot of professional satisfaction. I have colleagues and staff members who are supportive and I truly enjoy working along side. I've really missed those social interactions that help the work day pass. I'm also looking forward to being on a more equal footing with Husband. While he does his share of diaper duty in the middle of the night and pitches in with many other child care chores; there were times when he would pull the "I have a busy day tomorrow" card. I've been warned by a few mothers, that I'll probably still be the default parent, but at least I'll have that card in my back pocket as well.
We're very lucky that our day care is so close and isn't going to increase my commute time, which is only 15-20 minutes. Although we're planning that I'll drop her off and Husband will pick her up, I needed to adjust my scheduling template so that I could pick her up if needed. I was able to shorten my lunch break to half an hour, so my day should be able to end at 5 PM. I talked to my Lead Physician and Centre Manager about working one 12 hour day and reducing my weekly hours to 36, so I would only work four days a week. While cutting down to 32 hours a week would reduce my salary by 20%, when we crunched the numbers of just dropping four hours against the day care savings, it was less than $5K (after taxes). The approximate cost of a transfer. I made that case to Husband, and reminded him once again of how much we're saving because I am breastfeeding. However, in order to put this into place, we need one other provider who is willing to work evening hours and need to find staff who can do evening hours, so it's just a hypothetical at the moment. This is fine by me, as I can just focus on working regular hours, let alone shock my system with a 12 hour day. The logistics of working four days a week and being a mom for the remaining three just feels much more balanced than doing five and two. However, on that long day, my hours would be from 7 AM - 8 PM, which means I just might see her when she wakes and might catch her before she falls asleep. I'd be giving up seeing her for part of a day in order to gain an entire day with her. Plus it would require Husband to be the lone parent before and after day care for her on those days. We'll see if this goes to fruition.
A few months ago, I started fretting that I was never going to be able to swim or work out again, but I soon realised that the more I used the word never, the more I would guarantee that never would become a reality. I had to stop saying never and think about solutions. The shorter lunch break, which would end my work day at 5 PM, will also allow me to attend the 5:30 gym class and still make it back home for dinner and putting Kate to bed. I know I'm not going to be able to swim or work out every day as I used to, but I am going to aim for two times per week. I wasn't going to try to fit in any exercising at all during my first weeks back, then I complained how I didn't do any activity while we were in Connecticut and I could be going almost a month without working out, so Husband challenged me to fit it in during those first weeks. If it's going to be part of our routine, might as well incorporate it right away.
I'm approaching the return in baby steps, a bit like What About Bob? I'm going back on a Wednesday, so I'll have a short week. Then a full week and another short week due to Thanksgiving. Then it's three full weeks before another partial week leading up to Christmas. We're usually not as busy during the holiday season. Do you ever wonder who goes in for their yearly GYN exam on Christmas Eve? Jehovah Witnesses. I have 3 or 4 JWs who come to see me on that day, as they feel it's the only place to avoid the holiday madness. I'll take a few days off while my parents visit for the holidays. Then we're in the new year and three weeks away from the MLK long weekend. I keep reminding myself that it's not like I'm never going to have another day off, in fact we may have a staycation week in April as her Day Care has a spring break... Sigh. It won't be the same.