Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Hi-ho, hi-ho, it's back to work I go...

So 12 weeks and 3 days of my 13 week maternity leave period have passed, and on Monday morning I go back to work.

It may come as a surprise to most that I think I'm looking forward to going back. The last 3 months have really flown by, and, looking back, there are a lot of things that I wish I had done differently (including using a belly binder and starting some exercise), but then retrospect is always 20/20, isn't it?

Even before Zac was born I was feeling a little guilty about going back. I willingly worked until the Friday before the Sunday I went into labour. The truth is though, I miss being creative and productive. Sure, I have learned to be many other kinds of creative and productive at home, but for the first time in a long time, I actually enjoy my job - and honestly, as much as I love my son, and treasure every second we spend together, I'm just not very good at being home with him every day, all day, all alone. Something about the lack of company and poor weather (for the most part anyway) made it lose some of its initial (idyllic) appeal.

All that said, Zac is still very young. I'm reminded when I see the other kids at my Mom's daycare - Ethan included - sit up, hold their own bottles/utensils, and go to swimming lessons... my little boy will only be 3 months old next week - when I'm already back at work. And yet, he seems to fit right in at Bonny Babies. He loves the company (and conversation) of the other children there, and as soon as he sees Ethan, he wiggles in my arms, his little feet kicking furiously in excitement. I only hope that one day if he asks why I went back so soon, he won't feel that he was neglected.

Fortunately (I think) God has reassured me that (a) He knows exactly how I'm feeling (and how I'm wired), and (b) that it's ok to want the balance of work. On Sunday we heard a sermon on how we have been created by God with the privilege and blessing to create - to work. The preacher likened it to a small child being able to play in a sandpit: exploring and creating and imagining as much as they want. Work was never meant to be a negative, horrible experience. It was meant to bring us joy and God glory.

I realise it's a far cry from what most of us experience. Many of us feel bored, frustrated, overworked and underpaid. Not so long ago that was me, but I'm so grateful that I'm now in a (new) position to try to experience it the 'right' way. I challenge you to find something you love to do (most often it's the area in which God has gifted you) and make your work your worship. After all, if we're spending 45+ hours at work every week, we may as well be doing something that we enjoy!

Am I going to miss being home with Zac? Absolutely. Am I going to replace him with my work? Absolutely not. From Monday, both Zac and I will have the pleasure of a few hours with our peers, being creative and having our minds stimulated, and then the unrivalled joy of being reunited and (undoubtedly) smothered in hugs and kisses. I can't actually wait...

Friday, 7 September 2012

Happy Birthday to Me

So yesterday I turned 29, a far less scary and emotional experience than turning 28 (if you remember last year's birthday post). I think the fact that my birthday fell inside my maternity leave also contributed to the fact that it felt very much like just another ordinary day.

Zac spent the morning at Bonny Babies - his second day this week. According to the principal, he is getting better: while he still screams the school down, apparently, it's not as bad or as long as before. And miraculously, the limited expressed milk I've had to send with him has lasted his stay! Instead of rushing for a swim (which by the way, is not the best thing to do before a feed...) or sitting in front of the pile of marking I still have to do, I went to the hairdresser. Evidently, grooming is a universal pick-me-up for mommies, because when I mentioned that I was feeling frumpy, no mommy in the salon could resist the urge to laugh out loud and then 'amen' in agreement! So for 3 peaceful hours, while my hair was being done, I had my feet up, sipped on my tea and paged through a series of magazines (and only occasionally messaged my mom for an update on Zac).

Later Zac, Andel and I went for a late lunch of miso soup, chicken chow mein, spring rolls and sushi. After a year of no sushi, I really thought I'd be knocking them back. However, it seems for all the room in my belly, it can't hold as much sushi as it used to... Nevertheless it meant I had sushi for dinner.

I guess the biggest change in this year's celebrations was that we were not out with our friends socialising at some trendy restaurant/bar or painting the town red. This year, we were at home for 'tea'. As I rearranged the living room to accommodate everyone Andel piped up "hey, are we having a prayer meeting?", and just like that, with savoury biscuits in one hand, and milktart in the other, I crossed the threshold into the years of the 'mommy-party'.

Not that anyone complained, mind you. Yaya made a caramel and cream red velvet cake, and PJ made a white-chocolate mousse cake (well worth the 4 year wait!), as well as dessert. Everyone left with full (albeit turning) bellies, and sugar-rush-induced happy faces.

But, by far, the happiest faces were in my home this morning: Zac, who is happiest after a good sleep, woke with a wide gummy smile, only marginally bigger than his parents' who enjoyed their second night of uninterrupted sleep in one week! Yaya, watch this space! ;)