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...