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The inevitable return to work

Maternity leave is officially over. Today I returned to my job as an Elementary music teacher. I did it. Finished the day. Felt a little foggy around the edges, not as on top of my game as I would like, but I finished the day without tears or vodka.  ;)

I felt even more blessed to have this time with Tope on maternity leave after a very short maternity leave with Caleb, over six years ago. Following a C-section, I somehow managed to not break down when going back to work after only three weeks home. His birth followed a job lay-off , a second house mortgage from a house we thought would be sold but we somehow still had in posession, and only a handful of sick days due to mono the year before. The circumstances stunk, but my saving grace was the knowledge Jon would get to stay home with Caleb instead of taking him to daycare. Looking back, I really wish I had borrowed some money, or eaten less for a few weeks ( it would have been something!), and stayed home longer. I missed out on some long cuddle sessions with my little boy that I'll never get back. One of my regrets in life.

No regrets with this 12 week maternity leave - or are there regrets? Will I look back at this time and think I should have cuddled more? read more? played more games? built more legos? taken more walks and bike rides?

I really struggled frequently with this time I "had off" from work. I felt like I was always a dime short of what I "should" have been accomplishing. I knew 95% of my time was to be devoted to time spent with Tope, and that is pretty close to what happened, but with that time spent with him, I neglected many household chores and other items. At night, as I debated whether to sleep or wash dishes, get the to-do list done, put away the table full of toys, or put away the piles of laundry. I would think "Mara! You've been home ALL day! Why aren't these things already done!?!" Funny how our mind knows the correct answer to the question, and yet we kick ourselves in the butt by answering the question in the wrong way. I believe I wanted to be SuperWoman during my maternity leave - bond with my child, fall in love, spend my whole day with him and my other two guys, AND also have the house finally spotless, dishes always washed, exercise accomplished, all homecooked meals, and time for a movie every once in a while with the hubby... totally doable right!? ha!

Admittedly, I did get a couple random projects done around the house, such as the playroom has never been cleaner or more organized - But that is because Tope and I spent Many hours playing in that room. I also cleaned out our coat closet - But that is because I needed to finally find hats/mittens/coats for Tope to wear! But still, these and a couple other small projects have made a difference in the house and are things I would have never had time to do had I been at work.

Work. I really do enjoy teaching at school. It is, I believe, my calling in life, at least at this point in time. Someday I could see myself in other areas, but I really do believe I am meant to be teaching elementary music. Somedays it can be frustrating and exhausting, but most jobs can be that way. The hardest part for me now is coming home from working with kids all day and then going home to - well - kids. Tonight was quite the eyeopener. I have been used to coming home to ONE child, who was typically relatively calm and quite at home.... it is anything but quiet at night in this house now! As soon as Caleb is home, Tope and Caleb are loud and crazy brothers who work hard to out-do eachother the whole night. Wouldn't have it any other way really!!! Except, now after dealing with behaviors all day at school, woofta it makes it a little harder to keep patience at night. A new turning point in my life. Not something that would be dealt with right away if we had brought home a newborn - just one of the many differences of bringing home an older child.

Although I'm sad I cannot be home all day with Tope anymore, I am very thankful it means Jon will now get his time with Tope. He plans to take six weeks off to get a bunch of one-on-one time, minus a few days here and there that he needs to go into work. On the days he can't be home, his Mother will be staying with us to help out so that Tope can stay home and be with a familiar face. And then in 6 weeks I will be home for the summer - a HUGE blessing I have as a teacher. Summer will then be Mom, Tope, and Caleb time.... should be interesting to say the least... I'm sure you'll hear more about it in about 2 months time.  ;)

Many of you have been praying for our transition as a new family and we thank you so much for the prayers and support. At this time I ask that you pray for the relationship of Jon & Tope, that it can become even stronger in the next 6 weeks, and that Jon is able to take his mind off work and be present at home, a task that will be very difficult to do as he still has a lot to accomplish even though he won't be at work every day. Also please keep praying for Caleb as he continues to figure this "big brother" thing out. And for Tope, that he can start expressing his feelings with words, as it can be hard to understand what he is thinking at so many times, especially during the more emotional times.

And now - to bed!!! I have GOT to start getting back into an early bed routine - yikes!

Night Friends!
In Christ ~


Mara

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