Back to the Grind

Well, after being off 10 wonderful weeks on maternity leave, I’ve officially been back to work for a full week now.  All in all, it hasn’t been too difficult of a transition.  Obviously it’s hard to go from spending all day with my baby to not…but I have found we are all settling into a routine a lot more easily than I expected.  The whole two-kids-in-daycare thing had me a little nervous since I had no idea what to expect or how our mornings would go.  Fortunately, Ian is old enough (and has been doing this long enough) that he is pretty easy in the morning now.  Hazel is young enough that she goes with the flow and doesn’t cause much issue in the morning, either.  We are supremely lucky.

Besides the relative ease with which they handle the morning, we are also lucky that we have great sleepers.  Ian will sleep through just about anything, and he’s always been that way.  Hazel is an absolute angel at night.  At just 11 weeks old, we are now going on THREE weeks of her sleeping through the night (for real- when we put her down for bed, she doesn’t wake up again until 7 or so in the morning…since we leave before then to get to work and daycare, we are waking her up in the morning instead of the other way around. In fact, I can sneak in her room around 6 and get in a feeding while she’s still asleep before I have to run out the door to catch my carpool.  As I said, we are blessed.).

Even the pumping-at-work situation isn’t awful.  My office recently created a pumping room, and while it’s nothing fancy, it is awesome.  There are 2 separate “stalls” for pumping, separated by cubicle walls and curtains.  Each stall has a desk, chair, and foot stool.  Plus magazines to read and a power strip.  It’s lovely to have a secure, private area to pump… definitely helps alleviate stress and contribute to pumping success.  I now staunchly believe that ALL workplaces should have one of these magical rooms.

All of this makes going back to work that much easier.  It’s still hard, and I still miss my babies, but it’s at least bearable.  Especially when I hear the ladies at daycare fawn over Hazel or listen to Ian talk about all the fun he had with his friends.  These little victories help me focus on the good and ease the “back-to-work-blues”.

Did you go back to work after the birth of your babies?  How did you adjust?

Traveling for Work

The week of the 10th, I had to travel to D.C. for work. I know what some of you are thinking- “Oooh! Fun! Traveling for work sounds so glamorous!” I know because that’s what I thought before I ever had to travel. And yes, it does sound glamorous. And it can even be fun. But most of the time it’s tiring and frustrating. I travelled a few times for work before Ian was born, and I always wished that Jon could have come with me. I like to sight-see and explore, but I just kept thinking about the stuff I was seeing and doing that he would have enjoyed and that I wanted to share with him. And, inevitably, by the end of the trip, I was DEFINITELY ready to go home.

This was my first trip since Ian’s birth, so I’m pretty grateful and lucky that I haven’t had to travel before now. But that also meant that I hadn’t spent more than a day or two at a time away from him and Jon…and that made this trip ESPECIALLY hard. I tried not to cry as I hugged my boys goodbye, but I couldn’t help it once I got in the car- I cried the whole way to the airport. It’s funny because I didn’t really cry when Ian started daycare, and I went back to work (was I nervous, anxious, and heartbroken? Yes. But I knew I’d see him in a few hours and I really liked our chosen daycare.). I think it was just knowing that I wouldn’t come home in the evenings and get a smiley toddler hug and slobbery toddler kiss. That I wouldn’t be able to play Legos or cars or read books together before bed. That I would be coming home each night to an empty hotel room instead of a house full of love. And that was just a little too much to bear. And so I balled like a baby. Fortunately, the airport is 45 minutes away, so I had enough time to pull it together before anyone would see me…

The plane landed at Baltimore-Washington International Airport (BWI) in the early evening, and then I had a 40 minute drive to get to the hotel in the new National Harbor area (in Maryland, right off the Potomac- across the river from Alexandria). I stayed in a very nice hotel- the Gaylord. Nice is probably an understatement. This thing is a monolith and extremely impressive in just about every way. My room was nice- good sized bathroom, plenty of closet/storage space for my clothes, and 2 pretty comfortable queen beds (unfortunately, no king bed for me- shucks!). It also had a balcony that overlooked the central atrium of the hotel, which was a little odd (why would I want to sit or stand on my balcony and stare down at the inside of the hotel?) but also a little cool (the atrium was pretty impressive, with restaurants and shops and a fountain). I walked onto my balcony once or twice, but I can honestly say I didn’t really spend any time out there. Instead, after walking around until the sun went down each night, I horded all the pillows, snuggled in my bed, and read my Kindle (currently reading “The Goldfinch” and after a slow start, I CANNOT put it down).

My days were packed with meetings and work sessions (you know, that stuff that was the reason for my trip), but I tried to make the most of my evenings by meeting up with people I hadn’t seen in a while (I used to be a D.C.-er sort of, and have a lot of friends in the area that I hardly get the chance to see anymore). Monday night I got to meet up with a very good friend whom I hadn’t seen since Ian was born (yes, folks, that is almost 2 years!). We met in Alexandria for dinner, where, coincidentally, I also stumbled upon the freakin’ cutest baby shop I’ve ever seen in my life (called Pink and Brown)… the prices were not so cute, but I couldn’t help myself and bought a few things for Baby Boy H (my brother’s soon-to-be-here son) and Ian. On Tuesday, I met my parents for dinner. Since I was going to be there, my parents decided to take the trip up to the D.C. area for one last “vacation” before school starts in September. It was terrific to see them, and we spent the evening walking around National Harbor and my hotel’s atrium. National Harbor actually is a neat place to wander since there are a lot of restaurants and shops all right there… there is even a Peeps store (yes, you read that right- I had no idea that Peeps brand had their own store, but they do!). I met my parents again on Wednesday night. We stayed in National Harbor again, but ate somewhere different for dinner and spent time afterwards outside enjoying the beautiful weather. They went home on Thursday morning, so Thursday evening I was on my own for dinner. I walked down to this little crab cake restaurant and ordered dinner to go. It was FABULOUS. Having grown up by the water and with grandparents on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, I am a crab girl. I can eat Maryland Blue Crabs any day of the week, and I never pass up an opportunity for some great eats while I’m in the area. Finally, Friday came. I checked out of the hotel, went to a half day of meetings, and then drove to the airport so I could head home. It was absolutely lovely seeing everyone, and I’m extremely glad I had the opportunity, but I was definitely really missing my boys and was eternally grateful that it was time to pack it in.

When I finally pulled into the driveway around 5:30PM, I couldn’t wait to get inside and hug Jon and Ian. Of course, as fate would have it, my toddler that I was so anxious to see couldn’t even be bothered to get off the floor (where he was curled up watching TV/playing with toys) to say hi to me, and my husband was tucked away in the kitchen (at least he was making dinner!). So I had to ask for my hug, and my hopes of a joyful (and maybe even teary-eyed) reunion were dashed (though not completely- I was joyful and teary-eyed, even if the toddler wasn’t). If I didn’t know better, I’d think Ian didn’t miss me at all… except for the fact that when I left the room to find Jon, I heard a shriek and a patter of feet. Apparently me being back was no big deal… as long as I wasn’t leaving again. What a silly boy.

Hopefully I won’t be taking any more trips without them for a while, but some good did come of all this: 1) Jon and Ian got the chance to bond more without me around. 2) Jon gained some confidence in knowing that he could take care of Ian by himself without assistance, and, likewise, Ian gained some confidence in knowing that daddy can do everything mommy can do, too (well, maybe not EVERYTHING- but we’ll let him have this one for now). And that, right there, is almost worth every emotion I endured while I was gone (tears, apprehension, sadness)…as long as I don’t have to do it again anytime soon.