The End of Maternity Leave: Who is Crying the Hardest?
My daughter’s eight-week maternity leave came to an end yesterday, and I don’t know who is having the most difficult time adjusting to her being back at work. How did eight weeks go by so fast? And why am I the one that seems to be taking it the hardest?
Her husband is a stay-at-home dad, so the transition isn’t as difficult for the kids as it would be if they were suddenly going to daycare, but it’s still a huge change. Her husband had the routine down pat taking care of one child by himself, but as anyone who has more than one child will tell you, two kids are way more than double the work. It may not make sense logically or mathematically, but every parent knows it to be true.
When my daughter talked to her three-year-old son about going back to work, he cried a little and said, “No thank you!” which was the same response he gave the nurse when he got his flu shot last month. At least he’s polite when expressing his disapproval! Callister has loved this interlude. He has loved having so much time with his mom, and surprisingly, he has enjoyed playing the role of big brother. We’ve been waiting for the stage where Callister wants to take his sister back to the hospital, but it hasn’t happened yet. Instead, he has made numerous requests for more babies!
But now, can we talk about me?! I’m whining the most about my daughter returning to work. I will miss her! I will miss our mornings on her patio when we passed the baby back and forth while talking about everything and nothing at the same time. With COVID-19 circling our state like a hungry wolf, we battened down the hatches between our two homes, creating a quaranteam bubble. We still took the safety precautions of wearing masks and sitting outside if at all possible. But there was something about shutting out the rest of the world during this stressful time that served to draw us closer. I’ve loved our little cocoon, and I’m not quite ready to emerge.
I’ve always enjoyed a close bond with my daughters. I was a single mother during most of their childhoods, and it often seemed we were a tight little team, the three musketeers against the world. Since my daughter became a mother, we seem to have become even closer. She “gets me” in a way she didn’t before. Now that she’s a mother of a daughter, that’s one more connection creating a solid bond.
My daughter didn’t need my help during her maternity leave. She has strong support from her husband, and their teamwork is impressive. Occasionally, I would “babysit” while my daughter took a shower or a nap, but most of the time, I was only there to see my new granddaughter and talk to my daughter. My daily morning visits weren’t about providing physical assistance, and she certainly didn’t need my advice. During her maternity leave, my role was to provide a little companionship, an extra set of arms to hold a baby or push a three-year-old on the swing. I fulfilled the coveted grandmother role of gushing about the children and oohing and ahhing over her new baby girl’s every coo and smile. That’s not a tough job; my grandchildren are deliciously perfect!
I hate that our little quaranteam bubble has burst, but I’m so thankful we shared this peaceful pause in time. The grandchildren are in good care with their dad, and although my daughter loved having eight weeks at home, she also loves her career and couldn’t imagine staying home forever. She is passionate about her children and her profession.
Sylvia is two months old today and the sweetest baby ever. She will miss her mommy. I will miss her mommy. The difference between Sylvia and me is I’m more of a big whiny baby about it.