Possibly the only person happy about my return to work is my mother in law. Not that she doesn’t want me to be home or wants me to be unhappy! But I think she’s been DYING to get her hands on this baby more. She had offered to come over the first day back to help my husband with the baby. In the end, she spent the whole day there. (She was still there when I got home – and was just dying to be alone to get overly weepy about seeing my baby and the time lost!) The next day was one of my “work from home” days – she came over to help so I could be sure to be productive. The next two days were my husband’s – she was back for both of them!
Meanwhile back at the ranch…
I was headed into work each day and still crying most of the way in. I know it was only a few days, but it wasn’t getting any easier. My husband and I kept saying – we won’t make any decisions until the weekend, but then would talk about what we’d do when I was home all the time. It was probably best that I was pretty resigned to being home full time as it got me through the days. My third day back one of my coworkers came back from vacation and kept asking how I was doing. It was like she was trying to make me cry – man, I know it’s SO hard. And you just feel like you’re missing so much. The worst part was she made a point of saying how lucky she was that she hadn’t had to face that as she was able to stay home with her kids when they were young. (Sure I’m sure she was just trying to sympathize, but it felt like she was trying to pour salt in the wound!)
It was nice to be able to work from home, but the truth was I felt like I was cheating everyone. I wasn’t really focused on work and therefore cheating them. I wasn’t really focused on the baby – so I was cheating her. I’d lay her on the couch next to me while I worked and she’d look so damn bored. Seriously. She’d catnap during the day, but I think she was just bored to death! And what did that say about my intellectual stimulation? The doctor at her 4 month appt had told us that more than 1 hour of TV a day for a child under 5 reduced test scores by 20 points (I’m not sure what test…). So, sure we weren’t watching TV (well, not much), but I wasn’t exactly stimulating her. I began to worry that she might be better off in daycare. Beyond all that, I felt cheated. I felt tethered to my computer – I couldn’t go out and experience the world. We could barely take a decent walk with the dog. So I was home all day with this baby and felt starved for something more. I loved being with her, but the arrangement was really tough from all sides.
By the end of the week, our decision was pretty much made. As part time wasn’t an option, I was going to quit. In fact, I wasn’t even sure I wanted part time anymore. I just wanted to be able to spend time with my family. But I still held off on telling my boss… I rationalized that I wanted to wait till closer to two weeks so he’d think I took it all seriously, but a big part of me was just scared to quit for all the reasons I’d listed before.
I finally decided to tell him on Wednesday. I was working from home on Thursday and knew that the other pregnant person in my office MIGHT be starting bed rest on Friday, so I wanted to talk to him before that. He was surprised – but surprisingly supportive. And then he said something … odd – well, what if we could work out part time? (What? What?) He didn’t really pursue the path and again indicated it wasn’t too likely, but my insides were screaming – wasn’t that what I’d been asking for?
Because I wanted to maintain a good relationship (and probably because I was scared to quit), I told him I could be very flexible on my last day. We were just getting into the Q3 forecast period, which was a tough time to lose staff – particularly with another person due to go on maternity shortly. I agreed to stay through the forecast - about a month. My boss asked me not to give notice to HR yet, as involving “corporate” might take away some of the flexibility. (My thought is that as long as I give the proper 2 weeks notice (and can’t have any issues there) – I don’t really care.)
So Thursday I worked from home as word started to get out about my leaving – and that night the other woman in my group went into labor! Glad I talked to my boss early – would have felt a little bad about that timing!