Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Going back to work

Yesterday was my first trip back to the hill since Thursday, June 22nd. I went back for a job interview that went really well; however, as soon as I got in the car to come home I started crying uncontrollably. Yesterday's situation was very unique because I had Carter with me. Yes, you read that correctly, I took Carter with me to a job interview. To make a long story short, I was basically told to bring him along and I got the impression that the folks I met with would have been disappointed had I not brought him.

I got up early yesterday morning and showered so I would be ready to go after Carter's morning nap. Of course he didn't take his full morning nap so that worried me. But I got him up anyways, fed and dressed him in his Tiny Republican onesie and off we went to the hill. My second worry was the fact that he hadn't had a dirty diaper. He usually does one after his morning feeding but of course he didn't this morning, which only meant one thing. He would have it at some point while I was on the hill. Of course as soon as we pulled into the garage I could smell it. I had about 10 minutes to spare so we changed it quickly in the car and off we went.
For all my DC friends, this onesie came from Dawn Price Baby. They have great political onesies if you're looking for one.

As soon as we arrived at the interview Carter was just as happy as could be. He was smiling and talking to everyone. I was SO happy! Then we went into the interview. We had a slight delay at the beginning because one of the people I was meeting with had to take a phone call. Within 5 minutes of waiting on him to return the meltdown began. Oh yeah, Carter had a meltdown. Full blown screaming and tears. I tried to get him to settle down but I think he could sense my frustration and nervousness so things weren't going well. I gave him about 5 minutes and then I called Chris. Thankfully he was on the hill and headed to lunch with a friend of ours so he was able to come and get Carter. So I learned a valuable and obvious lesson, never take a 12 week old to an interview. No matter how badly people say they want to see the cute little baby!

The best party of the story is the fact that my interview lasted two hours. The entire time I couldn't help but think that Chris was probably making laps around the building trying to keep Carter calm. I also didn't bring a bottle with me because I never dreamed I would be in the interview that long. When we finally finished I quickly called Chris to find out where he was and how he was doing. Come to find out Carter was a little angel the entire time and met several of our friends while dining at the Capitol Hill Club. Funny how things work out!

But back to the point of this post. After leaving the hill the reality of going back to work really hit home. I've enjoyed every second of my maternity leave and I have tried not to think about going to work. I guess I've done a good job of it because after being there today and talking extensively about my job it really made me upset. The current member of Congress I work for is retiring at the end of the year; therefore, everyone on staff is currently looking for a new job. It's definitely a little bittersweet because I enjoy the member I work for and I like my co-workers. All of this does come at a difficult time with elections just around the corner and coming off three months of maternity leave. I would rather not have to stress about my work situation, but I certainly can't change the circumstances.

I would love nothing more in this world than to stay home with Carter. I'd like a few extra months, weeks, days, you name it. I realize that if my wish was granted I'd be in the same position once that time passed, but I just don't know how mom's do it. I love our days together. I love going to get him first thing in the morning and spending a few extra minutes snuggling in the bed with Chris before he has to get up and get ready for work.

I love feeding him in the bed while watching Good Morning America and The Today Show and then reading stories and doing tummy time before it's time for his morning nap. I love enjoying the peace and quiet in the house when he takes his morning nap so I can enjoy some coffee and catch up on emails.

 I love our walks around the neighborhood.

I love having him just sit in my lap and smile and coo at me.

I love rocking him to sleep. I love lying beside him on the floor while we play with his toys. I love how he'll stop nursing for a second or two just to give me a great big smile. I love going into his room to get him up from his nap and how he'll just stare at me with those big blue eyes.

I love unswaddling him after a nap and watching him stretch his arms way above his head. I love how he gets excited when lying on our bed and watching the ceiling fan. I love taking him to the non-mobile playgroup. I love organizing play dates with friends who have children his age.

I love every single minute of everyday that I have with him.

How am I supposed to leave for 9 hours of the day while someone else gets to take care of him? How am I supposed to be OK with someone else witnessing his firsts and telling me about it? I want to hear his first laugh and see him roll over for the first time. I want to see him take his first steps. Yes, there are pictures and video but it isn't the same. I want to be here to witness it myself and give him a big kiss and hug when he reaches those milestones. Not someone else.

I recognize his different cries and know how he likes to be held. I want to nurse him throughout the day and have him look at me with those big blue eyes. I know his schedule and how he likes to stick to it. I'm his mom and I'm supposed to be the one with him day in and day out. We haven't had a day apart since the day he was born and there are even times when I miss being pregnant with him. From time to time I'll think I feel in a kick in my stomach and I miss having him there.

I realize women struggle with their roles as mothers and their careers every single day. It does scare me to think about leaving the working world for too long and not being able to get back into it without being judged or penalized. I guess no one understands the struggle until they have to face it themselves. All I know is that there is no job in this entire world that is more important to me than being Carter's mom. I just wish it could be my one and only job for the time being. This age is so special and it surely doesn't last long so I have to cherish every second of it while it lasts. I'm in shock that he's already three months old. I have no idea where the time has gone, but it's no joke that times goes by faster once you have a child. I can only imagine how quickly it will pass once I'm working again.

Chris has been very supportive through all of this and continues to tell me it will be OK. He points out that he never had the time home with Carter that I've enjoyed. I certainly realize that and hope I don't sound selfish through my tears and complaining. I know it has been hard for him to leave for work every morning knowing that Carter and I get to stay home and enjoy our day with one another. I don't know if father's out there get enough credit for what they have to go through themselves, because I know it can't be easy. Wouldn't it be nice if we could all just stay home together as a family and not have to worry about anything else?

I guess all I can do now is pray that I have the strength to get through this transition whether I like it or not. I'm trying to cherish every minute of these last few days I have home but I get upset at the end of each day just because I know it's one more down. Yesterday as I was crying while changing Carter's diaper I noticed he was staring intently at me. I stopped for a second to wipe the tears that were falling down on him and he looked at me with a great big smile on his face. I felt like he was telling me it was going to be OK and he loves me no matter what!

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