This is the longest I have stayed away from work. I went on maternity leave in mid September, less than 15 days before Arjun was born. I was entitled to 84 days of leave. Only. But thankfully, my boss is more understanding than company policies and I have 6 months leave sanctioned to me. At that time, I thought 6 months was a decent time to return to work, that by then I’d be bored enough of staying at home. But as I inch closer to that mark, I’m beginning to realize that this may be too soon to leave my baby at home – even if in trustworthy hands – and head back to work. Pray, I’ve not even begun to wean him off yet. And honestly, I don’t even think I’ll be prepared at 7 months to join back. Because I realize that it’s not whether he will manage without me, it’s really about whether I will be able to manage without him, whether I’ll be ok having someone else decide what’s best for him in my absence.
Also, I’ve fared wayyyyyyyy better than I thought I would being a stay at home mum. That I have no time to think of much else except my baby, helps! I love his massage time, his baths, choosing his clothes everyday, sterilizing his toys, putting him to sleep, watching him smile in his sleep, and I love to tuck him in the nook of my arm and lie down so that I can just inhale him. I’m also dabbling in cooking and loving my experiments, successful experiments, if I may add, in the kitchen. I love that I can give myself even an hour of pampering – pedicures, scrubs, massages or some such – once in every 15 days at least. I barely step out without my son for more than an hour but I visit my mom more easily and more often. I’ve enjoyed the winter sun after years. I haven’t been to a movie in 5 months, but that’s ok; I love the afternoon siestas that I had not had the luxury of enjoying since college, and I love that those extra hour or half have returned the glow to my face that years of relentless work and work related stress had taken away. I miss reading myself to sleep but I’ve begun to enjoy television! Not surprising that it’s difficult to think of joining office again.
But I’m not ready to quit work either. I want the best of both the worlds, and that may just be asking for the impossible. If working from home was an option, I’d grab it, but it isn’t. And I’m just left grappling with a situation that’s less than perfect.
So, this has to be the worst thing about being a mom, I’m guessing – this having to choose between a career and precious time with your baby. On the one hand, there’s my work that I’ve given some 9 years of my life to. And on the other, the love of my life. Why must I be forced to choose one over the other?