Over the holidays, I had fifteen glorious days off of work to relax with my family, eat too much food, chill out in my PJs, and, of course, spend some amazing quality time with my little boy. With the exception of him getting sick for a few days, we had a great holiday—we read books, played with his toy trucks, laughed, visited friends, jumped on his bed, made pancakes together (or "pantins," as he calls them), and went for cold wintery walks followed by warm cups of hot chocolate. Bliss.
Now here is the part where I pause this Norman Rockwell picture I'm creating and admit something to you.
Before my holidays began, I was kind of scared about all of this time I was going to have with my son.
Yes, that's right. I'm a horrible person, aren't I? What kind of loving mother is fearful about spending time with her son??? Yet here's the funny thing—I'm always complaining that I don't have enough time with him. I specifically never book any activities after work and try to only go out on weekends after he's gone to bed (if I go out at all). I highly value our time together and am constantly trying to figure out ways to squeeze more hours out of the day, so that I can spend more time squeezing him. So why then was I scared to have fifteen days off with him?
Well, to be honest, I think I was scared because he's a TODDLER.
He has a crazy amount of endless energy, and I'm 31-weeks pregnant. Sometimes he wants to play games that aren't very fun and I get bored "pretending" to shovel dirt into a pile. He wakes up at 5:30am, even if I stay up until 11pm (gasp!) and want to sleep in—he's wide-eyed and ready to go. And on top of all of this, I'm sort of out of practice!
When I was on mat leave for a year, we grew together. We always found a way to fill our days, and after 365 of them, I found it excruciatingly difficult to be away from him and return to work. But now? Now we are in a different routine, and some days, I'll admit it, I look forward to going to work, because it's less exhausting than chasing him around.
But you know what?
After just a couple of days at home, we easily slipped into our old routines. It fit. It felt right. I danced him to sleep for his afternoon naps again, and was there to eat lunch with him when he woke up. He was more snuggly and affectionate than ever, and really valued his mom time. I really valued my Cole time. By the end of the fifteen days, I found myself thinking, "How am I possibly going to adjust to going back to work? How am I going to pry myself away from these loving toddler hugs?" Sigh.
Tell me, how do you feel about the amount of time you spend with your children? What would your ideal work/life balance look like?