First day back to work after eight weeks of maternity leave. Allow me now to say something really unpopular. Not for the easily offended. Seriously, if you fall into that “righteous indignation” category, just look away. Ready? Here it goes: Being a stay-at-home parent? Much easier than being a parent that also works full time. There, I said it!
And here’s why: I know that being a stay-at-home parent is not easy. Being someone’s full-time primary caregiver is grueling work, no matter how you cut it. But being a working parent is harder (in many cases) because not only are you responsible for all of the same things that the stay-at-home parent is, but you also have to be a five-day-a-week road warrior and an office-maven. It ain’t easy, y’all. Maybe it would be easier if I hated my job. Then I could just blame my job and be like, “Stupid, lame job! I hate you!” and not feel bad about not wanting to do it. Alas, this isn’t the case. I love my work and find it very fulfilling. I wish I could do both at the same time.
Instead, I spent most of my day adjusting to my new surroundings, unpacking my office, and catching up on my clients. My company moved into a new space while I was gone, and while the new place is awesome, it came with some less welcome changes. For example: my new PC came with a wireless mouse. A wireless mouse that does not ‘mouse’. I think my productivity does a sharp nosedive when I have to spend five minutes every half-hour shaking, cajoling, and doing voodoo over this infernal device in order to click things on my computer screen. Yes, Mr. Wireless Mouse, you are a pretty slate color. Very sleek. But give me my ol’ Logitek roller-ball mouse any day — that bugger actually plugs into the CPU, so I know when it’s connected. Another new addition to my office: a high-tech phone system. Guys, I had a hard enough time with the old fashioned model — the one with twenty buttons and algebraic button combinations to unlock tasks like transferring calls and forwarding to voice mail. How does a touch screen, LCD version with 50 buttons improve that scenario? I’m not even going to try answering the phone today. Forget it.
All in all, it wasn’t a bad day, aside from missing my girl. I was not prepared for how difficult the transition back into the work force was going to be. Moira and I had a good cry over it last night… well, she cried over gas in her tummy, and I cried over going back to work. At least we were crying together.
My anxiety has been slowly building for weeks, but started to manifest as fits of mania in the last 14 days or so. Mania can be great for the stay-at-home parent, by the way. Man, does the house get clean n’ sparkly when you’re dancing around like the Keebler elf. Less fun, though, is when mania manifests as anger or rage because… well, shit happens. Even less fun than that are the crippling lows that follow periods of mania. The cost of which is too high to pay when you have a little person to look after. Thankfully, it’s easy to put that burden down when Moira is in my arms. In a quiet office, though, with few distractions and even fewer babies, it is much easier to ramble down that dark pathway in my mind that dead ends in a great, creeping void. That is a country I am never eager to visit. I feel blessed, though, that after wandering through that desert all day, I came home to a child — the balm for my soul. There is such peace in her presence. Too bad it can’t be bottled and administered throughout the long day.