My dearest, sweet baby girl Esme,
Tomorrow I will do the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do (today, by the time you get this):
leave you in the care of someone else.
I don’t want to, but supporting our family is expensive, and Daddy and I have to work our jobs for 8 hours per day to make sure you have a home, clothes, insurance and food (for mommy, so I can make food for you).
My heart is breaking as I write this, thinking of what you might wonder:
“Is mommy gone?”
“Why is mommy leaving me here?”
“Will I see mommy again?”
“Why doesn’t mommy want to be with me all day?”
I DO want to be with you. Every minute.
But I can’t.
I will mis your smile, your joyful coos…
the way you look into my eyes that says all of the things your mouth cannot yet.
I will miss the way you soak me up like a sponge…the way you smell and the way you curl up sound asleep on my chest.
I will miss taking walks with you today, singing to you, reading to you, watching you sleep, and nursing you myself.
I will ache knowing that when you cry for me, it will not be me who answers you, and I fall to pieces at the thought that you might learn your cries no longer summon me, but someone else.
I will miss your sparkling blue eyes, the soft light brown tufts of your hair, your pudgy fingers that open and close over mine while you eat. I will miss your round belly and perfect soft feet, your rosebud lips curling into a smile, and the soft rise and fall of your breath while you’re dreaming.
But worst of all, I will miss seconds…
all of the seconds of the many minutes,
of the few hours
of the few days
of the few years
I get to call you my baby…
…before you are my girl, my young lady and my grown woman.
I mourn the time I already know I will never get back, and how unfair it is to you that it is this way.
In being a “good mom,” I suffer the burden of feeling like a terrible one.
Just know YOU ARE LOVED
with every beat of my heart,
breath in my lungs,
bat of my eye,
and thought in my mind.
You are precious beyond what precious even means.
I will come back for you every day, I promise. And Saturday and Sunday, I am all yours,
though know I’m YOURS ALWAYS.
I love you my sweet, sweet girl.
“Baby Bird” – Sarah Graybill
I let you go,
but send you with my love.
I trust the “out there,”
but let you loose aloft on
a breath of my love from “in here:”
in my heart of hearts,
my mothers heart,
that burns and aches
yearns and breaks
my baby bird.
5 thoughts on “Returning to Work, A Mother’s Every Mourning…”
That was so heart felt and boy did it make my tears flow. I have an 8 month old and I haven’t left hom for more than 4 hours, and that was with his grandma, even that was difficult to do every day. Reading your letter to your baby made me feel what you are feeling and, sorry to say, very fortunate to be able to stay with him now most days. My heart would break otherwise. I hope you all adjust and ease into your new routine.
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I can totally relate to this feeling! It’s breaking my heart to think someone else will be spending so much time with my little one when I return to work soon. She’ll be 6 months so I feel very lucky to have been able to stay with her for these first months of her life and I try to remind myself that hopefully one day she will be really proud of me and all the successes I’ve had in my career. Like everything with motherhood, I’m sure she will never really understand the toll on my emotions it took to go back to work until she has children of her own one day, if she chooses to. I hope the transition for you and esme has been as smooth as it could be!
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Oh how I am dreading to leave my baby girl behind when I have to go back to work. I am in tears thinking of it.
1) They will say it gets easier. You won’t believe them.
2) It will get easier. You will feel like a bad mom when it gets easier. DON’T.
3) She is learning so socialize, be okay with being nurtured by new people, AND she will learn to sleep with more noise.
4) She knows your scent and your voice. You are MOM forever, no matter who else gives her your milk and comforts her.
5) She won’t remember this. But you will, and your time will be more precious because of it, a gift you may not have experienced if you were forever, all hours, being her nurturer.
6) You are STILL her nurturer while at work. You are doing what you have to do to make sure she has food, shelter, safety and healthcare. She will never hold that against you.
7) Thought difficult and counter-intuitive, going back to work will provide you with balance. You will be away, thinking other thoughts and doing other things, just long enough to make the endless hours of feeding, soothing, bathing, changing and entertaining seem like the most precious of your existence.
8) Yes, you will realize how pointless your two degrees and years of experience are in comparison to raising a human. BUT…take this time to see yourself be super. Let yourself excel at your job, AND at being a mom. And at the end of the day, say, “Damn…I did it.” (Then pump and have a celebratory glass of wine for yourself.)
9) Expect daycare to fail sometimes. Yeah, you showed up with the two-page printed instruction sheet for your LO, the special pillow to ensure their head won’t go flat, and the special “stimulation” ball made in China that they can’t live without. But if you show up at the end of the day to find every instruction disregarded, your baby swaddled on an 87-degree day, and the ball and special pillow still in their bag, chill out. The two daycare workers have successfully managed to feed, change and pacify your baby for 8 hours…somehow. They may not have done it your way, but they got it done. And THAT’S what you pay $915/mo for. 😉
10) When they say “It takes a village…”, it really does. Let your daycare and your family be your “village” that helps you raise your child. You will always do it best, and they will eventually know that, but take comfort in your best effort…your full-time job…your hardest sacrifice ever. Know always that you are always doing your very, VERY best. It will always be hard. Every aspect of having a child (besides loving them) is hard. But you have given a baby the amazing gift of life, and no nay-sayer can say to you that you are doing your child wrong by doing everything in your power to give them the WORLD…in whatever form that world takes.
You GO, mama.
I just had to deal with this on the 21st of September. I hated leaving my 11 week old (at the time) with someone else. I am on my third week of work now and I am managing. I still cry some days and others I make myself hold it in. I hate knowing that she will probably share her “1st” of many things with someone other than me…. Your blog was posted the same time I was dealing with this and I couldn’t help but to relate. That little girl has had my heart ever since July 4th and I leave it with her everyday. Such an amazing experience being a mommy. Hope you guys are doing well!