April 18, 2011

First Day of a New Life

My "reading chair" beckons--as well as books I started last Fall. Think I can finish before the baby comes?

No, we haven't had the baby yet--that day is still (hopefully) two weeks away. But last Friday was my last day at work, and so today begins my first official day as a stay-at-home mommy. Of course, I will be heading back to work in a year, but thanks to Canada's wonderful maternity leave, I get the best of both worlds: real time at home with *both* of my babies and a great job to return to in 12 months time--just when I'm sure I'll be missing it.

And oh, what a difference a year makes! Just over year ago, I hated my job and thought every day about how to quit and be a stay-at-home mom. I thought what I really needed was just to be at home with my boy--and that what my boy needed was to be at home with me. But it turns out, I just hated my job. (And for the record, Colin adores his day care.)

Since then, I've got a new job with a new editor (whom I adore), and I couldn't be happier with the direction my career has taken. In fact, when I was wrapping up projects in the office last week, I started to get a little sad about some of the things I'll miss while I'm away next year: redesigning our magazine, continuing to develop our digital edition, and all those stories I had planned to write but have instead handed off to my lovely replacement. And to think, I very nearly gave up on all this...

A view of my office back when I hated my job--who wouldn't hate any job that kept you away from such an adorable baby?

That said, I am really looking forward to this next year at home, although I'm already bracing myself for the biggest challenge of my life: home alone all day with two little boys and the "Tom & Jerry Show" of Remy, the dog, and Fanny, the cat. Although, I've been Colin's mother for over two years now, I've never really felt the responsibility of being "The Mother." Because I had been at my job for only a few months before he was born, I was only eligible for three months maternity leave, and, though I know that may seem generous by American standards, here it is viewed as being negligent and rather tragic.

Certainly, my introduction to motherhood wasn't what I had hoped it would be. Those first three months of Colin's life were such a whirlwind: a baby who wouldn't sleep, figuring out breast-feeding for the first time, and three months of cold, isolating winter. Then I had to return to work just as I was getting the hang of things. It was up to Kevin, who took the next three months at home, to develop a routine and introduce solids and have all the fun in the sunshine with our growing baby. This time, I'll have four times as much maternity leave and the benefits of being a much more experienced mother.

So what am I going to make of this new life (even if it is just for a year)? I've sketched a rough outline: a daily routine of walking the dog, trips to the park, some crafts, a daily outing to the library or a toddler class or a play group, and then naps, naps, naps. I'm also hoping to get Colin potty trained and eating a better diet; he is still the world's pickiest eater. More importantly, I'm going to try to be a more relaxed person, so that this new little life I am bringing into the world can benefit from a happy, calm, and contented mother--something I am sorry to say Colin really missed out on.

But that day is still two weeks away. So what am I going to do in the meantime? Well, Mama has planned a perfect little "stay-cation" for herself. With Colin still in day care, I am going to make the most of this rare time alone by reading, writing and crafting, going shopping by myself, seeing matinee movies, lingering in caf├ęs, and naps, naps, naps--in short, all of those things I haven't be able to do since becoming a mom and that I won't get to do again for a long, long time. Let's just hope that this baby co-operates and keeps to his scheduled date-of-arrival. Mama really needs this time to herself.

A view of my new "office": same computer, same picture frame, but with a lot less work and some fresh flowers courtesy of my lovely, lovely replacement.

1 comment:

Vicky said...

Happy Maternity leave.
I hope you enjoy your mama staycation before baby number 2 arrives and enjoy all the things that you won't be able to do afterwards... sleeping being a big one.
You sound so organised for after the birth... I can't get my brain to function past the end of the week. x.