Friday, October 10, 2014

Permanent Maternity Leave

It's finally starting to sink in.
At least a little.

At this moment in time, I am on permanent maternity leave.
I'm *gasp* a stay-at-home-mom.

I can't say this was ever in our plan. It's never even been a dream really. That is until Lyla was born just over two years ago, and I went back to teaching for a year. Priorities started shifting away, and I got sadder and sadder deep within my gut. And that sadness never subsided for me like it does for many other moms. So, I made some life changes, got an ideal new job, found more balance, and was happier than I'd ever been.

But now that we're expecting our second, and after a lot Saturday morning coffee talks, one too many morning-rush-blurs, the inability to take care of my own kid when she's sick, a super-jazzed-up excel spreadsheet of our budget, and the realization that working for me simply meant paying for daycare for two kiddos, we came to the conclusion that it would be best for me to stay home.

And I couldn't be more excited...or thankful.

I have no idea what this new gig will look like. It's quite difficult to imagine, really. And I don't exactly know how long of a gig it may be. I tend to get antsy easily. I like being productive. I like being social. I like using my brain. And, if we're completely honest, I like not having to check our bank account every 15 minutes to make sure I haven't spent too much at Baby Gap. That being said, however, I love being a mom. Every ounce of my being wants to be there for my kids, put more than half of myself into their lives, and stop going through life at such a rapid speed that I blink and suddenly have two teenagers arguing over the car. And although I do have an idea or two up my sleeve to help me with my desires to stay with-it and be a productive member of society (and hopefully bring in some extra income too), I am reminding myself that this time goes by in a flash. And I want to soak up every moment with my babies. Just enjoy. Just be. 

However, things started off a bit rough my first week on the new job. My hope was to have a good, solid week with Lyla. A few days for just the two of us before baby arrives. To make up for lost time, busy schedules, and future time that will be spent with a newborn. But my first day into my new gig, I was just sure I was going into labor as I woke in the middle of the night with stomach-flu-like symptoms. Same exact thing happened the day I went into labor with Lyla. All I could think was "I'M NOT READY. THE NURSERY ISN'T READY. MY HOSPITAL BAG ISN'T READY."

Well. Instead of me going into labor, my "stomach-flu-like symptoms" turned out to be the actual stomach bug. I was pretty miserable (and pretty 9 months pregnant) with a toddler at home who needed me. Because she, of course, came down with the bug too. Luckily, hers only lasted 24 hours. But in those 24 hours, I washed sheets a total of 6 times. And I lost a total of 4 pounds between last week's OB appointment and yesterday's. Where I found out I am indeed progressing, and it really could be anytime that baby makes his or her debut.

Could be in 2 weeks. Could be tonight. {And because I'm admittedly neurotic, I went back to look at my blogpost from a few days before Ly was born. Turns out, I am exactly at the same spot I was four days before I went into labor with her.}

Ugh. The anticipation. And I still don't think I'm quite ready. {insert nervous emoticon face}

And just as we're finally getting into the swing of things as we wait for "baby sister" (according to Lyla) to arrive. We've gone to story time at the library, she started "school" one day a week, and this mama has been hyper-productive. I've crossed things off my list that have been sitting there collecting dust for a good 6 months. And Gabe and I even went on our first date in, oh, probably 6 or 7 months, to celebrate my birthday. I had the best shrimp and scallop fettuccine alfredo and banana caramel bread pudding. And it was worth every minute spent in misery with a horrible tummy ache.

And oh my goodness the mood shift in this house. Everyone is more relaxed. And all around happier. Especially Lyla. It's amazing at how much of a buzzkill I was at the end of each day after work. Now, I have more energy and time for Ly, and she is just happier. Of course our blissful, dream-like state is about to come to a crashing halt any day once we bring home a crying newborn and jump back into a life of lack-of-sleep-induced comas. Believe me, I'm aware.

And in fact, because this baby loves squeezing the heck out of my bladder, I'm up all hours of the night. And every time I wake, I'm thankful I haven't yet gone into labor because I get one more day with Miss Beans. As excited as I am to meet our new babe, I do get a little misty thinking about how the dynamics of our family are going to change. I remember feeling the same way when it was just Gabe and I anxiously waiting for Lyla to be born.  Of course that sadness went away and was immediately replaced by the most incomprehensible joy we'd ever felt the moment Ly entered the world. And I'm sure that will happen again with new baby's arrival. But it's still bittersweet.

But while we wait, we will continue to utilize every moment of our weekends together as a family of three. And during the week, I am soaking up this girl time - just the two of us. Ly is at the cutest age, and I truly wish I could bottle up her two-year-oldness forever.

I melt over so many things... // When she pulls up my shirt and gives "kisses to baby sister" at random. // Or when she's playing for hours at a time sporadically stops what she's doing to look up and say "hi mom" as a little reminder she's still in the room and needs a moment of attention. // Talking on the phone to her and hearing her say "hi mama. I love you." or "happy birthday mama" in the sweetest little voice I've ever heard in my life. // Her warnings to "be careful" when I'm cooking over a hot stove or if I trip over something. // Her wanting to be a little adult by carrying around her purse and phone everywhere she goes or "putting on makeup" while I get ready. (No. I do not let her put on makeup. I give her my makeup brush and she goes to town). // How she tells any guest who leaves "see ya alligator". // Or when I had her test out the pouf in the corner of the baby room. She sadly walked over and said "Lyla in timeout." Bless her sweet little heart - I nearly cried. //

I would love to have a two year old for the rest of my life. It's just the best. And I'm so grateful I get this one on one time with her before babe.

So far, I sure am loving this new life. And I am unguilt-ily going to go enjoy every last sip of my homemade pumpkin spice coffee, finish up some projects in the baby room, and savor these quiet moments during nap time. Because these days are fleeting and going to abruptly come to an end very soon.

And call me crazy, but I couldn't be more excited for the chaos that is to ensue.

Bring on our family of four.


Anjanette said...

Excited for you! It's a whole new world, and there are pros and cons, but it's hard to beat more time with family!! Make mommy friends that stay home if most of yours work so that you can do play dates! They are as much for moms as babes!

Carolyn said...

Congratulations!! :) How exciting!! You're going to rock this! I just know it!

Crazy Shenanigans-JMO said...

I think that's great and very exciting!!!