Recently, I returned to work from a year’s maternity leave. This time I took the whole year to spend time with my little children, to enjoy them while they’re young. When I left my job last February, there were about 9 people working in the office. Upon my return, our office staff in Toronto had grown to about 30 people or so. The positions and offices are mostly filled with people handpicked by my boss, which made the notion of returning to work intimidating. The folks he selected are star players! These people are the stand outs in the crowds with which he has shared his working life. And here I was, some lady he’d been stuck with, re-emerging on the scene. And this lady questioned her relevance and her capacity to live up to the tasks and mandate set before her.
That first week, we’d been to the doctor and/or hospital multiple times, where Alice was eventually diagnosed with a particularly disgusting and nasty bout of impetigo on both hands, after having some weird mouth virus and four days of fever. Impetigo is gross and it looks really really painful. It’s super contagious to other children and basically you have to keep it covered so it doesn’t spread. Have you ever tried to bandage a baby’s hands? I learned from this ordeal that babies think band-aids are some tasty shit. Our solution? Socks on the hands. And we got some antibiotics, which are an adventure all themselves when trying to administer them orally to a 11 month old.
At around the same time, I became painfully aware of how sharp Alice’s little teeth had become via an awfully wounded nipple, that still hasn’t quite healed after nearly two months. I’m convinced it will never ever heal, but there is a little glimmer of hope inside me that thinks that maybe one day in the near future, I might be able to nurse her on the left side without recoiling in pain. Maybe.
So my first week back was a literal hell, between the boobie wound, impetigo, and some shaky days with my husband’s job security (though luckily our concerns were quickly elayed). The stress of a new childcare arrangement, the TTC commute, and all the on the job learning required to get back up to speed were so much that I was literally collapsing in tears at the end of every day. I’m stressed just writing about it!
If you’d really like to keep track, you could add in a dash of serious sleep deprivation for the last 6 months and a healthy dose of mummy guilt. You know, the kind of guilt the eats away at you for not “being there’ for your family who needs you so desperately. I’d failed at meal planning, and doing the grocery shopping to stock our fridge and pantry with the things we’d need to keep us going. I was behind on laundry, and every room in our apartment had seen much better days. With all the things I had failed to do, I had no time to make up for it. No time to run the errands, do the preparations necessary to make this transition slightly smoother for all everyone in our little family.
But then the second week came, and then the third, and the fourth week. And now I feel as though I am rocking along at a fairly respectable and steady pace. And the pieces? They’re all falling into place. I’m learning a lot, I’m quickly getting back up to speed, and I remembered finally that I LOVE WORKING! I love my job and the people I work with are all really really awesome. More awesome than I ever could’ve anticipated. I’m starting to hit my stride and I just love everyone and everything that I’m doing. Then the end of the day rolls around, and though I have to fight my way on to a streetcar, I’m excited. I’m excited to come home to the perfect little faces that shine so bright with smiles when they hear mummy come up the stairs. I’m excited to kiss my handsome husband, who has already started dinner, folded laundry and worked a full day, and is waiting to greet me with a smile just as bright.
This new year, I set my motto as I always do. I knew it was going to be a challenging year with lots of ups and downs and that I would need to stretch to make it all work. That I’d need to put it all out there on the line to be successful in 2015. And so I remind myself regularly that this year, I’m going “All In”. How could I not, my friends……I’ve been dealt the royal flush.
The last few weeks haven’t included much more than two hour stints of sleep, eating and sitting topless on the couch. Oh, and clogging my friends news feeds with pictures of my children. I’m kinda tied to Alice and the couch for the most part, so for entertainment I take pictures of my kids, post them on Instagram and share them on Facebook. At least until the weather is a bit nicer.
Oh GOD I never wanted to be a mommy blogger–I just wanted to write about my life, but I guess my life right now is mostly about being a mummy. Gone are the days of passing out on a toilet in the basement bathroom of a bar on Queen from too much to drink and waking to write about it the next morning.
And here I am, again, to tell you more about my child-centered life. Among the night feedings and diaper changes, I had been preparing feverishly whenever I found a few minutes, for Marigold’s third birthday. I really wanted it to be very special for her, so I asked her what she wanted. Decorations of orange and green, she said. A small vanilla cake, she said. Katie’s mummy, she said. All of these things were a surprise to me–she doesn’t have favourite colours as far as I know, and I didn’t think she knew the difference between chocolate and vanilla. And we haven’t seen Susie (Katie’s mummy) since last summer I think. But these were the things she wanted. And I wanted to make it happen.
We had a small party with her nearest and dearest. She helped me bake her cake and I worked my butt off whenever my boobs were free. And here are the results: a very special party for my special little girl.
She’s growing up, and while part of me wishes she would stay 3 forever (because she’s just so goddamned cute), I’m excited to see what kind of person she grows into.
As Marigold continues to grow, I have less and less time to write. She’s requiring more attention to keep her amused each day, which means, less time for me to do the things I want. That on top of household chores that are mostly getting done at the bare minimum leaves me with only a few minutes to surf the internet, and play video games. And I’m going to learn to knit plus I want to learn to sew. God, if only I was one of those people that could get by on 4 or 5 hours sleep then I might be able to do the things I want.
I keep being faced with decisions that I really don’t want to make. We are constantly making easy choices from the minute we wake up in the morning and often we don’t even give it a second thought that we have a choice. Getting out of bed, brushing our teeth, what to eat for breakfast, what to wear for the day and the list goes on. And on and on and on. Then there are the larger life decisions: who you are going to marry, where you are going to live, what you are going to do for a career. But sometimes, an unexpected quandary presents itself before you and suddenly you have to make a decision about a situation you have no prior experience with. Or sometimes you are faced with a decision you have made many times before, and you need to be reminded that you’ve done it before on blind faith, and it’s worked out in the end…hasn’t it?
It would be great if every time you had to make a decision that the only person affected would be you, and you alone. I think this is the reason why decisions become so difficult–the outcome has a great impact on someone around you. And it’s typically someone close to you. Someone who you love very much. I always think back to moving to Toronto, the biggest decision of my life thus far. Again–my decision to move meant leaving Matt (and dumping his sorry ass–I can say that now, it’s been long enough) and hurting someone I loved very much. I was leaving behind my friends and family and the only life I had ever known, but on the other side of that decision was tremendous opportunity which I would not have had otherwise, and I’ve been reaping the rewards ever since.
The last unexpected quandary I faced was a high impact/low return type of decision. My decision, in fact, has permanently damaged a friendship, and hopefully most of that damage will be repaired, though I’m sure some scars will remain.
Sometimes you just need to stand up for what you believe in regardless of how much it might hurt someone and regardless of how supportive you really want to be. It makes me sad to think that I had to choose at all let alone make the choice I made. And though my decision is hurtful, I hope it makes a strong statement. Because after this, I’m not going to beat the dead horse, because the horse is already dead, there’s no sense in that. And beating dead horses just makes a bloody mess that becomes pretty impossible to clean up. I’ve said my piece and voiced my concern. I’m going to let the issue die and rest in peace. At the very least I can show my support for moving forward.
God, disappointing people sucks so bad. And I really fucking hate letting people down. I want to make everyone happy all the time, which is probably why I’m so great with customer service. But, I know deep down that making EVERYONE happy is an impossibility. I have to think now of how my decisions–high impact/low return, or high impact/huge opportunity will affect Martin and Marigold first and foremost. I have to do what is best for our family, even if that means letting other people down that I care about very much. I have to make sure that the choices I make are ones that Marigold will admire once she’s older.
You can’t take a mulligan. There are no do-overs. Life was so much easier when it was just me. I don’t mean because of the extra work of taking care of a family. I mean that if I fucked up, the only person that faced the consequences was me. Gone are the days of risking my job with people calling in sick for me because I was passed out on a toilet in the bar’s basement bathroom the night before (Thanks Peter Peattie). Gone are the days of complete and utter irresponsibility. Now MG and MM are in the line of fire, and I just want to do what’s best for all of us, even if it means moving to Scarborough**.
I want to be someone she is proud to call her mother. And sometimes that means closing some doors and opening some windows. Right now I’ll just wait for the window to open, and decide whether or not it’s time to close the door, and try not to get black out drunk while I’m waiting.
**For the record we are not now, nor ever moving to Scarborough, it’s just a phrase I use now to demonstrate just how much I’m willing to sacrifice for my family.
For Christmas this year, we got satellite radio, and what an excellent gift it was for us. There’s about a dozen channels that we listen to on a regular basis, one of them being “Lithium”, the 90’s station. Try listening to 90’s radio and see what it does to you! It’s funny how many songs I hear that cause me to think of certain people, or certain times in my life.