Had I not decided to quit my job, today would have been my first day back to work.
My last day working was April 30. I spent much of that day saying my goodbyes and gathering my things together, deleting personal things off my work computer and making sure that the people who were covering me would be completely set up in my absence. And then I walked out, went home, and basked in the glory of my maternity leave. I can't even remember what I did for most of those weeks, but I do remember the quiet. The calm before the storm, if you want to be trite about it.
Since things have calmed down with Charlie, I've been feeling really happy. Granted, I have days that suck and flashbacks to his birth, but overall I'm doing really well. I honestly feel like I've come into my own as a mother. I feel like I know Charlie inside and out. The other day on one message board I frequent, a question was posed: "Do you feel in tune with your baby?" I was really surprised when I took an honest look at my relationship with Charlie and realized that yes, I feel incredibly in tune with him. I know him.
All the same, I still feel like I'm in limbo, and I'm not sure why. When I actually put in my notice at work, I didn't feel anything resembling closure. As a matter of fact, I felt more like I did once my wedding was over. I don't know what to do now. I mean, obviously I am a mother to Charlie and all that, but my life really lacks structure at the moment. Since I'm not big on putting Charlie on a schedule, I am flying by the seat of my pants most days. And honestly, even if I was into putting him on a strict schedule, I'd probably still be flying by the seat of my pants.
I am so used to being an employee that I don't know how to manage my life outside of a paid job, I think. I've always been on someone else's clock, and I've rushed around making my whole life conform to that person's expectations. Being a mother is similar, because I'm never off duty, but it requires me to be flexible, and I'm learning how to be that way. I've come to realize that I'll probably never get to shower at the same time every day (but at least I'm showering) and some days I don't get to fix my hair at all (but at least it's getting washed). Some days I have to walk Charlie around the block to get him to nap, and sometimes he'll conk out in my arms. Every day is different. And yet every day is the same.
Being a stay-at-home mom means that I get lonely. I love hanging out with Charlie, and I've come to realize that he is a pretty low-maintenance baby (even with all his sleep issues), but I do really miss adult interaction. There's only so much playing with the same toys and reading the same books that I can do. I can only talk in a baby voice for so long. I always wonder if Charlie is incredibly bored. I'm not bored, per se, but I think that we need to get involved in some activities outside of the house, other than the requisite running of errands, that is. Plus I feel fat. Charlie keeps me incredibly busy, but I still can feel my ass spreading every day.
So that's why I've joined a couple of mommy groups, with the hopes that I can strike up some friendships with some other like-minded mommies. And I've enlisted the help of my two brothers-in-law, who come to watch Charlie twice a week (on separate days), so I get a few hours twice a week to take care of some of my own stuff. I still have a thesis to write and other stuff that I'm working on. It's not like my brain has turned to mush and that I only care about poopy diapers, but at the same time, I can't deny that my life has completely changed. Charlie comes first. He has to. I don't resent this fact at all, but I am still not entirely sure about what it means for me.
I guess one of these decades I'll figure out what it all means. Until then, I'll just keep flying by the seat of my pants or something.