Today is the last real day of my maternity leave – I have both boys at home today. We went to playgroup for the last time, and now Callum is asleep, and Oliver is meant to be but he’s playing in his room, attempting to be quiet. Later I have to take him to the doctor (more on that below), and hopefully keep them both happy the rest of the day.
That’s been the hardest thing about the 2 days a week I’ve had them both at home on my own. Keeping them both happy. When a baby and toddler have wildly divergent needs. With a baby, you sort of need to stay still a lot – whether breastfeeding or bottle feeding, feeding solids, changing diapers, holding them – particularly before they can sit up or stand and participate in play time. And with the toddler, it’s all about moving. Very few things can keep him still. Currently, he goes into a trance while watching Dora, and sometimes I can get him to colour or play with play-doh without him getting into too much trouble.
So these 2 days a week, only 2 days a week because I knew that for my sanity I had to keep him in daycare for 3 days a week, they have really stressed me out. I’m not very nice on Tuesdays and Thursdays. My stress hormones are way up, I can feel my blood pressure up, and little things can set me off yelling. Oliver, if he does end up having a nap, often wakes up saying “you’re not angry anymore!” – because nothing causes me rage like him not napping.
This, more than anything, is kind of why I have to go back to work. Yes, I am sure we could manage to live on Mark’s income, if we had to. Yes, I should probably be raising my own children all day, every day. But I just can’t. I’m not good at it, I don’t enjoy it enough, and I need to have condensed quality time with them rather than long stretches of terrible time. And I’m lucky to make enough money that I am still making money paying for two kids in daycare. It’s such a hard job, staying at home. I think it’s just too hard for me. And I so totally, completely respect anyone who enjoys it, or does it because they have to. You are super woman. I am not.
This year has been particularly challenging. In the beginning, I don’t even want to remember what that fog of sleeplessness, and breastfeeding, and hormonal craziness was like – because it was awful. Despite that, I have truly enjoyed much of Callum’s babyhood – but when Oliver was around, it pretty much just wrecked it. When Mark took Callum to England for a week, and I got a taste of what it would have been like to just have one kid, Oliver and I had a GREAT time together. When I have both of them, I am stressed, resentful, sullen – it’s just bad.
I need to go back to work, to spend all day doing a small bit of meaningful public service, what I was educated to do – and come home very happy to see them, to find out about their day. And we’ll have weekends to fill with adventures. And I’ll just be a little happier. Hopefully.
So Oliver has a hernia. We thought maybe he was some new kind of evolved boy who suddenly ended up with three testicles instead of two, but alas, it turned out to be a problem rather than a gift. Ha ha. The thing just suddenly appeared in the last few weeks. I guess that’s the blessing of his refusal, so far, to toilet train – we may not have noticed it if we weren’t changing diapers and pull-ups.
We have a doctor’s appointment this afternoon where my doctor will see the results of last week’s ultrasound which showed the hernia, and I expect we’ll get a referral to the hospital so that they can schedule surgery at some point. Not great timing, due to this need to go back to work (and that inevitable feeling that I must prove myself as a worthy employee compared to others on my team that do not have young children; therefore, time off = bad). And of course, although I know it’s an easy day surgery, I know he’s going to be really scared, and it’s awful to think about. I mean, I haven’t even had simple surgery like that before, no scars on my skin from stiches or anything. So, we’ll see what happens.