Edward was just over six months old when I started back at work for three days a week – 28 weeks, although I don’t think of his age in weeks anymore. For the first month at least, he’s spending those days with the husband, so I wasn’t nervous in the same way I would have been if I was dropping him off at a daycare for the first time. I was mostly worried about slipping back into the routine of work, and the logistical difficulties of expressing milk.
After three days of work, I’ve found the transition surprisingly easy. I am sometimes rather impatient during the drive home from the bus station, knowing that I’m about to be greeted with a slowly spreading incredulous smile, followed by mad giggling. (That would be the greeting from the baby, not the husband). But when I’m in the office, or walking through the city, it feels like I’ve slipped seamlessly back into how things were before.
It’s not seamless, of course. My first night home was an hour of trying to convince a screaming baby to sleep. Expressing is taking me longer and being less productive than I’d like, and going from normal breastfeeding to three consecutive days of expressing is a bit rough on supply and comfort levels. I’m worried I won’t be able to keep up my stores in order to be able to feed him over those three days over an extended period of time. However, despite all that, I’m really enjoying having days back where I can do things uninterrupted from start to finish, take breaks on my schedule instead of a baby’s, being able to wander to a shop to buy something during my lunch break. Having part of my time with only me to think about is incredibly refreshing, even if I am always delighted to get home. That’s something that is hard to imagine prior to having a child, I think – the lack of time to yourself.
While I have really enjoyed all the months I was able to spend full time with Ted, being alone with a young baby during the day comes along with a fair dose of unavoidable tedium and boredom, and I’m happy to have more to occupy my mind. Plus, time on a bus twice a day with my book – a luxury to be appreciated.