I want to go back to work. I love what I do, and Joshua will benefit from the socialization and curriculum at daycare. That's what I keep telling myself, anyway.
Years ago, when my husband and I started talking about having children, I knew that I loved my job as a teacher and would always want to go back to work. Teachers have the best schedules for raising a family, I reasoned, with vacations and weekends off. We waited to start a family until we had built our home, a home that needs two salaries to pay the mortgage. It wasn't a concern, since I'd always want to work. Besides, we wouldn't have health insurance if it wasn't for my job.
But now that we actually have Joshua, I'm wishing our finances would allow me to stay home with him, at least for a little while longer. Joshua's birth coincided perfectly with summer vacation, allowing me to be home for almost six months with him. Six months is starting to feel like a very short period of time.
I can wish to be a stay at home mother, but I know the reality for my family is that I need to work. And the good thing is that I truly do love my job. It's just that my love for work pales in comparison to my love for my son.
Fortunately, I'm an optimist. When the air starts to get a chill, the leaves begin to change color, Joshua starts going to daycare and I head back to school along with my students, I know I'll be happy to be back at work. I'll miss Joshua and it'll be hard, but I'll still get excited about meeting new students, putting together lessons about sustainability or genetics, and starting seeds in my classroom greenhouse. I'll enjoy the lunchtime conversations with colleagues about the latest scientific discovery or education controversy, and I'll get to actually eat my lunch. Fall is an exciting time on our farm, too, with pumpkins, apple picking and hayrides, and I'm excited to share all of that with Joshua on the weekends.
Although Joshua and I will be separated from 7:00 am until around 3:00 pm, we'll still be connected through breastfeeding. Joshua will drink my expressed breast milk while he's in daycare, and I'll express milk for him while I'm at work. My time pumping milk will be a time to forget about work, look at a picture of Joshua and focus on him. When I pick him up from daycare, I'll see his big smile and nurse him. The stress of my day at work will melt away, and we'll bond as mother and child. We'll go home to play with Daddy, eat supper as a family, take a bath, read books, and then Joshua will nurse to sleep in the big bed. We'll be just as attached to each as we are now, thanks to breastfeeding.