I'm sure I'm not the only working mother who daydreams about leaving her job to stay home with her child. Over the holiday vacation from work, pumping and daycare, I was still busy, still working hard. Taking care of my child is my number one priority, and I spent as much time with Joshua as possible. In fact, I didn't leave him at all for 10 days. I may have snuck upstairs to take a bath while Joshua played with Daddy, and I may have walked into another room while he played with his grandma at a Christmas party, but we weren't separated for long
I can't help but feel that's how it is supposed to be. I want and need to be close to Joshua, just as he wants and needs to be close to me. I don't believe that a baby can be spoiled with love. I love spending my days with Joshua, and I couldn't help but think: What I think of as vacation is what a stay-at-home mom does every day!
I realize that sounds completely offensive. I'm not trivializing the role of a stay-at-home mom. I know how difficult it is to raise children, keep a home and nurture a marriage. I have to do all of those things and work outside the home. I really wish that my only focus was my family. I wish I could breastfeed on-cue all day and forget about the pump, skip washing and labeling all those bottles. I wouldn't have to worry about when to switch from expressed breast milk to cow's milk because I could just nurse on-cue instead.
I realized over my 10 days of vacation that the major stressors in my life are all related to work: packing for daycare, expressing enough milk, dressing up every day (I use that term loosely!), racing out of the door in the morning and rushing to pick up Joshua from daycare after work. When I'm not working, the stress seems to melt away. I relish the time I spend breastfeeding Joshua. Pumping is just not the same!
But the dream of staying home is not a possibility for us. I need to work because we need my salary to help pay our mortgage and other expenses, and we need the health insurance that I get through my job. I need to work, and fortunately I love my job. What I don't love is being separated from my baby for eight hours, five days a week.
I can dream of winning the lottery, but I'm a cynic and wouldn't waste money on a ticket. Instead I dream of having my next baby and my next maternity leave. We're not planning to add to our family just yet, but the idea of being a full-time mom all over again is so appealing. Until then, summer vacation's looking pretty good!
Continuing to breastfeed while working outside the home is difficult, but I've managed so far. Joshua is thriving and I know I can keep on pumping until he's a year old!