I went back to work in early November last year, a week before Joshua turned 1. Since then, many people have asked me, “How has it been, going back to work?”
To be honest, that’s a loaded question. How has it been? In what sense? I contemplated for quite a while how I answer that question. It’s been almost 4 months now, and I figured it’s time to come up with an answer.
In terms of the work schedule, I’m back full time, but not exactly. I had a lot of vacation days accumulated, so I take every Friday off as a vacation day. So technically I’m back on a full time basis, but I’m only in the office from Monday to Thursday. I am in the office from 7 am to 4:30 pm. I’m definitely not in the office for the same amount of hours as pre-Joshua! It gives them the impression that I’m not around as much as before.
Transitioning back into work was not very difficult. I was worried that I would have forgotten everything in a year. Of course, I did forget some of the details of tax law, or specific percentages of something. But the general principal hasn’t changed and I can quickly look up the details or specifics to have an intelligent conversation with a client. Most of the people I work with are still the same people, so it was quite easy to pick up where we left off.
Some things have been easy, like getting re-aquainted with my colleagues, or getting into the groove of working.
But then, some things are really hard.
One early morning Joshua woke up crying, and I went to get him from his room. I picked him up from his crib, and as he leaned his forehead on my face, I can feel that he had a high fever. He was clingy and whiny, and didn’t want me to leave. I had to go wake up Cliff and hand Joshua over to him, so I can make it to work in time for a meeting. When I left, I can hear Joshua crying after me, and it just about killed me inside. Some nights when I come home from work, it takes Joshua some time to warm up to me. It’s almost like he’ll need to be around me for 15 or 20 minutes to then all of a sudden remember how close we are.
When I was on mat leave, it was a no brainer that Joshua preferred me. He wanted me to comfort him when he’s hurt, he wanted me to put him to bed, he wanted me to play with him. But now often he’ll choose Cliff to put him down at night. Sometimes I walk out of his room leaving Cliff to put Joshua down, and I’ll go and turn on the shower to drown out the noise of my sobbing. Those are the nights I wonder what the heck I am doing with my life. Everything inside me screams that I want to be home with Joshua everyday, but the reality of life is not the case.
So, how has it been being back at work? The answer probably varies depending on the week or the even the day I’ve had. I do enjoy the work I’m doing, but I’d be kidding if I tell you I don’t think about Joshua all day long and wish to be home with him.