Happy 13 weeks Amaya! We both got through our first week of daycare and work together! Whew, what a relief. I got such a warm welcome back at work, it reminded me how much I love my coworkers and the way we treat each other. I came in on my first day to warm hugs, lots of help unloading my car, and the mother’s room stocked with my favorite snacks and pump supplies. I was so moved by the thoughtfulness! I set up my pump stuff, checked some email, caught up with a few folks, had one meeting, and then left early to pick up Amaya – the highlight of my day! Being back at work felt great. It validated how much I love my job and want to stimulate my mind with valuable work. I also had the opportunity to take it slow and make my own hours, so I made time to do one fun thing for myself each day as well as complete a chore at home. By the end of the week I felt fulfilled, productive, and joyful. I thrived!
Amaya’s first week at daycare was challenging, but she improved each day. She’s getting more comfortable with taking a bottle and is eating a bit more, although not as much as I thought she would (taking 2 3 oz bottles instead of 3). However she’s nursing when we get home, so I’ll just take it as a compliment that she prefers me (vs. calling her picky ;). She’s learning to nap better amidst the noise of 7 other infants, and her teachers say that she enjoys being outside and watching her new friends. On her 3 month birthday, the music teacher even sang happy birthday to her! I came early each day in time to join the class on their afternoon walk. If you’ve never seen 4 infants in a buggy together, it’s the cutest thing ever! This allowed me to observe her and also get to know the teachers. I’m so happy with her daycare and leave every time reassured that she’s in good hands. It’s so obvious her teachers love their job, and they love her too!
So with our first week done, I’ve got a pretty good idea of what normal looks like in our household now. I have to give a huge shout out to Andy for being an amazing husband and partner this past week. My good week was very much due in part to him.
Always Be Prepping
Andy is now officially in charge of meal prep for our household. We grocery shopped as a family last weekend and stocked up for the week. Then Andy cooked 2 meals Sunday and 2 more meals on Wednesday. While he does I’m either putting Amaya to bed, then I wash bottles and get her things in order for the next day. I also prep my lunch and lay out something to wear so that I’m efficient in the morning. It’s crazy because I never use to even look ahead to the next day except to know the time of my first meeting. Now I have everything laid out, ready to go, and I wake up and go to bed an hour and half earlier too. Bleh, parenthood…no more late nights and snoozing!
Get On Schedule
This has been more of an art than a science, but because of daycare, we have to try out best to stay on a schedule now. I have a small window for drop off in the morning which means I need to shower, get ready, eat breakfast, wake up Amaya, nurse her, change her, and get out the door. Andy usually sleeps in and goes to work after me, but he’s started waking up to see us off which is the best! At work, I have to pump during the times that Amaya eats at daycare and manage getting in and out of meetings on time. I was definitely slow going this week and late to a few meetings, but everyone was understanding. I’m getting into a rhythm and am more efficient each time. When we get home, we have a bedtime routine where Andy gives a bath and plays with her, I read to her and nurse her, and then I put her down. By the end of the night we eat, hang out for a hot second, tidy up the kitchen, then I’m off to bed. It’s far from the spontaneous, ad-hoc days we used to have, but I wouldn’t trade it for a second.
Beware, Daycare Germs
Amaya came down with her first cold already! It started off as mild congestion and a stuffy/runny nose, but by the weekend, she was pretty fussy and super tired. I had signed us up for free yoga at her daycare Saturday morning. We got dressed and ready to go but didn’t even make it out the door. She started crying and wanted to nurse and sleep, so we stayed in the entire rainy weekend and snuggled. I didn’t mind at all. I had to learn to use the nose frida to get her snot out, and I love it! I know to some it might seem strange to suck your baby’s snot out with this contraption, but it feels so rewarding to hear her nose clear up. The downside is she hates it, and it often makes her cry…which makes her nose stuffy…which requires me to use it again. Alas the never-ending cycle. Sounds familiar to the days of circuit training from hell in week 5 lol. There was a point where she was crying really hard with those giant precious moments style tears streaming down her face, and I nearly lost it. I felt tears springing to my eyes, and then I told myself I’ll just make her feel worse if she senses my anxiety. So I took a deep breath, sucked it up, and spent 20 minutes soothing her to sleep. My body is officially always sore/cramped especially in my neck and shoulders. But I would do anything and whatever it takes to make her feel better. The best thing I can do is just brace myself for sickness this first year and toughen up. It’s going to be constant, I’m sure, but her immune system will get strong eventually. Seriously though, hearing your baby cough or sniffle is the most painful thing ever.
Spend Time Wisely
This week I truly felt the importance of making every minute count. I appreciated that I could leave work an hour or so before daycare pick up to do some necessary house work so that I could focus 100% on Amaya when she’s home. Going forward, I’m going to take advantage of some work from home days to multi task and do laundry or vacuum. I also love that we have a housekeeper come every 3 weeks even though I never thought I deserved one. I’m fortunate we can budget for this, and I just rather spend those extra hours with Amaya than cleaning my bathroom. Lastly, I still feel frustrated that I don’t have more free time to spend with Andy. We either spend time with Amaya or spend time alone/working because of our schedules, but at least we have dinner together and a bit of time to chat and relax before I turn in. This is just our reality and what works for now. I know it’ll get better as she gets older!
Fight The Guilt
A big thing I realize is that not only am I more anxious now that I’m a mom, I feel guilty whenever I’m away from Amaya. This guilt is very real even though I know I need my personal time to restore. I’ll take some time and go do something for myself, but I’m constantly checking my phone and then rushing home. And I feel disappointed if I get home and she’s taken a bottle instead of me getting to nurse her. Lately I’ve also noticed how Andy can be away and feel so natural and carefree. This has no reflection on how good of a dad or husband he is, but it makes my anxiety and guilt stand out more. All my friends tell me they feel the same way, and I chalk it up to being a mom. Moms and dads are just different for so many obvious reasons that are neither right or wrong, good or bad. My friend said it’ll get better when I don’t feel so tethered to Amaya by breastfeeding, and I bet she’s right. However, breastfeeding is probably the most purposeful thing I have ever experienced in my life. I am not only feeding her, my body is solely responsible for sustaining her life. And even better, my body is made to provide for her every need, even the antibodies that are fighting her sickness. So I’m owning my anxiety. I’m owning the crazy knots in my neck and shoulders. I’m owning the guilt. And I’m choosing to stay mindful and to acknowledge that motherhood is the most beautiful, painful, heart-wrenching, difficult, and most meaningful experience. I own being a mom, in all its glory and struggle. It’s so worth it. And I was made for this!