I’ve been living in a cocoon for the past three and a half months. A cozy little world with me and Bug and sometimes Mister Jess, if we let him in (we usually do). All of that will be changing come Monday, however. I’ll be breaking out of my self-imposed swaddle* and getting back into the swing of things.
Namely, work. Real life. The grind, if you will.
I’ve had a lot of time to think about this day, but in those first few weeks, April 1st seemed like a lifetime away. I was knee-deep in onesies, pacifiers, and diapers, with a newborn barnacled to my boob. I wasn’t thinking about work or “real life.” I definitely wasn’t thinking about running or any kind of me time. I was thinking about surviving. I was thinking about that elusive thing called sleep. I was thinking, “this shit is hard!”
The past few weeks I’ve been mentally preparing myself to get back to it all, though. I’m thinking about how on Monday, I’ll have to give Bug to his caregiver and walk away from him. How I’ll have to go to work and start critically thinking again and conversing with adults. A novel concept, considering I’ve been either talking to my baby or talking about my baby since he was born in December. What are these multi-syllabic words?
I’ve also been thinking about how easy it is to settle into a new routine, and how hard it is to break away from it, especially when that “routine” is a living, breathing human who is growing and getting more fascinating by the day. I’ve been struggling with how to feel about getting back to “real life,” because this part of my life, the little cocoon, has been very, very real.
But when I found myself staring wistfully at runners as they passed us by during a trip to Crissy Field this week, I realized that running is a part of that real life. And that all of it – working, running, being a person independent of my son – is something I need to get back to. Running clears my mind. It lets me focus on becoming stronger, better. That time is mine alone, and if you have kids, you know how important that time is. You savor it. I know that it will be even more important to me now than it was before. Like Brooke said in her last post, if mama’s happy, everybody’s happy.
Part of me is sad maternity leave is ending. Part of me is scared. And part of me is excited to get back to some of the other things that fulfill me and make me a healthy, well-rounded chick.
And so although I’ve willingly – gladly – given up a piece of myself to my son (and basically my entire heart. Sorry, Mister Jess), I’m looking forward to taking back a piece for me. It’s time to get back on the road.
Working parents, how do you find a balance between kid time and healthy-you time? Give me some tips in the comments!
*All credit for this sentence goes to Meri, who came up with the brilliant phrase “breaking out of your swaddle.” Baby jokes, haha!