The fourth month as a mother of three. Yes, let’s talk about it. Let’s talk about how I started out going back to work like a rock star and then, well, life kicked in and it all went to pot. Seriously? The fourth month has kinda sucked.
I returned to work at the end of the third month, and to ease the transition, I meal planned and prepped on the weekends. Every lunch was made, every breakfast mapped out, and every dinner ready to throw into the crock pot/oven. My husband was doing the laundry and dishes every week, and I still couldn’t seem to get my sea legs.
Slowly, even the good habits, what few there are, have deteriorated into the frenzied alarm shotgun start to the push out the door with babies and blankets and barely-made lunches thrown in a heap in the car, to the rush home for dinner and reading and bathing and prayers and bedtime, and we all fall into bed an exhausted mess.
No big deal. We can regroup, right?
Let’s start this regrouping with (or without?) breastfeeding. More than once I’ve wondered why I am so determined to breastfeed. I struggle to make milk, but I want to breastfeed her as long as possible, as often as possible. This is what I want, so I have to lump it like a big girl, right? In practice, this is what my breastfeeding desires mean: I stop the morning flow to feed her, I stop the evening flow to feed her, and I drive to my house to feed her at lunch, and at work I stop every couple of hours to pump. While sometimes these breaks are much-needed reprieves, it feels like my days consist of stops and starts and little else. I can’t keep a rhythm going long enough to feel as though I’ve been productive.
Oh, and the baby decided that she’d stop sleeping through the night when I went back to work. Cool.
I should stay home.
My maternity leave was no picnic in terms of work load, but at least I didn’t have to shower, or do my hair, or put on clothes other than t-shirts and shorts. I could spend the day blissfully bra-less, feeding my child when she was hungry rather than setting a timer for the next pumping session and meticulously planning my trip home so that I can be there when the baby wakes up and is hungry.
Honestly, the days mostly pass in a sleep-deprived haze. It’s a wonder I’ve been productive at work! A miracle.
You know how on a roller coaster you get ready and buckled in and the ride starts to move? It jolts and jostles a little on your way out, and it takes a little bit of yardage to pick up speed. This is our jolt start out of the gate. We’ll get in a groove, but it will take some time. The goal is simply this: don’t miss the ride.
The one overwhelming thing that makes it all worth it is the sweet baby for whom I toil. When I can find my wits to stop and process, I realize that she is so completely worth every dark circle, every spit up stained shirt, every single stop and start. The fingers that feel my face or squeeze my thumb while she eats. The smiles and coos when she catches my eye. The cackles of joy when she does something new for the first time. For just a moment, I soak it all in because it will be gone too soon. Ohhh, I love it. And it is worth it.