(This is Paul posting. I’m using my picture to indicate my entries, but I don’t think every view of this journal shows the pictures. At some point perhaps I’ll get organized enough to do some formatting on this thing.)
When Laura was pregnant, I had arranged with CU that I’d take a couple of months off when the baby was born. I had ten years of accumulated sick leave to burn, and FMLA laws ensured that I’d still have a job to come back to. Of course, my employer is cool enough that they’d be willing to work with me on whatever arrangement I wanted even without the government backing me up. Anyway, I’ve just lifted my head, and it seems that my time is up. I go back to work tomorrow.
In the first weeks after Dante was born, I had an incredibly difficult time adjusting to this new way of life. I’d been working an 8-to-5 job for more than a decade, and most of my life-maintenance habits were built around that structure. I’m definitely a creature of systems and routines, and losing those meant that days would pass before I’d, say, remember that I really should pick up the mail. Now, though, I’m well acclimated to this new lifestyle of staying home and co-parenting, and I regard this new change with considerable anxiety. I know that Laura does too, though of course not for the same reasons. We’ll no longer be splitting the childcare 50-50, which is a drag for her, since she’s the one taking on the greater share. On the other hand, from my side I feel a lot more pressure coming too — suddenly I’m responsible for all my work duties again, and when I come home, I’ll be responsible for relieving Laura from childcare duties. So she’ll get a (well-deserved!) break at that time, but I’m not sure when my break will be. Lunchtime, maybe. We made the mistake at first of feeling jealous of each other’s situations, and realized quickly that the only way we can possibly feel good is to empathize with each other’s plights, and then to try to support each other as much as possible.
Happily, Dante is helping us out in his way. He seems to be sleeping through the night on a fairly regular basis now (though actually typing that out makes me feel like knocking on every piece of wood in the house.) He also sleeps for brief periods during the day, so Laura may be able to get some rest that way too. On my side, the people I work for and with are terrifically understanding about my need for flexibility, and I feel confident that if I need to rearrange my schedule to function better in this new situation, I’ll be able to work something out with them. Also, I like my job and the people I work with, so at least I don’t have the creeping dread of going back to a monotonous or dysfunctional workplace. It will be nice to have the opportunity to work on soluble problems and avail myself of adult conversations. But I think I’ll miss my baby a lot, too. It’s really a shame — I feel pretty strongly that what would be best for all three of us would be for this current situation to continue indefinitely. Pity about that pesky need for income.