Not taking maternity leave might have been one of the craziest ideas I have ever had. The upside is that I am not driving to work because I work at home. The downside? I am still working. I think back to when I had my first appointment with our midwife and I said “I still plan on teaching night class a week after the baby is born…it’s only two nights a week and it will be nice for Tyler to spend time with the baby and for me to get out of the house”. She looked at me like I was insane and said “you need to rethink that plan”. Yes, I was completely naive about: the healing process, how much time taking care of a baby takes, how I would never want to be away from Caleb, and how difficult it is to even eat and shower on a daily basis.
Fortunately for me, I have great supervisors who allowed for me to teach my courses online this quarter. Having a paycheck come in (after 3 months of no paychecks over summer) feels amazing! I felt so proud that I could pay our water bill in full because Manfriend has been paying all of the bills and I felt bad about that. I have been the “moneymaker” in our family and went through a couple of years where I actually made a lot of money. Now, Manfriend is the “moneymaker” and I am OK with it. I didn’t think I would be but once I finally quit working 3 jobs and went to a normal 1 job schedule, I am fine with the reduction in pay because I am happier at home; I have more free time, and I really love my job!
So now that Caleb is almost 3 weeks old and I have had some time to adjust to being a mom and working I can honestly say that it is tough. It seems like every time I grab my laptop to check email or read/grade Discussion Posts, Caleb wakes up and wants to nurse. I don’t mind though. When I signed on to teach (the quarter started days before Caleb was due) I made sure to let all of my students know that I was expecting and that our little boy could arrive at any time. I did this because I knew there would be about a week where I was going to avoid work all together.
I was right. The week after Caleb was born I took time to send out an announcement telling my students that Caleb was born but I certainly did no work for that week. My students were very supportive (I had to cancel a quiz for one class so I think that had a lot to do with it) and understanding. I had to do a lot of catchup the next week and that was really tough. Thankfully, Manfriend watches Caleb so I can get some work done each day but for the most part- I do all of my work when Caleb is sleeping next to me.
Most new moms take maternity leave or choose to be stay-at-home-moms but I don’t have that option. I am only part-time faculty and need to stay on so I can be considered for a full time position and since we are planning on buying a house- we need to save. I love being home with Caleb and I DREAD the day I go back to working in January but because I teach, I have a great schedule and that makes me feel better. I will only need someone to watch Caleb for 3 hours a day and then I get to spend the rest of my days hanging out with him. I like being a work-at-home mom but I am so thankful that when I do go back to work, I will only be away from him for a few hours a day.
Now the big question is: who will watch our little guy while I am teaching? Finding a childcare provider I trust to be with my son is going to be a journey in itself.