The end of my Mommy Days is near. And I can't get rid of these tears in my eyes.
When I was five months pregnant with Emma, I negotiated a work-from-home day. I was being courted for a new job, and telecommuting was one of the things my boss offered to keep me. It worked.
I spent her first year stressed out, both at work and at home. Life with a newborn is hard, and going back to work after six weeks certainly doesn't make it any easier. And the at-home day was a blessing and a curse. It meant one less day of day care, a day I didn't have to feel guilty about leaving her behind. But it also meant crazy juggling. I brought home lots of work; the last thing I wanted was for anyone to feel like I was slacking. So I frantically returned calls when she napped, edited with her on my lap and vacuumed when I could get away with it.
Three and a half years later, it's my oasis. Emma calls it her Mommy Day. There are days, of course, when I've got a lot going on and can't spend as much time with her, but mostly, it's her day. We bake cookies and run errands, paint and go for walks, make frequent library trips and read many, many books. We spend hours engaged in pretend play. In short, we do whatever it is she wants. And that's the way I like it.
Next week, I start a new job. It's a great move for me, personally and professionally. It's a more visible role, more money, doing something I'll love. The office is flexible and the folks already know and love my daughter and husband. But I'll have a staff to manage, so I just can't work from home regularly. I'm not bitter about it; I know it's what the job requires. All of the reasons this is my dream job far outweigh giving up Wednesdays.
Emma will spend an extra day in the care of a young woman we've handpicked for her. Both of them are excited about the prospect. Adam keeps reassuring me it'll be all right. But my mind is overrun with clichés -- my heart is being torn out, I'm leaving a piece of me behind. But for all the overused ways I can say it, one thing is true. For the first time, I feel like I'm choosing work over my child.
I know it's right. I know she'll be fine. I know I'm lucky to have had all these years of alone time with her. I know the pain will pass.
I know it's just a day.
Just a day.
Just my last Mommy Day.
But allow me these tears anyway.