I was sending a note to one of my pregnant friends and realized how excited I was to talk about going back to work, so decided to share it here, too! This week was my first full week back. I have switched to day shift (I worked nights from January through the night when Eleanor was born) to make things easier schedule and sleep-wise for Chris and me. We decided that since I work three days a week, Eleanor will be with me four days a week, Chris one day a week, and daycare two days a week. Hopefully this arrangement is will work out well for our family.
On Chris: My first day back was a Sunday, so Chris was going to watch Eleanor all day. I think we were both a little nervous because I wasn't exactly sure how many ounces she would eat during the day or if Chris would be able to calm her down if she got reeaaaally fussy so I kept my phone on me in case he had questions. All I got from him all day long were adorable pictures and videos about how they made it to church on time, did tummy time, played on the play mat, took a nap in the swing, watched the Redskins game, hosted Bible Study at our house, and generally had no problems at all! When I walked in the door from work, Eleanor was sleeping on his chest on the couch and he had timed it up perfectly for me to be able to feed her when I got home. I was SO proud and impressed! I mean, seriously. He had her for almost 14 hours by himself and even got laundry done and the dishwasher unloaded and still did all the normal things we do on Sunday.
The other two days I worked this week, Chris has gotten Eleanor up, changed, dressed, and taken her to daycare in the morning and then picked her up on his way home from work and kept her for a few hours until I get home. Yesterday I even accidentally went to work with her carseat in my car, and he called a neighbor to borrow theirs to take her to daycare and came to the hospital between work meetings to come grab the carseat from me for the way home. I certainly have not made it easy on him but he is GREAT with her. This is really the first week that I've felt Eleanor's care was more evenly split between the two of us and I kind of LOVE it. It makes me so proud of him and I think he actually enjoys the extra responsibility and spending the time with her. It's not that he didn't spend time with her before but just not the extent of the time he spends with her now that I'm working full time. I don't even know if he realizes how huge a change it has been. Before, when she was fussy he would keep her and try to figure out what she wanted for 10-15 minutes before handing her off to me to feed, but now the other day he actually took her from me while I was holding her to calm her down when she got upset. I still plan out most of the details of getting her ready for a day without me, like making sure there are enough bottles, they are in the right amount for her to eat, her diaper bag is packed, etc, but Chris has gone to her room and picked out her outfits the last couple of days, and clearly I forgot the detail of the carseat so he is starting to pick up these things, too. He is an extremely capable dad and I really can't express how proud I am of how smooth this transition has been because of him. He's awesome :)
Some pictures Chris has sent me of their day while I was at work:
On me: It really has been easy to go back to work. It was a good transition to have Chris with her the first day because he texted me updates all day long (which I don't get from the daycare during the day). I had a pretty easy patient load my first two days, as well, so I really enjoyed being back, hanging out with coworkers and getting back into the swing of things. I miss Eleanor during the day, but I know she's in good hands so I don't worry about her. I'm also able to pump at work. I was actually thinking this week that if Chris' boss offered to double his salary so I could stay home and take care of E (my going back to work has sort of wreaked havoc on his ability to travel out of town for days at a time), I'm pretty sure I wouldn't want to leave my job right now! Maybe when she's a bit older or if we have more than one kid it will be a different story, but for right now, this is working for us. And I don't feel like a bad mom for going to work (and if you disagree, don't tell me - it works for us right now and that is good enough for me)!
On Eleanor: So far we really like Eleanor's teacher and she has said that Eleanor seems very content at daycare. She also said that E is the most popular baby there because she is the smallest and everyone knows babies and their weird movements are fun to look at. Eleanor also loves watching other babies so hopefully she is enjoying herself. We don't really think she has any clue what's going on right now though, so it will be interesting to see how she reacts in the coming months.
Eleanor with her teacher:
So overall the transition has gone well. We are still ironing out details on how this will affect sporting events, Chris' travel schedule, and things like possibly getting a second carseat, but we really couldn't have asked for a smoother foray into the world of two working parents.