Sunday, November 4, 2012

Back to Work

Tomorrow comes a day I have avoided acknowledging for quite some time. Reality will begin, we'll find a new routine, the game plan changes. I'll find myself, for the first time ever, a stay-at-home mom of three.
I have been out of the workforce since last December; this is true. I have been a mama of three since February. Since I went on bed rest after Abby's third birthday, Rich has been home, and tomorrow is his first day back to work.
With the reality of tomorrow's coming, I am not panicking or psyching myself out. Like anything else, I will just handle it. It will be the way it is, and I rise to the challenge. It will be our new normal and when things get tough, I will do my best to put on my "I've got this" swagger and power through. 
What's making me sad is the feeling of missing Rich. 
He's been here by my side for nine months. We are very, very fortunate that his benefits allow him to take parental leave when I did not. 
Since the moment my water broke, Rich has been right here with me. He has sacrificed a lot, getting by on very little sleep, helping with as many bottle-feedings as he could, occupying Abby and comforting her as she adjusted to the changes in our family dynamic. Heck, he helped me adjust to the changes in our family dynamic. He supported my efforts to breastfeed our babies and nine months later, they are still getting four bottles of breast milk a day. 
He has formed such a tight bond with his babies. I would even say that, so far, they don't have a preference when they are sad, hungry or uncomfortable--either of us can be counted on. And I love that. I know that I am more maternal and nurturing,  but I think it speaks volumes that they are equally attached to both of us.
We will never again have twin infants in our house, and we will likely never again have Rich home for such a long time to devote his time solely to his family. This has been a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and it has done our family so much good. How blessed we have been.
Rich works very hard and, as the sole breadwinner, he has a different set of pressures on his shoulders than do I. He is the provider. The hunter. He is the man of the house. Tomorrow we will return to the traditional roles we agreed are important to our family. That I can continue to stay home with our children is a blessing, and his job makes that possible, with some sacrifices being made, of course.
To be honest, when he left work, it had become very stressful for our family. It is a very demanding and emotionally difficult job in the best of circumstances, and right now, things are not the best circumstances. But we will be OK, we have re-affirmed our family priorities and have become stronger people because of the stresses. We have had some major, deep, life-changing talks over his parental leave. I have gotten to know him so much better, and I have to say, I admire him so much more. 
Truly, being together 24/7 for nine months with looming work stress, the pressure of raising twin preemies and a preschooler has been tough. We bickered and argued and weren't our best selves sometimes. But we recognized that as well, we called a spade a spade, and learned to be grateful for our time together when all we wanted was a break for each other's constant presence.
And now it's done. It's bittersweet.
I will take over as the kids' primary care provider and homemaker, and he will put his work boots on and go out into the working world. I am hoping that no matter what each of our days bring, we can all come together at dinner and find some peace in each other's presence. I have seen family members be taken away in tragic circumstances and now, more than ever, we all need each other. He is our protector, our provider and our hero.

3 comments:

  1. Oh Sarah. What a beautiful post. You two make such an amazing team and it's been so lovely to watch the two of you be parents together over these past 9 months.
    Rich is an incredible father. The way his girls just look at him with adoring eyes says it all.
    I know you will miss him. It will take some time for everyone to get it straight. But you guys can do it.
    xoxo

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  2. What a great post ... and I am glad Richard took the time off, he is a jem for sure ... Laura

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