Mia is twelve weeks old today and has decided that now that she is so grown up she no longer needs to sleep. Ever. I strongly disagree.
Wednesday was my last day of maternity leave and I was due back at work yesterday. I didn't go. I didn't just not show up, of course, they have known for weeks I wouldn't be there yesterday.
I am hugely fortunate to be able to stay home with Mia for a while. It means making a lot of sacrifices, such as having to clean my own house, but I think it is worth it. In the scheme of things, the sacrifices are so very small. I thank my lucky stars every day that we are in a position to make this choice, but I also know that we have worked very hard to get here and Chris continues to work very hard to allow me to spend every day kissing Mia's toes.
It has been hard for me to adjust to the idea that I won't work. That I won't make any money. That I will live entirely off of Chris's efforts. It means giving up a job that I don't love but that I am very good at and for which I have earned a good reputation and a lot of respect, as well as a salary that it will take years to get close to when I go back to work. As hard as that adjustment is though, it is nowhere near as hard as it would have been to hand Mia off to someone else yesterday and go to work. I don't know if I would have had the strength to do it.
Twelve weeks is not enough. Twelve weeks of unpaid leave is disgraceful. I know many women who have wanted to return to work right away, but I have known many more who do not and there should be a better option for them. Surely some of the money we waste on political pork could be better used for a more rational national maternity policy (among a great many other things).
In the meantime, I am a stay at home mom. I expect this will be very different than other jobs I have had - I won't be winning awards or raises or even much recognition or praise. But I think it may be the first job I have ever loved.