My mother-in-law is upstairs cooing at our six-week-old daughter, Rebekah. It’s Friday and the last day I have free before returning to work on Monday. My intent for maternity leave (get ready to laugh) was to clean-up our downstairs (my husband, Jesse, and I live in my parents’ basement), go through our clothes and bag things for Goodwill to make room, and get some writing done. Yeah, right!
I’ve been lucky to see my email every couple of days, let alone my bed occasionally. Between gassiness, reflux, cluster feeding for over a month, and plain old intense fussiness, Bekah keeps me going morning, noon, and night. I shouldn’t leave Jesse out, as he’s been working a new job as an EMT with crazy hours and little sleep. Sometimes I’d be jealous as he’d sleep while I try to nurse at 2 a.m.. I can’t punch out of this job! But despite the cries and sleeplessness, I realize as Monday approaches that I’d rather be home with her.
Did I mention I was free today? It was meant to be a dress rehearsal for the workday (though I spent more time catching up on sleep than anything else). Last nurse at 6 a.m., pump the other side if needed, pump at work at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., nurse at 6 p.m. and possibly pump. I work four ten-hour days to get Wednesdays off, which is really a blessing. My mother has her Mondays and Thursdays, Jesse on Tuesdays, and Nancy (mother-in-law) on Fridays. Big savings on daycare. Honestly, if I didn’t have this help, I couldn’t afford any daycare on my paycheck; I’d be quitting. I wish I didn’t have to work in the first place, but with our two small incomes, we have little choice. We’re scraping by with bills, school loans, some debt, and that’s without a mortgage!
A little at a time, I tell myself. I have a plan to pay off a credit card in ten months, then I’ll use the same payment towards some other debts—the easy stuff first, like whichever is smallest that can be wiped out. I have a great rate on a savings account, but I haven’t been able to put much into it. If we can stick to the plan, we’ll turn that payment into a savings eventually. Those at-home clean-up projects will have to come a little at a time. My writing (currently working on some fiction) will have to take the sidelines for now.
If we ever get stable enough, my dream would be becoming a stay-home mom and write whenever I could. Right now, I need to be realistic. At six weeks, Bekah’s at her peak for crying. Finding that out made me so excited and relieved. From here on, it can only get better.