It’s been thirteen weeks.
Thirteen weeks of working from home with my son who is now 9 months old. When we started this journey, he was just six and a half months old. He was learning how to transition from laying on the floor to sitting up on his own. Now he’s scaling the furniture and about to take his first steps. So much has changed throughout the last few months.
The first weeks of quarantine came and went incredibly fast.
Between a stressful workload and the responsibilities of a completely dependent child, I managed to stay so busy that I didn’t have the time to dwell on the fact that I hadn’t left the house in three weeks. The burden of quarantine hadn’t hit me yet. My days were spent treading water, desperately trying to stay afloat with my work responsibilities and a baby who all of a sudden became extremely mobile. Going to bed before midnight never happened. And with a baby who was still waking at least once a night, getting more than five hours of sleep never happened.
It was hard. It’s still hard.
Before the coronavirus invaded our country, I had just started getting the hang of the “working mom” lifestyle.
As a first-time mom, the logistics are tough to iron out – especially when you’re a breastfeeding mama learning how to efficiently pump while at work. Then there is the onset of the mom guilt. It’s one of the most intense emotions a person can feel. In fact, the amount of mom guilt I felt each day distracted me more from my work than anything else.
I loathed dropping my son off at daycare. I cried walking away more times than not. How is it fair that someone else gets to hang out with him for hours each day when he’s MY kid? I should be with him. I often told myself I was awful for leaving him wondering when I was coming back, that no one was more capable of teaching him than me. I would have given anything to quit my job and have the opportunity to stay at home with him every day.
But that wasn’t my reality – that is until COVID-19.
In an odd way, this virus gave me what I yearned for: to be home with my son all day, every day. Unfortunately, it also brought an incredible amount of stress, a short temper, a bad diet, many tears, a fear of getting sick, little sleep, and a marriage that desperately needed attention. But here I was with exactly what I asked for – spending every minute of every day with my son.
You see, as much as this quarantine has been one of the most stressful periods of my life, it’s also been the most special time of my life.
If not for quarantine, I likely would have missed seeing my son crawl for the first time. I probably would have missed him standing on his own for the first time too. And I certainly would have missed far too many of his squeals and adorable baby babbles. But instead, I saw it all.
I witnessed every new milestone, from crawling and standing to learning how to feed himself and say “dada” and “mama”.
Every smile is mine. Every laugh is mine. Every new sound he makes is mine.
Each day brings something new, and I’m the lucky one that gets to see it.
From the moment I became a mom, I understood babies don’t keep. But as much as I’m excited to watch my son grow, I’m afraid of missing out on too much. I’m afraid of the moment when I watch my son leave on his own and I’m left wishing I’d held him in the chair for just a bit longer.
I’m not sure when our life will go back to “normal”.
But as cities begin to open back up, and I see people resume their regular activities, I’m anxious at the thought of what that means for my son and me. Ultimately, it means I’ll go back to the office, and he’ll go back to daycare. Once again, someone else will get to hang out with my sweet boy.
I often worry about whether this time together has affected my son. I worry if he’s developed separation anxiety as a result of being constantly by my side. But truth be told, I’m the one who has separation anxiety. I’m the one who has a large pit growing in the bottom of her stomach in anticipation of the time when we no longer get to spend our days together.
Will returning to the office and 8 hours of uninterrupted work time reduce my stress level? Absolutely. But do I want to give up all of this for that? No, I don’t.
So, if I’m being honest, I don’t want quarantine to end.
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