So I finally survived the first week of returning back to work after 3 months of maternity leave. I won’t lie to you, it sure is HARD! I was so happily lost in Mommyville the past 3 months that the reality of being away from Poppyseed for at least 8 hours a day hit me hard like a rock. Poppyseed was constantly in the back of my mind that I could hardly focus or complete any tasks on time. On my first day back, I had already a full day’s worth of meeting scheduled ahead. I left Poppyseed under the care of my wonderful in-laws (thank God for them) and right before I stepped into my very first meeting of the day, they called to say that feisty little Poppyseed rejected the loads of breastmilk that I had stored away for months in anticipation of this day. For REAL??!! Of all the days, Poppyseed had to pick today?
Apparently stored breastmilk, said to last 3-6 months frozen, develops a heavy metallic taste that Poppyseed was averse to. Kept debating to myself whether I should be the responsible mom who runs back home immediately to give him my boobies or be the bad mom who stays till 5pm and let my poor baby starve. Of course my concentration was completely shot before the day even really started. I should’ve seen this coming because last week Poppyseed wanted only boobies and had rejected the bottle even when it was filled with fresh breastmilk. Go figure! God sure knows how to work in mysterious ways.
Fearful of my company’s disapproval, I chose to be the bad mom who remained at work for the entire day. Poppyseed did eventually eat when he became too hungry, but reluctantly. I rushed out 5pm on the dot, but I wonder to myself if I continue to put my company ahead of my baby, will it have long term negative effects on his upbringing. Reluctance to eat was only the first of many challenges to come for a parent returning back to work. What about when Poppyseed becomes sick or home for holidays or even needs help with his homework late at nights but I’m just too busy stuck at work?
My dad worked 7 days a week, 13 hours straight over the past 60 years just to provide good shelter, education, and food for my siblings and I. He was a very responsible man who did everything to provide for his family, but at what cost? We grew up never having to develop a close relationship with him because he was never around for family trips, graduations, birthdays etc. Whenever he did have a day off, which was seldom, he was too exhausted to spend time with us. We knew he was an excellent provider, and that’s about it. We knew nothing about his history, his interests, and his pains. We didn’t understand such dedication when we were young and as a result, took him for granted. Now that he is in late 70s and retired, all he wants to do is spend all his time with us. But we all are just too busy with our own lives. When we do go out for dinner with my dad, we barely have much to say because a close relationship was never built over the years.
So with so much bills to pay and mouths to feed, how should we as parents balance between work and family life? As an infant, Poppyseed needs my presence all the time. But when he grows older and have his own life and interest, I won’t be needed as much anymore. So how much are we willing to sacrifice and at what cost?