A month ago this past Monday I returned to work. I was fortunate enough to take 11 weeks off of work to be with Bellatrix. So much happened in those 11 weeks that I wouldn’t even know where to begin. Bellatrix was born right before the holidays. It was only days before Thanksgiving that she graced us with her presence. That started the most amazing time off I could have ever asked for.
I had all these “plans” for what I would do when I was on maternity leave. I refused to sit at home. After all, I’m not the sit at home type…all the time. Don’t get me wrong, I love a day where you do nothing but stay in PJ’s and sit on the couch and literally do nothing. But I had plans man! I was gonna go places! I was gonna do things!
Roy works “odd” hours and by odd I mean not your typical 9-5. He would be home in the mornings and then leave for work in the afternoons and wouldn’t come home until around midnight. That meant I had 10+ hours to figure out what to do with a newborn by myself. I have been around babies my whole life. I know what to do with kids and how to entertain them, but all of a sudden I had my own tiny newborn and I froze. I didn’t know what to do. I panicked; a silent panic but nonetheless I panicked. I would cry and stare at Bellatrix and wonder if she was bored. I would wonder if she hated me or if I annoyed her. I wondered if she even knew who I was. (For the record she slept damn near the whole day so basically I was a hormonal wreck). All it took was a couple days by myself with her to figure out I had the hang of it and I was worrying for nothing.
I had an emergency c-section (I’ll share my birth story another time). My c-section meant I couldn’t drive for 6 weeks. At first I thought that was the stupidest rule and I was mad. This unplanned c-section I had was messing with my maternity plans! Or was it? Maybe God knew I needed to learn to slow down. Maybe He knew that I plan too many things and do too much. Maybe He knew that this isn’t my 14 year old who likes to go shopping or on mommy and me dates. This was a newborn. A newborn that needed sleep, that needed momma cuddles, that needed to just be home.
So, with that, Netflix and Chill: Parenting Edition was created. I watched more Netflix in 11 weeks than I probably should have. Truthfully my Netflix addiction is probably unhealthy. I watched the entire series of Parenthood, I watched movies, I watched Blacklist, I started Grey’s Anatomy. In all of that Netflix watching came a routine. Roy and I would have coffee and spend time together with the baby watching Netflix. Then I would go shower, then he would shower. Somewhere in there came lunch. Then it came time for him to leave and it would just be Bell and I. Then we would watch more Netflix, change a lot of diapers and have the most cuddles anyone could ever have. Some people told me I held her too much and in my opinion it wasn’t enough. I never wanted to put her down and I was okay with that. For the record, I put her down, but if I didn’t have to I wasn’t going to. And you know what? Thank God I didn’t because she is now 15 weeks old and she doesn’t like to be cuddled the same way as she did in those first weeks and I’m okay with that too.
Now my days at work are filled with missing her so much it brings me to tears sometimes. I love working. I love my job and the people I work with. But it just doesn’t compare to that feeling of sitting at home on the couch with my baby girl doing absolutely nothing all day and only changing from one set of pj’s to the next. I look forward to my nights where I come home and I can sit with her, and nurse her and just be with her, sometimes just with the TV on for background noise. I look forward to the summer when our first baby girl comes to stay and we can all just Netflix and Chill all summer long.
I thank god for those 11 weeks. It changed me in ways I never thought possible. It’s made me become a better person, a better mom to Karli and Bell and it’s made me realize what’s truly important in life. Netflix and Chill saved my soul and humbled me. I will forever be grateful.
Maternity leave this third time around was so different. The time went by much quicker than I remember in the past. But I’m so thankful for the time and my moments spent with Tye and the boys. I’m thankful that I was able to take Tre and Devon to school, pick them up right after school, do homework with them at a decent hour and still find time for them to play outside. I’m thankful for the early dinners and movies we watched. I’m thankful for the walks with Tye in the mornings and the binge watching of Netflix with him. I’m thankful I got to put Tye to sleep and hold him for sometimes hours. I’m thankful for all the cuddles and kisses and feedings and smiles. I soaked it all in as I always do with my kids but this time around it flew. Maybe it was the holidays that made it go by quickly or maybe it’s the chaotic life we live. Mornings were spent getting 3 boys ready, afternoons were spent working out and watching Netflix and facetiming with Crys and Bell who were also on leave, then before I knew it it was time to pick up the rascals and start the second half of my day; homework, outdoor play, baths, dinner, diaper changes, bedtime stories and then just like that the day was over. And just as quickly so was my leave.
It’s been 7 weeks now since I have gone back to work. Dropping off Tye for his first day at day care was hard. I didn’t remember it being so hard leaving the other two, but my sister said it perfectly, “before you were focused on your career but you’re in a different place now.” That doesn’t mean that Tre and Devon were not important, they are my world, but I had responsibilities as a Manager waiting for me at work so I was able to put my focus on that and not deal with the feelings of leaving my babies. When the Bank closed I made it a point to work closer to home and find a job that was less demanding so that I could put all my time and effort into my children. My needs and wants have changed and for the first time I was feeling these feelings of leaving my baby and it sucked.
Tye is 4 months old now. He’s rolling over, laughing, grabbing toys on his own, eating baby food and growing right before my eyes. Each one of my boys has taught me something. Tre has taught me unconditional love, Devon has taught me patience, and Tye has taught me to slow down and enjoy every single second.
It may be no more Netflix and chill for us, but it’s definitely not the end of Motherhood and for that we are so very grateful.