Andy's parents went back to England at the end of January and both Andy and I are back to work. Sigh. Back to reality, indeed. Andy is working full time and I have gone back to work two days a week with a new role I wrote about in my previous post. I am now a "working mother" which I've come to realise is a stupidly outdated term, as no one ever refers to Andy as a "working father".
Ella is in daycare the days I work, which I felt immense guilt about to begin with but we are all slowly getting used to it. She didn't have the greatest start, acquiring her first cold almost immediately, and having to be picked up early on her first full day as she had a fever. It is so sad watching Ella suffer through a cold as she can't blow her nose... I mean, how annoying would that be? I'd be in a pretty foul mood if I had a runny nose all day and couldn't do anything about it! Apparently babies and children get colds all the time. The Internet has informed me anywhere from 6-12 colds per year is pretty normal, so we'd better get used to it. She has now recovered, and by all accounts is starting to get used to daycare, smiling and giggling when she sees her carers, and we haven't had to pick her up early since that first day. Still, it is a long day for her there, as Andy drops her off around 7:30am and then we try to pick her up as soon as possible, but sometimes that is not until after 5pm. It's ok for two days a week, but I am not looking forward to going back full time and we are exploring other options for child care, such as an au pair, for when that time comes.
Going back to work has been harder than expected. On one hand it is really nice to break up the monotony of staying at home alone all day with a baby and interact with adults. I really like a lot of people I work with so the social side of going back to work has been great. Working two days is amazing in theory, but my new role really needs more time to be done well. I am finding it difficult to find a way to do the job to the ability I would like to without taking too much home. I've already mentioned this to my Principal though and so hopefully we can work out a way to manage things.
The best thing about going back to work though has been the way it makes me appreciate the days I have with Ella. They no longer feel monotonous or even that challenging and I am trying to be more present and enjoy all of the time I have with her. Now that I have a taste of what it is like to be at work all day I feel like I know what more experienced parents are talking about when they tell me to treasure every moment, and how quickly time flies. Don't get me wrong, I'm sure there are still times when I will feel frustration and annoyance with Ella, but overall I know now that this stage of her life will not last forever and I am lucky to have the time off with her that I have.
Other than that things have been pretty quiet around here. Obviously we've been busy getting into a new routine for the work/daycare days and settling back into life without grandparents around again. Last weekend we got back into the yoga (for mummy), swimming (for Ella and daddy) and brunch (for everyone) routine which was lovely. Ella has really grown over the summer and is really engaged in her swimming lessons now. Also, we sat her in a high chair for the first time at brunch last weekend which meant we could both eat our meals with two hands - what a treat! Now that she eats real food we can order her a side of toast and she happily sits there munching away on it. (I say munching, I really mean she sucks on it until its nice and soggy and then some of it gets ingested and the rest ends up on the floor. But don't worry, I clean up after her. I'm not one of those parents... yet.) I think we need to take advantage of actually enjoying brunching with Ella as I'm sure once she is walking around it won't be quite so relaxing!