This week marks the final third of my parental leave. In just one month, KRH will be start day care. Shortly after, I’ll be returning to my day job in communications for a nonprofit.
This leaves me with somewhat mixed emotions. I’ve had a lot of fun being at home with KRH. We’ve gone on lots of walks, visited my parents, been to some classes, and just generally spent time together. And I’ve had a good time, but it’s also been a lot of work, to the point where my secondary goals for the summer (things like working on my eating, and writing, and such) have been basically non-existent.
I knew my summer would be busy, and yet it caught me by surprise. I think maybe I wasn’t expecting just how much even a small thing could throw off a day. I imagined I could get into a schedule of naps that would allow me to get things done. But sometimes, KRH just throws out a big fuck you to naps and so he’s fussy all the time. Or he gets us up three times a night and I’m bagged the next day. Or my timing is slightly off and we miss a nap, or he naps in the car for five minutes, or there’s laundry or chores or other things to do.
So long story short, while I’ve enjoyed this summer, most of those goals remain undone. Of course, when I go back to work, I don’t think I’m going to suddenly have a lot more time to do these things. In fact, I’m probably going to have less. That’s going to present its own challenge, and it’s one I hope I’ll be able to deal with once I have a rhythm and a schedule and things that I don’t have right now.
Still, I can look back on the last 10 weeks with some pride. I’ve learned a lot about parenting, about KRH, and about what my wife has been through. I’ve learned to handle fussy days and missed naps and changing schedules and stormy periods. I’m sure I have a lot more to learn, but I’m more in sync with KRH than before. Furthermore, I’ve learned that despite that I really wanted this, it’s not really what I want to do full time (perhaps because I imagined I’d have a lot more time to write and stay organized and cook and clean and all that). Full-time stay at home parenting isn’t what I really aspire to, at least not as I’ve experienced it right now.
I wouldn’t say that I’m eager to go back to work (they’ve been calling me about some technical things and I’ve racked up a bunch of hours in the last few weeks and even more spent worrying). But I am looking forward to the opportunity to change things up and find new ways of doing things that will, I hope, be a lot more sustainable. What it will look like, I’m not certain, but I intend for it to have opportunities for both writing and for lots of quality time with my family.