I am going back to work a little bit earlier than most Canadian moms, after only nine months of maternity leave. My husband is taking the last stretch of leave available to our family, months ten, eleven, and twelve. At the beginning of my leave, nine months seemed like a lifetime, but here we are, just around the corner from my time “off” ending.
Some days, when everything goes smoothly, and the sun is shining through the windows, and the twins barely cry, and I get a shower because naps go well, I think I could do maternity leave forever. On those days, I’m wistfully sad about this time ending. On days when it’s gloomy and cold, I am repeatedly puked on, and I spend a lot of the day on my hands and knees cleaning up half-eaten quartered grapes mashed into the hardwood floors, I feel gratitude for the option of going back to work at all.
I think having my husband home with the twins for a few months will be a good adjustment period for all of us, rather than just heading back to work and dropping the kids off at daycare right away. When I first imagined this plan, there was a romantic idea I had about ensuring that my husband got in some quality parenting time while the opportunity was there. I imagined this would help him feel less like a babysitter and more like an active parent when looking after them, as three months of full-time care would establish him as a capable boo-boo kisser too.
Of course I imagined this before we knew it was twins. It has turned out that Dad is as much an involved parent as Mom. With two, I’m not sure there’s really any other option. He does baths, he does bedtimes, he does naps, he even cleans half-eaten grapes out of hardwood. And now it seems I’m more interested in him experiencing just how hard eight straight hours and five days a week of solo-parenting twins can be. Not because I want him to suffer, but because I want more credit. It’s not that I don’t get lots of credit. But I just want more.
I am sure daycare will be good for them; all logical reasons point to that. They say the social time is beneficial, and even all the cooties help them in the long run; building up their little immune systems. It’s likely their daycare provider will have more energy that their father or I do, to take them outside, and play games, and keep them entertained. She is, after all, much younger than we are.
I’m hopeful that daycare will benefit us as well, allowing us to appreciate the times we do have with the twins a little bit more, as we build up our reserves of energy with some time away. I want us to give our all to those early morning breakfasts ahead of daycare, and the family dinners and bath-times that follow.
There have been many times in the past months where I have yearned for this time to come, wanting to use my brain for things other than diaper changes and feeding schedules. Of course now, as it approaches, I sense the speed at which the coming years will pass, and I am set about savouring these last quiet afternoons. I can understand now why Saturdays and Sundays are so precious to families. Where I once treasured them for long sleep-ins and lazy wasted afternoons, I’ll now treasure them for the long hours of playtime with the twins, and lazy afternoons with crayons and cuddling.