Posts Tagged ‘maternity leave’

Next Steps

My fingernails are the longest they’ve been since perhaps my wedding day. I’ve always had a nervous habit of fidgeting with my nails, and it got worse when I started playing guitar in high school because I bit down the nails on my left hand for easier fret fingering. Though I don’t play guitar much, I kept that nasty habit. But on maternity leave, I haven’t stress-bit hardly at all.

The last seven weeks have been filled with joy and adjustment. Wes continues to be helpful (“Mama, you already fed her on that side.”), and Steven has taken on or completed household projects every time I turn around.

I’ve developed some new skills as well:

  • Multitasking with one arm (while breastfeeding). I’m proud of my abilities to shuck corn, make dinner and set the table, feed the dogs, and yes, even use the bathroom while feeding Maisie. I don’t know why I don’t just use a carrier more often, which would make tasks that much easier!
  • Wearing spit up and sweatshirts. I notice these things while sitting in the parent pick up car line at Wesley’s school. I’ve also gotten good at configuring the best time to arrive at school with the least amount of idle waiting.
  • Reorganizing areas of the house. You should see my linen closet! Steven remarked on the Day of Kitchen Cabinets, “It’s like someone actually thought about where things should go.” I take that as a compliment.
  • Stocking the freezer. I’ve discovered how much I enjoy prepping freezer meals for a rainy day. We’ve eaten so well during the last couple months – starting with meals provided by friends the first weeks, and now with these Shattuck family-approved make-ahead meals (many of which are crockpot simple!).
  • Sorting clothes. Gone are the snug-fitting shirts and pants in Wesley’s closet. Maisie has a solid wardrobe for her first 9 months, all organized by size and season. I’ve also gotten good at dropping off bags of donated clothes to various places!
  • (Not) Looking sleep-deprived. Maisie is pretty good at sleeping once she finally gives in, but she can fight it for hours. Thankfully I can usually get enough rest to have a functional day ahead, but I can also call upon a tip given to me by a makeup artist friend: white eyeliner on the top lid makes you look more alert.

It hasn’t been all peaches and rainbows, however. This pregnancy and birth were relatively easy and uneventful, but the postpartum recovery process has been more difficult than anticipated. After initial breastfeeding issues and several infections, I’m not 100% recovered. I’m still fighting off a lingering staph infection, and it’s really frustrating. Some days I could do little more than watch reruns of The Office.

There were (and sadly, still are!) times where I felt like a senior woman who complains to friends and family about her aches and pains. Thankfully I’ve been well looked after and my body seems to be slowly healing, but it has made my big plans for traveling and visiting throughout leave go abandoned. Not to say I/we haven’t done anything fun!

Earlier this month we joined Steven on a day trip to Chicago. He was scheduled to speak at a conference on a late Saturday afternoon, so we bundled up the rental car, caught our familiar train from Hammond, and toted a stroller around downtown Chicago. We visited Millennium Park and the Bean before Steven had to get ready.


The kids and I spent the afternoon at Navy Pier and the Chicago Children’s Museum, which was so much better than expected. We had just enough time to walk back to the conference hotel (ugh, that walk was the worst because it happened during Maisie’s prime feeding time), walk to the station and board the train back to our car. We arrived home just before midnight. Steven: “We could do that again.” Maybe a near-future day trip to visit some museums?

Both Steven and I have volunteered in Wesley’s classroom on separate occasions this month. It’s the best way to see how the Spanish immersion experience plays out, and it’s amusing to observe how your kid does and interacts with others. Wesley was thrilled to show off his baby sister to his classmates, and she was Miss Popular at recess and the lunch room.

Our first date night occurred last week! Steven got us great seats to Andrew Bird’s limited symphony tour, Time is a Crooked Bow, as my birthday present earlier this year. The show did not disappoint. I joked with a friend (who generously watched the kids for us!) that I started leaking breast milk from sheer excitement.

We’ve also had entertainment at home during these past few weeks. Maisie has reached an interactive milestone and has been smiling and cooing at us in recent days. At bath time the other night, she was so happy that we all took turns making faces to get the best smiles out of her. We likely looked ridiculous, all three of us gathered around her, talking and giggling in high-pitched babbles. She loved it!

I’m unsure why the video recorded on its side:

I return to work this week, and I’m starting to fidget with my nails again. For good reason: this is the busiest week of the year as the Indianapolis Walk to End Alzheimer’s is happening on Saturday. I have missed the entire fundraising event season and feel very out of the loop. I’m anxious to jump in and be a part of things, contributing to a mission I love and believe in.

But I also believe in my mission to contribute to my family’s needs. Maisie was a gift to us, and it’s my turn to give her my time and service. After this event season wraps up, I’m stepping away from my job to be at home for the foreseeable future. We are in a more stable position than when Wesley was born, and though it’s not something I ever thought I’d do, it’s time for me to take on a new position at home.

This decision was made with lots of influence and encouragement from Steven and Wes. I pretty much blame them for this newest adjustment. Though I have to admit, I’m looking forward to experiencing Maisie’s milestones and spending the holidays together. In January our family will re-evaluate my options, and I may return to the work force in a part-time position if something fitting becomes available.

Though my nails will be bitten to the shreds in the next few weeks – from health concerns, returning to a busy work environment and then leaving it all behind – I find I’m not nearly as anxious as I might have been. God has provided a blanket of peace in which I’m deeply snuggled. There is joy in my heart. All is well.

If I should say, “My foot has slipped,”
Your lovingkindness, O Lord, will hold me up.
When my anxious thoughts multiply within me,
Your consolations delight my soul.    – Psalm 94:18-19

Posted: September 30th, 2018
Categories: Leah
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Back to the grind

It’s been nearly 6 weeks. These last few days, I’ve tried to make every minute longer than the next. Staring into your baby’s precious face makes time want to speed up, however. Time and I do not see eye-to-eye right now.

So, what have I done the last few weeks? Well, I’ve TRIED to stay productive but still make sure to cherish these fleeting moments. Needless to say, I have not cleaned the house well. Thankfully, Steven and I are a great team, and we keep our house fairly tidy, but it’s my job to remove the dirt, dog hair and grime from surfaces. I got it really good and clean during my 4 days of waiting for Wes to show up, but now it’s getting bad again. I meant to clean today, and really, I should have because the babe is currently in the middle of a 2-hour-thus-far nap. But, sometimes snuggling with him and the dogs is just better. Anyway – I’ve read several juvenile sci-fi books, my favorite genre (The Underland Chronicles, Suzanne Collins – yes, the same author of The Hunger Games), gone on several walks to Ellenberger Park, spent time with my sister, her kids and my mom, visited with in-town and out-of-town friends and finally started on the Year 4 Anniversary Collage Painting. I also meant to paint today, but alas. Who cares if it doesn’t get done this week?

I have a few more days to enjoy before heading back in to work. Mixed emotions about this. I can understand why some women desire to stay home and not return. I don’t want to miss any developmental change or new discovery. Days seem to pass quickly, and it’s amazing what you DON’T accomplish around the house. But, at this point, I still suffer from cabin fever and extreme antsiness if I’m not seeing any productivity around me. I crave having projects to keep my mind and hands busy. I need an occasional challenge. Come Monday, I will be working full time again, but making my office at home two days out of the week. I certainly hope this will allow me to have the best of both worlds – at least for a time. Joy’s House is a wonderful organization, and I couldn’t find a better position for myself. I absolutely love the staff, the Guests, the projects and the wonderful volunteers & supporters I have the opportunity to meet and work alongside. I’ll be hitting the ground running, as our annual Gala is just around the corner – and my devoted planning committee is anxious to have me back to the grind!

Yesterday I met with the gal who will be watching my sweet boy two days a week. The situation is definitely an answer to prayer! She already cares for a precious girl of her own and identical twin boys all under 8 months old, and she lives so close to my workplace. All three of those kids are in cloth diapers, too, so I don’t have to deal with the “you’re weird” looks & talks! 🙂 She and I attended the same elementary and middle school, and we have lots of mutual friends as well. Seriously, I couldn’t be happier or more pleased, as I know Wes is in terrific hands. Thank you, Jillian!

The plan is to fully enjoy the next few days. Dinner with friends tonight, a trip to the zoo tomorrow with Mom, Sister & the Niece/Nephew, Feast of Lanterns & birthday party Saturday and a day of rest after church on Sunday. I will not, I repeat, will not be that frantic, worrying mother at work. I don’t claim to be SuperMom, either. God has blessed us with a beautiful son, and I’m going to do what’s best for us and take each day at a time. Nice knowing you, Maternity Leave.

Posted: August 25th, 2011
Categories: Leah
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