The Connection Runners + working mom

Reflections on The First Week Back

Well, I survived.

I spent five whole days in my classroom surrounded by 120+ teenagers, a.k.a., five whole days away from the child I'd been with, morning, noon and night, for 13 weeks, and I lived to tell you all about it.

Or, at least mostly about it, in what will be a fun, bolded list of crap I learned while venturing out for my first week as a working mom.

"The anticipation is much worse than the reality," so said my work friend Jenn, and thus is the truth. For 13 weeks, my soul died a little every time I merely thought of sitting at my work desk or when attempting to remember my work email password.

To say the least, Easter was bittersweet. I chomped on candy and snuggled an 11.5-week-old peanut in a party dress and tried to savor it all because I knew the next day I'd be shoveling in my lunch and only getting to see C when she flashed up on my computer's desktop.

(My new work computer desktop photo. Beat that, Microsoft Windows default desktop screen photos from a thousand years ago because our district hasn't updated us from Windows 2000 yet. I know. Ridiculous.)

However, that ominous next day wasn't terrible. In fact, it was kind of nice. The students were returning from Spring Break, so they, too, appeared bleary-eyed and not quite ready to jump back into the swing of it all. So we took the week nice and easy, and their teenagerness (appearing in such things like this line from a poem: "my fingers become one with the chicken") actually distracted me from worrying about Charlotte too much.

On the other hand, pumping at work during my lunch and plan hour has been not so much fun. (But really, when is pumping ever fun?) It's tough enough fitting in the things I need to do each day (eat, check email, make copies, grade, clean up classroom, take care of yearbook business) during these "free" times, but adding in 15-20 minutes of pumping, storing, and cleaning up sure takes a precious bite out of my precious student-free time.

Oh, and just when you think pumping during work couldn't get more awkward, try doing it when you live in fear of someone entering your classroom at any given moment. It's like the greatest thrill ever; Michael Bay should probably make a movie about it.

But I keep doing it so that Charlotte can reap the bennies while she's at daycare. Surprisingly, seeing her off to someone else's care for the day wasn't too terrible, especially since Kevin does the morning drop-off. I only had to kiss her snoozing face on Monday morning, and then she was gone, no tears from me.

Plus, getting to pick her up in the afternoons gives the day some light, and when 2:40 rolls around, I shoot out to the staff parking lot faster than my sophomores can send a text, ready to pick up a generally happy baby C.

We get home with a few hours to hang out before Kevin arrives home, which leaves me more than enough time to do important things like restock the diaper bag, eat handfuls of chocolate Mini Wheats (dude, sooo good), sing songs with C, feed her again, prepare dinner, and catch up with Reza's mustache on Bravo.

While it's been difficult to carve out a new schedule just when we were getting used to the "old" one, I'm actually about 75% happy to be back to work now. Working provides structure, which I adore, not to mention a reason to apply makeup and don a pair of brand-new Gap khakis.

But don't for a second think that I'm not counting down to June 14, when the final bell will ring, and I'll get to spend 10 more weeks with my favorite homegirl.

Hope you all had a fabulous week! Tell me about something that struck your fancy this Monday through Friday.

Charlotte's World, confessions, HAPPY, HOPE, and more:

Reflections on The First Week Back + working mom