Hold On, Hold On To Yourself…

When The Princess was eight weeks old, I had to return to work after a (too short) maternity leave. I remember leaving the house the first morning, after making Hubby take her to the sitter’s because I knew I couldn’t bear to. I was in tears, and sobbed all the way to work, in disbelief that I had to leave my baby with someone who was not me. In my CD player on repeat was Sarah McLachlan’s “Freedom Sessions” (yes, I listen to chick music — or as Hubby calls it “man-hater music”), and the song on repeat was “Hold On”.

The song is not about a mom. The song is not about kids. It’s not about a mom leaving her kids with a sitter for the first time. Nope, not one tiny bit. But all I could hear were the lyrics, “Hold on, hold on to yourself, for this is gonna hurt like hell.” And it did. Leaving The Princess with a sitter just hurt me.

I was never one of those women who wanted to be a stay-at-home mom. Before The Princess was born, I thought about how bored I would be on maternity leave, sitting around with a baby. I’d had foot surgery a few years before and the week I was home about killed me – channel surfing between “Jerry Springer” and “The Price Is Right”. That was not the life I wanted, that is for sure.

When The Princess was born, though, it was different. Yes, I was home on leave, but I wasn’t alone. And I wasn’t bored. For eight weeks, it was just me and my baby home every day. We’d go for walks, I’d talk to her, I’d sing her songs (badly and off-key, but with a mother’s love), and we would dance around the living room. It was an amazing time, and when those eight weeks were up, I was devastated.

This time around, after the birth of Pumpkin, I had still planned to return to work. Financially, I thought it was the best decision, but I figured I would take a longer leave. As the end of my leave approached, I realized I wasn’t ready. I realized I wanted to be home. I was really digging my time with my two girls, and I didn’t want to farm them off to daycare full-time so I could “bring home the bacon”.

Through a weird set of circumstances, I am now working from home. Pumpkin is home with me everyday, and The Princess gets her dose of other kids to play with twice weekly at daycare. Though I sometimes get frustrated, sleep deprived, or just plain loco, I wouldn’t have things any other way. The Princess, always a daddy’s girl, has started choosing me over dad more often. For so long, he was #1 and I was a second-class citizen to her – it’s nice to have her give me hugs, or tell me her favorite part of her day was something that we had done together. And Pumpkin – at four months, she knows me and her sister better than anyone else – if I can’t console her, The Princess can. In daycare, the girls wouldn’t get to spend nearly as much time together as they do when they are with me.

Wednesday, Pumpkin fell asleep against my chest, andThe Princess curled up next to us on the couch with her arms wrapped around mine and her little body snuggled next to me. The three of us fell asleep on the couch – Pumpkin wheezing, The Princess snoring. Being so close to my kids made me realize that even though I hadn’t left the house, or done my hair, or done anything “important” (as far as the working world is concerned), my day was most certainly complete, and that my job was more important than anything else I’d ever brought home a paycheck for.

About sarah

Sarah is a book nerd, a music lover, an endorphin junkie, a coffee addict. Oh, and a goof ball. She writes, she tweets, and she sings off key.


  1. This is a precious story. When my son was born I couldn’t bring myself to go back to work and decided to stay home with him. When my daughter was born two years later, I stayed home until she was two, then my dad, trying to help, told me about a new job opening at the school and went with me to get it, and it seemed I had no say in it, so I went back. I cried everytime I left her, and I still feel pain when I think about it.

  2. That is sucha cute way of saying “stay at home moms” jobs are the most rewarding! They really are – even with the headaches, lack of sleep, patience testing… at the end of the day, it’s all worth it!

  3. Right now, Pumpkin is curled up in my arms and I’m just chilling. You know, I see both sides of it all – I’ve been a working mom, and though I technically still am, I’m more of a stay-at-home-mom these days. I know why women work. I also know why they stay home. There’s no right or wrong, or a standard that fits to everyone… but for me, this is working. Pumpkin finally rolled over yesterday and I was so grateful that I was there – if I was working outside the home full time, I’d have probably missed it.

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