One of the nice things about having a second child is the chance to look back and realize that some of things you thought during your first round of parenting were just plain wrong, based on your extremely small sample size (n=1!) and parenting hubris.
For instance, when Pumpkin was a baby, I never really understood why so many working mothers felt that they didn't get enough time with their babies. Pumpkin started her day at 5 a.m., and went to bed at about 8. I left for work at 7:40 a.m., and picked her up from day care at about 4:45 p.m.. Even disregarding the multiple middle of the night wake-up calls, I felt like I spent a lot of time playing with her.
Petunia has been sleeping until about 6 or 6:30 a.m. Pumpkin bounds out of bed at about the same time most days. I leave for work at 7:45 a.m. on good days, 8 a.m. on the majority of days. The time between waking up and leaving for work is a whirlwind of activity, during which two adults try to get themselves and a toddler ready for the day. Petunia nurses a couple of times and produces a few dirty diapers, but mostly just sits in her bouncy chair and watches the chaos swirl around her. Petunia currently stays at home during the day*- she was with Hubby on my work days in January, and is with my parents for the month of February now that Hubby and I are both back at work full time. I leave work at 4:30 p.m. and drive to day care to pick Pumpkin up. We get home between 5:15 and 5:30. I have time to nurse Petunia, but then I need to start dinner, and by the time we're finished with dinner, Petunia is heading for bed. She goes to sleep between 6:30 and 7:00 most nights, sometimes staying awake until 7:30 if her afternoon nap ran late.
Tonight, she fell asleep not long after 6:30. I had just nursed her, and she was well and truly out. But I didn't put her down right away. I wanted just a few more minutes holding my sweet baby.
Of course, today was the first Monday I've worked since Petunia was born. I'll get used to our new routine. We still have weekends, but those are really pretty chaotic, too, since we also have a toddler to entertain. I genuinely like working, but I'm still a bit wistful about the sudden decrease in baby snuggling time. I keep reminding myself that (1) I would be a lousy stay at home mom and (2) even if I were a stay at home mom, I wouldn't get that much baby snuggle time- see the comment above about entertaining a toddler.
So really, the problem isn't that I work. It is that Petunia is my second baby, and the first baby is now an intense, funny little toddler, while Petunia is a very easy-going, smiley baby. I think it will all work out, though. Petunia does stick up for herself and demand our attention sometimes. She often fusses when she's in her swing at dinnertime. If one of us picks her up and holds her on our lap, she calms right down, even before Pumpkin starts pulling funny faces and making funny noises to try to elicit a laugh. I think Petunia just wants to be part of the family dinner. I can't begrudge her that, even if it means that I scarf down my meal, and/or eat it one handed, while balancing Petunia on my lap. In fact, I think family dinner may become a favorite time of day.
*The experienced day care parents are now nodding knowingly and observing to themselves that all of this will change when Petunia starts day care. They are right. She'll probably nap in the car on the way home from day care, and move her bedtime later. I may be the only working parent in history to actually think this will be a good thing.