✔ I care less about naps/sleep patterns. In fact, I couldn't tell you how many naps C typically takes. I know that's partially due to age, but I definitely had an idea of our "schedule" even at this age with A.
✔ I am in less of a hurry for things to be "normal" because I know how quickly they will change.
✔ I am (I think) less crazy about milk supply. I am putting in what I consider to be a reasonable pumping effort (daily morning pumps now, with >100oz banked in the freezer) but refuse to let it dominate my life/thought pattern as I did at some points with Annabel. While I am committed to breastfeeding (and I do enjoy the breastfeeding relationship, just as I did with A), I am also open to supplementing with formula as needed once I return to work, assuming that at some point may not be able to quite keep up with demand.
✔ On a related note, I am dreading pumping less and appreciate it as a break (!). Although I know it will be much more stressful at work.
✔ I feel confident about getting babysitters for some me time, or just to help provide some relaxed one-on-one time with A or C.
✔ I am okay with my body not being 100% "back" at this point. I am not saying I loooove every aspect of how I look (because I don't!), but I also have a calm sense of acceptance of what it is right now. I also don't see the point in making my own body a focus (ie, attempting to lose fat/increase muscle/drop a few vanity pounds) until I'm not responsible for most of C's nutrition. I'm honoring my breastfeeding hunger and enjoying it :) Again, I think this all comes down to acknowledging how temporary this stage really is: I see this phase as so transient that I might as well just settle in and enjoy it for the short haul. ✔ I am actually looking forward to work (using another part of my brain, the social aspects, getting into flow state) and feel good about this.
✔ I don't feel guilty about going back to work. Okay -- maybe a tiny bit, but nothing compared to how I felt dropping Annabel off at her first day of day care at 12 weeks. I feel very confident that my children are going to get really expert and loving care while I am gone.
✔ I know that I will be tired and that this will be challenging but I realize more that at least the sleep aspect will eventually get easier.
Last night we went out for Thai as a family of 4. 1 relatively quiet 7-week old, 1 well-behaved 2-year old, and 2 adults with actual meals consumed (including 1 glass of wine for each parent) and no crying? WIN.