When I tell people that I'm taking 12 weeks off to stay home with the kid, the most common reaction by far is along the lines of "that's so great that your company lets you do that!" Which is kind of an odd reaction, considering that it's the law; my company (and probably your company, too) has to let me take leave. If it were truly up to them, they wouldn't.
It's unpaid leave, but I wanted the time off more than I wanted the money. Because being home with Violet is great. It's much better than working. Sure, she can be demanding on occasion, but so can my job. And my job isn't as rewarding.
Oddly enough, I think I'm getting less done around the house than I did when I was working. Violet's "down time" (when I'm not actively feeding, bathing, changing, walking, or playing with her) is maddeningly unpredictable. I can't say there's not enough of it; it's just that when she goes to sleep and/or plays happily alone, I never know if it's going to be for ten minutes or three hours. So I never know if I can finish what I want to start. And yet I feel like I have an infinite amount of time. So nothing feels urgent.
And now all of a sudden it's 5pm. And it's Friday. I should start dinner.
(The lovely father-daughter moment captured at right is of Violet's first dip in the ocean. We went to Jones Beach on her third-month birthday and it was a smashing success. We must do it again. And indeed we are, a week from Sunday, just before my birthday. Are you joining us?)
(Yesterday, I took her to her first mall - plus it was the first time I've driven her anywhere by myself. We survived. And now that she's been to the beach and the mall, she's a true Long Island girl.)