I know a lot of mommas who just recently had babies. (What was in the water!?!??!) And a couple of those mommas will be returning to work shortly. And some are brand new to mommy-hood. I’m not going to lie…going back to work is not easy…with your first child or your third.
It’s hard whether you choose to go back or, due to your financial situation, you have to go back. Either way, this post is not about making that choice. This is not about deciding whether or not to be a stay-at-home mom (keep those comments to YOURSELF). This is for after that decision has been made and the return-to-work-day is creeping up on you.
This is the letter I can now sit down and write to myself…if only I would have had it 6 years ago. I refer to daycare, because that was the plan we chose. I’m sure you can insert “sitter” and relate as well. These are things I wish someone would have said to me out loud over and over, or at least told me louder, more repetitively or when I was more awake right before that first day back:
Your maternity leave is almost up. You are exhausted, excited, anxious, nervous, scared, feeling guilty, confused, worrying how on earth you can return to work right now…all at the same time. And it’s ok.
You are not a bad mom for going back to work.
Daycare is not an evil place. Daycare teachers are loving and caring individuals.
There is no ONE right daycare for everyone.
You are not a bad mom for
kinda sorta really wanting to go back to work.
You will cry a lot the
night day week before you return to work.
You will not drop off the baby for the first full day at daycare and that’s ok. You are not a wimp. You are not a bad mom. You did not abandon her. Her daddy is totally capable of drop-off and she is in great hands with her caregiver.
You will sometimes have a moment or two at work when she will not be first on your mind. That’s also ok. Just don’t forget to pick her up after work.
The first few weeks are the roughest and toughest.
Some co-workers will resent the time you were away. Others will ask every detail and want to see every picture.
Some mornings you will not be able to get away from her fast enough with the thought of a peaceful cubicle and cup of caffeine and adult chatter awaiting you. It’s ok.
You will eventually get into a good routine.
You will think, “Heck, this is doable. This is easy.”
Then that routine will be ruined by one bad night due to illness, a late work event, a difficult project, etc. And some moments will seem harder than others. You will want to throw in the towel.
You will want to sleep in your cubicle. You will find yourself not paying attention in meetings. It will be hard to focus. You will wonder what happened to your super-star self.
However, the sleep deprivation gets better. You learn how to function on less…less sleep, less energy, less motivation…
And then sleep will return and you will get back into a great routine again. And work will be exciting and fulfilling again.
But the cycle will continue. Over and over through ear infections, teething, strep, vomit, etc.
And you will get NOTHING accomplished while working from home with a sick baby.
In the end, you will not regret going back to work. And you will actually work longer than you expected.
You are a great mom.
Much love and good luck,
What advice or insights do you have for
a mom going back to work after maternity leave?
And check back later this week for my list of why daycare was awesome.