Returning to Work After Maternity Leave

As my maternity leave was coming to an end I shared several times on Instagram how I was feeling about leaving Avery for the first time.  Now I've officially made it through 2 full weeks back at work and wanted to share what it's been like for other moms worried about the transition.

Staying Positive 

For most of us, we kiiiind of need our jobs in order to support our lives and so returning was inevitable.  I tried to think of all the positives:
- Seeing my friends (I work with some of the best people!)
- 8+ hours without smelling a dirty diaper
- Using my brain for more than calculating how many hours it's been since the last bottle
- Paycheck :)
- Getting back into the swing of things at my dream job that I worked my butt off for 5 years to earn my engineering degree to get the job

If you're a mom then you know that nothing can compare to being with your baby, and so even with all the good stuff - it's still sad to think about being away from your precious new gift and missing out on their days.  I loved seeing every single thing that Avery did and getting to be the first to see her discover new things she could do and snuggling her during naps and seeing her sweet smile.

I'm extremely lucky that my mom is watching A for me while I'm at work, so I know she is 100% taken care of and happy with her Grandma!  Plus I can get updates and pictures any time!

One Day At A Time

Day 1 - I think the first day back was a little bit like the first day of school.  I was excited to see everyone and catch up, I got to wear some of my cute work clothes that have been out of commission since I was about 4 months pregnant.  I was proud of myself for not shedding a tear (eyes got watery saying by but no tears fell).  All day though I was thinking about getting to pick Avery up.

Day 2 - Cried on the way there, cried at my desk, cried to Brian all night about how I just can't do this.  So much for being strong, huh?  The second day lost all of the allure of the first and I was hit with the realization that this was my new norm - not being with my baby.

Day 3 - I'm SO lucky that my job allows me to work from home occasionally so since I was still getting back into project work I didn't have any meetings and could work from home.  Since my mom has Avery I was able to give her hugs during breaks and on my lunch hour.

Day 4/5 - No more tears except in the evenings talking with Brian.  I felt myself getting adjusted back and settling into a routine.

Day 6 - Monday #2.  I bawled my eyes out dropping her off, all the way to work, pulled myself together enough to get to my desk but ended up in the bathroom trying to stop the tears.  I think getting to have the weekend together made it that much harder to leave again.

Part of the problem is that, like with anything, our pesky memories only remember the best parts.  So when you're sitting at work thinking about being home with your baby, you're not envisioning her screaming her head off or changing poopy diapers.  Not to say that I don't somehow still enjoy those moments with her (it's a mom thing) but I'm just saying that being at home isn't all sunshine and rainbows but somehow we remember it to be that way when we're away.

Days 7-10 - Again feeling like we're settling into a routine and further accepting that this is life now.  I've been able to start enjoying work.  It sounds bad but it helps a lot to just not think about being at home with Avery.  I don't let myself reminisce on our 4 months home together but I do love talking about her to others and getting pictures and updates from my mom.

If you work with other moms everyone will tell you it gets better.  I don't think I would use that word, not yet anyways, I would say "you get used to it".

Today (my 2nd Friday) was a good day - I got to go out to lunch with my team and it's a 3 day weekend.  I am EXHAUSTED but seeing my baby girl's smiles somehow brings me back to life (that and caffeine, lots of caffeine).  I am so ready for the weekend and non-stop snuggles, I may not sleep tonight and just hold her all night long (JK momma needs her sleep!).

So that's where we are.  I'd love to know your experience and am happy to answer any questions you have about mine.  If you don't work with any other new moms know I'm here for you, there are Facebook groups you can join, and tons of other bloggers out there who I'm sure are like me and would be happy to connect and commiserate with you!

And to the other moms going through it - you're not alone.  But you're so strong and you CAN do this!  Know that it's all you - baby is totally fine and won't remember any of this anyways.  Go easy on yourself and try to find the good in each day (I read a really sad story last night about a couple who lost their baby at 22 weeks pregnant and this morning driving to work I just felt intense gratitude for the fact that I have a baby to miss while I'm at work).  Take it one day at a time (and on the tough days one hour at a time).


No comments