One Year Later: Heading Back to Work

Confession: I’m terrified to go back to work.

For the past year, the majority of my brain power has gone to making up songs about diaper changes, coercing K to eat, and reading every article about infant sleep I could get my hands on. I haven’t been thinking about government policies, or third party billing, or whether the decisions I made could cost someone thousands of dollars. I’m worried about my mommy brain getting back into the swing of things. I’m worried about having something interesting to talk about with my coworkers. And I’m worried about how I’m going to get in the car in the morning and drive to work, knowing that K is spending her days with someone else.

I have only ever wanted to be a mom. That’s one of the reasons infertility hit me so hard; I’ve never really had career aspirations or a deep desire to advance within a company. My dream was to be a mom, and to be able to stay home with my kids in the way my mom was able to be there for me. And yet, that isn’t a reality. Maybe someday, but for now, we need my salary.

I enjoy my job; I appreciate a day of hard work. I know that there are mamas who thrive being at work, and their time away from little ones is the best thing for everyone. I wish I were that person. I wish I loved to work, and I wish I had a career I was passionate about. But for the last year I’ve been spending my days with a sweet little girl who has stolen my heart. And it is breaking me in two knowing I have to leave her.

I’ll survive. It will take a week or two, I’m sure, but then we will settle into our new normal. I have the utmost respect for moms who had to go back to work much sooner than I did; your strength is impressive.

So as I pack up the sweet little owl backpack with everything K will need for her day, I’m sure a few tears will fall. I’ll give her extra kisses before she heads out the door with J, and I’ll spend a few minutes sitting in her rocking chair before I head to work. And when the first patient welcomes me back from maternity leave, I’ll pull out my phone to show off some photos. It will be hard, I know. But I’ll be back at work to help K have her best life. We’ll be able to afford trips to the zoo, and special ice cream treats on the weekends. And I’ll make sure to be extra-present during the time I do have with her.

Did you have a hard time going back to work, or were you looking forward to it? Any advice for a weepy first-time mama?

3 thoughts on “One Year Later: Heading Back to Work

  1. It was hard going to back to work. What made it easier for me was that we had a soft landing for Paxlet before he fully started. The morning I officially started work? He crawled off and didn’t look back. I laughed and cried!
    Some days will be harder than others, but kids are resilient. Also, most crying is done in the first 2-3 minutes of you leaving. 🙂

  2. My parents watched G when I had to go back to work. My mom would email me during G’s afternoon nap with updates on when/how much he ate and slept and what they did that day. I know that may not always be an option, but it helped me (also helped me keep to a routine he was familiar with on weekends).

    I soon saw work as a break. I also was never career oriented. Being a mom was all I wanted. But it was nice to be able to talk to adults (most of the ones I worked with had babies too, which was nice) and eat breakfast or drink a coffee without being interrupted. I miss that being a SAHM 🙂 though, my favorite part of the work day was picking G up and seeing how excited he was to see me! Melted my heart each time.

    It’ll take a few weeks like you said, but you will get used to the routine. I think parents take it harder than the kids do. G sometimes cries when we leave him with the in-laws, but we are told he perks up within a couple minutes of us leaving and doesn’t always want to leave when we pick him up.

  3. Yep, I was totally that mama who didn’t want to go back to work and leave my little girl. I live in the States and how I wished I had lived in Canada before the baby. I considered quitting because I just couldn’t shake off the idea of leaving my baby. Fortunately I was able to extend my 12 weeks another 4 weeks with some minor HR issues and was also able to work out a work from home plan with my boss. So that bought me another 4 months being close to my baby. Long story short…we had convinced my mom to be B’s full time nanny. First day back in the office, some tears when saying bye, lots of kisses…but once I’m in…lots of ppl to talk with, work to be done, it wasn’t bad as I imagined. My mom was also sending me lots of pictures and updates. I feel very lucky the situation turned out well. I do enjoy my job and yes I do enjoy my morning coffee run, having lunch chitchatting with coworkers and not having to rush through it.
    Rest assure your daughter will always remember her mama even after a long day of fun at daycare or with grandma. It’s been 10 months since I officially gone back into the office, and just today when I open the door, my beautiful daughter (now 19 months!) Is there to greet me and wants nobody else.but me to hold her. Feeling special 🙂
    Give yourself some time to adjust and do it gradually if possible at all (like getting lots of updates and/or pictures from daycare?) I found that helped me stay connected with her during the first week back. I still ask for pictures to this day! Hope it works out for you!

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