Mom Truths: Returning to Work After the Birth of a Baby
One of the hardest things about adjusting to life with a newborn for me personally, was returning to work after my maternity leave ended. With all three of my boys, shortly after returning to work I felt quite depressed. I hated the unwanted advice I received from others, such as “It will get easier” or “It's not quantity time; it's quality time.”.
There isn't a day that goes by that I wonder what impact having the boys at daycare has on them, especially during these first few years. My youngest baby is now 11- months-old and I still get sad at drop off. I hate missing out on all the everyday moments during the week day.
It turns out I'm not alone in these feelings of sadness and frustration.
“I went back to work when my daughter was 7 weeks old, like many moms. It was so tough to leave her … she still was so small! We were just really getting the hang of things! It was also tough going back to a job that I was not crazy about before maternity leave. When I had to go back, I realized it was definitely not the job for me. I dreaded going in every day, and not just because of leaving my baby. I decided that if I did have to leave my baby daughter to work and help provide for our family (as we definitely need two incomes), it wasn't going to be to go to a job that I absolutely despised. So I started looking for a new job. Partially because of that stress, I also had a really hard time with keeping up nursing after I went back to work. We had a perfect symbiotic relationship while I was home with her, but my supply slowly diminished despite my best efforts when I went back to work.
“Luckily, I now have a job that's a much better fit, though in a perfect world, I'd still much rather be doing other things or working only part time. It was pretty scary for me to be looking for a new job with a tiny baby at home, but I knew that I really needed to do it for my sanity and my family's.
“It's a really tough thing to leave your baby in the hands of another caretaker so that you can go earn money to keep your family afloat. Somehow it seems just wrong in the whole scheme of things. Shouldn't you be able to stay home and take care of your family? Why does it have to be this way? Unforunately that's the way it is for so many families today, so if you are having those feelings just know that you are not alone.”
“We hired a babysitter we found online after meeting and interviewing her. I had knots in my stomach and waves of nausea when I dropped off our baby for the first time. I couldn't stop thinking ‘What in the WORLD am I doing leaving the most important, vulnerable, fragile thing in my life with a complete stranger who doesn't even LOVE him?' I cried as I drove away. Initially, that was the hardest thing, but with time it got easier. The separation from my baby continued to be difficult but I grew to trust the sitter and she grew to love my son. Drop-off was much easier with our second son but I've never stopped missing my boys and they are now 3 & 4 years old.”
Candice is a full time working mama, who blogs about her boys' latest antics at Mommy In the Midwest.
“I was lucky (if you want to call it that) to stay home with Paige until she was just over 9 months old. When I did start work, it was tough. I work in a car dealership and training can be brutal. I jumped right in to 40+ hours a week. Weekends and nights were mine because of my ‘newbie' status. I didn't know how I would do with working after being there for everything with Paige. With some finagling, I was still an involved mom even if my job and commute had me gone for so much time.
“My tips and tricks for new parents (and next time for myself):
– Spend time at the daycare. Don't just go to meet the provider and spend less than an hour there. Bring your child while other kids are there, see how they interact. Don't be afraid to ask questions.
– I also made sure to send extras [of necessary items]. If I forgot something on my way out the door, I didn't have to stress about going back to get it.
– Our daycare provider (someone I've known for 15+ years) had us send in pictures of us and family members. They would pull them out every so often and Paige could ‘see' us even though we weren't there.
– Disconnect. It sounds silly, and simple, but it was so important to me to soak up that time with Paige before/after daycare. I left my phone in the bedroom or would power it off. This went for my time with the husband as well.
– My last tip. I got two days off. As much as I wanted to do something special and really enjoy that time with Paige by being out and doing something/going somewhere, it was important for us both to keep to a similar routine (nap times, meal/snack schedule).”
“Working mom. If you had asked me shortly before I married my husband if those two words would be on my resume the answer would have been no. Most of my adult life I pictured myself devoting my days to caring for my husband, children and home. Donna Reed would have been proud. I envisioned perfectly behaved children and a husband who came home to a put-together wife, balanced meal, and a well-tended home each day. Then my daughter, Evie, was born. Between a colicky baby who cried eighteen hours (or more) a day and a bout with severe PPD/A let's just say the mighty fell. I was lucky to make it through a day without breaking down and calling my husband sobbing, forget cleaning the house. Showering daily felt like Ahab's white whale; would I ever accomplish it again?
“When maternity leave ended and it came time to return to my place in the work force I was shocked when, instead of mournful, I felt peaceful. When the day before her first day at daycare came I prepared her bottles, her bag of diapers, extra clothes and wipes. I set out her outfit for the next morning and wondered how drop off would go. When my husband and I dropped her off the next morning I hugged her extra tight, told her how much I loved her, kissed her sweet chubby cheeks, and walked back to my car. I teared up briefly and felt waves of panic rise. I prayed a quick prayer, bit the inside of my cheek and reminded myself that I knew these people. I trusted these people. I drove to work without a single tear shed.
“I've been beyond lucky since that day to have a place that my daughter loves to go to each day. It is filled with women who adore my child, and it shows in the relationship Evie has with her teachers. I also have a boss who, being a father, not only supports but also encourages a healthy work life balance. If my child is sick, if she has a school function, if I feel like I need a day to spend with her my boss tells me that Evie is most important, to go and be with my daughter. That is priceless. As we await the arrival of our second child in July I can only hope that my transition back to work will be as easy. I no longer dream of being a stay at home mother, at least not full time. When my children are in school I'd like to revisit the idea of staying home part time. I'd like to attend school field trips, be room mom, coordinate bake sales and be there for every event, but I now know that working outside the home is where I am meant to be.”
Sara is a working mom of a sweet toddler and pregnant with baby #2. You can find her blogging at It's a Vol.
Did you return to work after having a baby? How did you handle the transition?Read More