Back to reality

So this funny thing happened where I blinked my eyes, and my just-born baby turned 12 weeks old.

She's grown up so much already! (image credit: E. Gonzalez)
She’s grown up so much already! (image credit: E. Gonzalez)

You know what that means – breastfeeding just got easier!  She just got really good at holding her head up!  I just gained the ability to put her down for more than 5 seconds!  Aaaaand I’m heading back to work.  Actually, at the time that this post goes live, I’ll be exactly 30 minutes into my first day back on the job.


I don’t quite know how to feel about it.  With my first, I was overwhelmed and weepy.  I just didn’t see how I could make it all work.  As it turned out, it ended up being really good for me.  Returning to work helped me feel like myself again and truly made me a better mom.  But there’s something about having a second baby – everything is just more complicated now.  My emotions are everywhere.

I am happy.  Hooray for daily makeup and blow dried hair!  I can choose outfits without considering whether the fabric can be barfed on or whether they are convenient for nursing!  I get to revive the parts of my brain that have started to atrophy!  I’ll mostly smell good!  There will be two 12-minute periods each day when I will be in the car ALONE!  I could even run into Trader Joe’s by myself on the way home or – gasp – grab a Starbuck’s on the way to work!  Squeeee!!!

I am sad.  Granted, the beginning of my maternity leave was incredibly hard, but I have so enjoyed my kids over the last few weeks.  I’ll miss being home with them during the day, going on daily walks, napping in bed with the baby, lounging around in jammies with my toddler.  In general, I’ll miss how unhurried we’ve been for the last few months.  Life is about to be driven by deadlines and pick-up times, which I think is just a sad way to have to live.

I am angry.  Maternity leave is bullshit.  My “maternity leave” was just my employer allowing me to use my sick days, and since I’ve only worked in this particular school district for two years, I had barely enough to cover the six paid weeks I’m allotted.  And now I’m returning with something like 1.5 sick days for the year!  Plus, who decided that it’s ok for moms and babies to be separated after just 12 weeks?  The way she gazes at me, I just know she’s not meant to be away from me yet.

I am worried.  My job is very busy and demanding.  Will I have time to pump what my baby needs?  When the stress ramps up, will my milk supply drop?  The baby’s early morning nap after her 5:00 or 6:00 wake-up has been my saving grace lately.  How am I going to function without that?  I don’t foresee myself being able to do much work at home, if any.  Will I be able to meet my deadlines?  Will I be able to fit in blogging?  Will I have time to connect with my mom friends?  I could go on and on.

I feel guilty.  While these last few weeks have been really necessary nice for my family, I don’t think I could be a full-time stay-at-home-mom.  I think I would be miserable, the kids would be bored, the house would still be a mess, and we’d still eat mac and cheese for dinner.  I sometimes wish I was one of those moms who wanted desperately to stay home with my kids and would do anything to make it work.  I feel guilty that I’m not more conflicted about returning to my job.

I am proud.  In trying to make me feel better about starting back, I’ve been told by a number of people that I’m setting a good example for my girls by working.  I agree, but only because working is, in the end, MY choice.  All I want for my girls is for them to be able to follow their hearts and choose their own paths in life.  It does feel good to set that example for them, even if it is sometimes very hard to balance it all.  Most of all, I am incredibly proud of the family my husband and I have created, and I truly cannot imagine two more special creatures in the world than my beautiful girls.

Me and my little ladies. (image credit: E. Gonzalez)
Me and my little ladies. (image credit: E. Gonzalez)

7 thoughts on “Back to reality

  1. Aw, I love the comparison pictures of your baby! They change SO much and SO quickly. Hope this first week back is smooth sailing for all of you!


  2. I love that you say you’re “happy” and “sad” – I think that describes it perfectly. Such conflicting emotions. This is perfect.


  3. Good luck today! I loved this post–especially the part about going back to work being YOUR choice. Remember that when you are feeling overwhelmed. You work because you want to, you’re great at your job, and you love the example you are setting for your girls. Everything will fall into place–including that important work piece. Our glorious summer vacation will be here in a blink–10 lazy weeks to enjoy a happy infant and fun toddler. 🙂


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