Linking up with Kristin this afternoon for Baby Talk!
I was fortunate enough to have a longer than average maternity leave – I was out for 15 weeks. My company takes pride in helping women succeed, and this is definitely one of the perks. While I was skeptical at first that I might get sick of being at home, it turned out to be great to spend so much time getting to know my girl.
We also were able to find and in-home daycare close to where we live and Chris works. Our sitter watches four other kids, but Abbie is the only infant – the rest are toddlers and up. She also was completely willing to use our cloth diapers, which was a big deal for me. There are no laws in Virginia saying providers have to take them, so I had been really concerned we would have had to do disposables at daycare. I’m really comfortable with where Abbie is during the day and I know she’s in great hands.
That didn’t make last week any easier.
Chris is handling dropping Abbie off and picking her up, but I felt like I needed to go the first day. We arrived and I was SO emotional. I had so many irrational fears – Is she going to miss me and be sad? Will she eat enough? Will she nap? Will she forget about her mommy? I told you – IRRATIONAL. Finally I gave her a million kisses and we left – with me in tears. I already missed her so much and we were just in the parking lot! Thank goodness I waited to get to work to put on my makeup – it would have been gone!
Once I got to work, it was easier. I texted to check in every so often, but Abbie was doing fine. She did go on a bit of a hunger strike the first day – she only took 4 ounces all day – and of formula. (I had sent both breast milk and formula. It killed me to have to toss the breast milk when she got home that night!) Needless to say, it was a long day. I beat Chris home, and was waiting by the door when he got there. Good thing, because Abbie was really hungry!
After that, the week got even easier. Chris and I leave about the same time, but now I say goodbye to Abbie at home, and it makes a big difference. We’ve partially solved the issue of not taking breastmilk, and found out that she has a preference for Avent bottles. The best part is that she comes home happy each day, and is so excited to see us.
So that’s our journey of going back to work thus far. Here are my tips for going back to work from maternity leave:
- Make sure you trust your provider. Whether you choose a home daycare like us, a center, a nanny, a relative – just make sure you do your research and you’re comfortable with your decision.
- If you’re emotional, you might want to have someone else handle drop-off. This has made a huge difference for me. It so much easier to say goodbye to her and home and have Chris drop her off.
- Know that there may be a little bit of a bumpy transition. We battled a hunger strike the first day, bottle preference, and Abbie refusing breast milk. Realize that this is an adjustment for your baby too – she’s used to being with you all day long!
- Be prepared. One thing I make sure to do is prep as much as I can the night before, so all we have to do in the morning is grab it and go. That means my lunch is packed, my breakfast is prepped (I usually have oatmeal so I measure out everything so it’s ready to cook in the morning), Abbie’s daycare bag is packed, and her bottles are ready to grab in the fridge. If we’re having something for dinner that requires prep, we try to do that too, whether it’s prepping a whole meal or just chopping meal and vegetables. (We had lasagna last night that I actually made on Sunday.) It’s a little more work at night, but it makes our mornings a lot easier. I also take my showers at night, so that helps too!
- Calm your irrational fears and guilt – everything will be okay! (And if it’s not, you can fix it!) In this day and age, a lot of moms work. Don’t feel guilty if you have to return to work, and don’t feel guilty for enjoying being there. You are making the best decision you can for your family and yourself. Some of us are working moms and some are stay-at-home moms – it doesn’t mean any of us love our kids any less. If you run into bumps in the road, things can always be adjusted – different bottles, supplementing, switching care providers. It’s important to trust your gut and do what you think is best – after all, you’re the mommy!
Don’t forget to link up with Kristin on Tuesdays!