From the very first second that I had my son, I was convinced that I did not want to return to work. There was absolutely no way that I could ever leave him and I would cry whenever I thought about it. I vividly remember being 1 week postpartum, sobbing while I stared at him. I would be off for 11 more weeks, but work hung over my head like a dark cloud.
As my return to work got closer, my anxiety about leaving him only got worse. I believe we had only had someone watch him for a collective 8 hours over the 3 months that I was off, so leaving him for an entire DAY seemed impossible. My mother-in-law had graciously offered to watch him full time for us, but it didn’t ease my worries. It just didn’t seem natural to have someone else caring for my baby and you could not convince me otherwise. Like Amanda C., other moms told me that it would get better, but I honestly didn’t believe them! I planned to go back for however long I was obligated to and then leave.
My first day back came and went. I cried on the way to drop him off. I cried on the way to work. I cried at work. My boss let me leave early, so that I could ease back into things.
My second day came and went. Then my third. Before too long, we had a pretty solid routine. I enjoyed the adult interaction and putting on real clothes. It made me enjoy my time with my son even more, because our time together was cut so short during the week.
Fast forward two years: my maternity leave with my daughter is almost over. Time flies once you have a baby but, wow, time REALLY flies when you have two. Chaos will do that, I guess! My mindset is completely different this time around. I wouldn’t say I’m exactly looking forward to returning to work, but that sense of dread that I had with my son isn’t there. I’m not obsessing over how I’m going to explain her routine to new caregivers, or whether or not she will nap, or any of the other million things I stressed about before. I almost feel a twinge of guilt because I’m not that upset. Mom guilt is a strange beast, isn’t it? I now know that things will work out just fine. We have a daycare that we love and my MIL is anxiously waiting to have two babies to spoil instead of one on the other days. I know that if her nap schedule gets messed up (well, she doesn’t really have a schedule, but let’s pretend she does- ha!) it is not the end of the world. I’m not worried that I will miss out on things or that she won’t love me as much because I know that nothing can break the bond between a mama and her babies. I know that the first time I see my baby do something is the first time for me and that it is just as special. And honestly? I’m excited to have some time where I don’t have two little people needing every single piece of me all hours of the day.
My daughter may not get the same mom that my son got, but I think she almost gets the better end of the deal. She gets the mama that is more confident and more calm. She gets the one who knows that taking care of herself is just as important as taking care of her and for that, everyone will be happier.
I can’t wait to get my first little footprint art project (seriously, no one does a good hand/footprint like daycare!) and I can’t wait to see your gummy smile when I pick you up after work. I can’t wait to see how you grow, learn and develop friendships. I feel blessed that I am able to leave you with people that I know will take the very best care of you.
The past several weeks have flown by, but I know that we have a whole lifetime of memories to make yet.
We hope our stories resonate with some of you mama’s out there! We are hoping to continue this transition series with stories of other mom’s- if you are interested in collaborating, please reach out to us!
-Amanda + Amanda