One Year Later: My Return-to-Work Reflections

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It's been a full year back at work after maternity leave. It's both hard to believe and easy to see how a year has gone by. Last year leading up to my return to work, I had a few bouts with anxiety. I'd never really experienced it in my adult life so it felt weird and unwelcome, for sure. 

Honestly, I thought my world was crashing and I did not want to return to work. I was scared S would forget about me and would love me less. That he would favor his dad. And that I was making a mistake. I brainstormed ways to work from home (mama still needs her money!) but ultimately, I made a plan, got dressed and went back. 

Aside from a few first day tears, it went rather seamlessly. And I've grown more confident in our family decision since. 

Here are some reflections I have one year later:

  1. It's still hard to part in the mornings. 
Some mornings are easy breezy while others are more difficult. The less emotional S is when we part, the better our "see you laters" go. If I leave to work while my husband is still home or if they both leave for my parents' house and I stay back, it's no problem. 

If I leave for work from my parents' house, he wants to come with. So, my mom bundles him up and we all wait for the bus, which he loves, together. Basically, we've found our ways to minimize the morning tantrums and it makes me feel 10x better. 

I still miss him every second we're apart but I've come to terms with it and reconcile it with the fact that I simply love him very much. Heck, I sometimes even miss him when he's asleep next to me. 

  1. I truly believe the time apart works in our favor. 
Time to myself and adult interaction is key to my self care. Fortunately, I enjoy my job and like my co-workers, so I don't dread my time at work. I actually look forward to returning after long stretches away from my office. 

I also think S benefits from spending time with others. I believe it makes him more social and less anxious to be apart from us (I dealt with this whenever I had to be apart from my SAHM.) And the hellos after a day at work are so special--he usually runs up to me and says "Hi Mama!" with a big smile and hug. It makes me realize he loves me just the same

  1. I am happy to be able to do what I love and help provide for my family so we can live the life we do. 
While I miss moments with S while I'm at work, I know our family is able to experience things we wouldn't otherwise be able to if I stayed home. That's just the nature of life, the cost of living in NYC and the cost of travel, as well as the life we want to give ourselves and our kids. 

My husband and I are often discussing what city or continent we want to visit next, home ownership, and other things that require --at least at the moment-- two salaries. We do discuss the prospect of me staying home sometime in the future but I don't think I ever would full-time. 

The truth is I'm a nerd--I yearn for challenges, new opportunities and ongoing learning... So, I believe I will always work in some capacity. 

  1. It wouldn't be possible without the support of my mom, who watches S, which eases my nerves tenfold. 
Leaving S home with my mom is a blessing. I am able to leave with no worries about his care and know he is in good hands. It helps me to know she's supportive of my career goals. I give her so many kudos for spending all day chasing a toddler in her "retiree" years. But I know she and S enjoy their time together very much. And I know they'll be closer than I ever was or have been to any of my grandparents due to the time they spend together. 

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Not so ironically, I wrote this on my way to work. I left S with his daddy and as they both sad "bye!" I felt not one tinge of guilt for walking out the door. It feels liberating to be free of the immense working mom guilt I once carried around. 

I hope any new working moms who feel guilty will also be free of that guilt, sooner rather than later. Our babies are resilient--and proud of us. Plus, they love us to no end regardless of our time at work. 

We are mama. Whether together or apart. For always and always. 


2 comments

  1. I love this! I love that you are able to pull positives from going back to work! You are awesome!

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  2. I like your perspective on this so much! I can't wait to see where you two travel to next!

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