As a working mom, returning to work after maternity leave is a time of major changes and major emotions. There are so many thoughts and feelings that go through my head, I wanted to chronicle it because, well, it may never happen again. I hope my journey can provide some comfort to other women that are going through the same thing. (This is the second post in this series, the first post is here)
Sunday night I feel totally unprepared. I don’t know if I even have enough clothes to get through a whole week. Sean doesn’t know what to do at drop off with Clara. He doesn’t know what she has at school already and what she doesn’t because I’ve done it all on my own. (Of course, he’s done this before too.) We discussed who was going to drop off who, but that was awhile ago. Don’t we need to talk about it again to make sure we’re on the same page?
I got my clothes for Monday morning ready and put them in the bathroom. I packed my breakfast, lunch, snack. I put my computer and pump in the Gathering Place. I put my phone in my purse (instead of sitting right by it) so I wouldn’t forget it. I’m doing my best to make sure I have everything I need when I leave the house tomorrow.
We overslept since we don’t use an alarm anymore (and haven’t in ages). Despite waking up at 6:20, we actually made it out the door at 7:30. That’s earlier than Sean and the older girls were getting out the door.
The girls were good this morning, once Ivy calmed down that is. She was upset when she first got up. We all left the house at once and the older girls did great at drop off. The dreary, gray sky seems fitting. Traffic moves so slow.
It’s totally weird and yet totally normal to be back in the office. I haven’t been sad at all today. I’ve been happy to see the updates to Clara’s daily report – that she napped well, when she took bottles. It seems to be going well. But as I’m about to leave work I realize I feel kind of numb. Like it hasn’t really set it that I barely got to snuggle with Clara at all this morning…
Sean gets home with Clara while I am still putting my stuff away. She’s asleep in her car seat but I get her out anyway. I put her up on my shoulder and it just feels right. The weight of her feels so right and so good. But she smells like someone else. Emma says later that she smells like Grandma Winona. And that’s the same thing I think when Grandma Winona holds her for a while, she smells like someone else.
But I got a lot of good snuggles in tonight with all of my girls and they didn’t watch any tv until after Ivy went to bed, so we even got time to play together tonight.
It hasn’t sunk in that I’ll be doing this indefinitely, but overall it was a good day today. A lot better than many work days are. No blowups this morning. Not crazy tired. We all played tonight. Dinner was easy. It seems too good to be true, actually.
Dreary gray skies again. Getting out of the house went well this morning. The older girls are doing well at drop off. Emma goes into her room on her own, which makes drop off take a lot less time. I’m still getting used to the amount of time spent in the car on the way to work in the mornings. Just sitting in traffic seems weird.
When I went back to work after my first baby, Emma, I didn’t want a bunch of pictures of her around to remind me that I wasn’t with her. That was back when had a nanny, even before we used to get written daily reports. It’s been awhile since we started getting those through an app. Now both schools are using an app and the one Clara’s school uses allows me to get notifications for whatever I want. I get notified when she naps and takes a bottle, and I can see how much they feed her. I like it.
It was a busy evening and we didn’t think we’d manage to bathe the girls, but we did. I felt pretty accomplished for being able to give both of the older girls a shower and get them to bed.
I’m still getting used to answering questions about how I’m doing, how it’s going with three kids, and how I’m feeling. I didn’t prepare myself to answer those questions. I was prepared for a certain person in the office to say something negative about my body (because I got several not great comments when I was pregnant, in fact I wrote a whole post about that over on Denver Metro Mom’s Blog). Instead, she was the only person that told me I looked good.
I’m already bored at work and having a hard time focusing. It feels like I don’t have any big, important projects to work on, or really anything with a deadline. Maybe they’re trying to keep the pressure off since I just got back, but it just makes me wonder what I’m doing there. It feels like I could get my work done in a lot less than 40 hours.
I was feeling like this before I went on maternity leave too though. It’s not that there’s nothing important to work on or no deadlines, it’s just that they don’t feel that important. Usually I like deadlines. Now it’s not as important as whether or not I pump when I’m “supposed to”. And I put that in quotes because I’m the one that decided when I’m supposed to pump and how often.
Work isn’t making me as happy as when I see that Clara took a good nap (though they are expensive naps!) or when she takes another bottle.
I got to play with each of the girls tonight. It felt like there was extra play time tonight and dinner wasn’t very hands-on. Clara was giggling a lot and it was so cute. Ivy and I read a book together. Emma and I worked on her pillow fort. But then I needed some time to relax, and I had one of my devices out before the girls were all in bed, which I felt a little guilty for. Now it’s getting late, Clara’s been asleep for over an hour (I guess she’s down for the night) and I still have things to do to get ready for tomorrow.
There’s not much time to rest. Overall I feel ok, though I know I get tired a lot easier than I used to. But I also feel like every week is going to be as tiring as the week before, so it will be really important for me to rest when I can.
I got upset with Emma this morning about her clothes. It was the usual, “I don’t want to wear that.” I want that one thing that’s in the wash because I already wore it this week. “I want you to pick something.” Which is funny when she says she doesn’t want any of the things I picked. She wants something that’s not in her drawer and she refuses to listen when I say that.
She was doing most of this from the stairs, and then threw the clothes in her hand (you know, the ones Daddy picked out already), and that was the last straw for me. I got really upset and laid down the law. She needed to come in her room and get dressed now. Only then could she come upstairs.
She was over it by the time she came upstairs. It was a pretty fast recovery for her. I don’t always recover that fast. Sometimes I’ll be upset about it the whole way to work and on into my day. I didn’t feel too bad about it today.
Overall I’m pretty happy with the fact that we made it more than halfway through the week with no one getting upset in the morning. I thought that was good.
We’ve been getting plenty upset during the night – at our 2 year old, but more about that in a different post.
My husband had an off-site meeting in the afternoon, so I picked up all the girls yesterday. The baby is at a different daycare than the older girls. She is further from the house than my office is. The other girls are very close to the house. It was fun to pick up the baby, and I (almost) always like picking up the older girls. I could barely carry the baby anymore by the time I left the second daycare though.
Oh, and we forgot to actually plug the crockpot in, so dinner was not ready when we got home. Of course it was the one time neither of us checked to make sure it was warm before we left the house. Last time my husband got it out for me he plugged it in. I even thought about it at work. “I forgot to check that the crockpot was on.” I wasn’t upset by it though, because I already had a backup plan. I think this is progress. It’s something that normally would have really irritated me.
Well, this morning both of us got upset with both of the older girls. I don’t know what happened with my husband and Ivy. I got into the middle of what was going on with him and Emma. It was about getting her clothes on (again). She had picked them out and was standing in the kitchen in her underwear and would not actually put them on.
Then she tried to walk downstairs. Nope. You will put your clothes on by yourself and you will put them on now. And you will not walk away from me.
She did put them on. She did need help, but we had told her if and when she needed help we would help. I don’t actually expect her to button the buttons on the back of her dress herself.
There has been a lot of talking about this at work this morning and probably not as much work happening as there should be. I’d also forgotten about that aspect of going back to work. Sometimes I talk about my family and what’s going on with my kids way more than I intend to. It’s probably a combination of things: everybody at the office seems to be pretty talkative on Friday, there are some people I haven’t talked to yet, and I’m really frustrated about the 2 year old’s sleep situation.
Music helps me concentrate on work. I can focus a lot better.
I forgot how fast the weeks fly by. How hard it can be to get anything besides work and taking care of the kids done. You think you’ll get to something this week, or maybe next week, but if you don’t know when you need to do it, or you’re not keeping track of it somewhere, weeks will fly by and it won’t get done.
I also forgot how tired we all are by the end of the week.