Because There Needs To Be Food On The Table

Returning to work when you have little munchkins isn’t ideal, right? I can’t see it any other way. From where I stand (cue the ever-so-popular photo of feet standing on a random sidewalk… you know what I’m talking about, right? If not, just write it off as another looney moment for me. The holidays made me crazy. You too? My goodness, this is the longest parenthesized sentence ever. Who the hell knew parenthesized was a word. I had to google that one. Forgive me)… yes, yes, yes, from where I stand, any new mom that looks forward to returning to work is crazy. I’m talkin’ not right in the head. I have yet to meet anyone, mother or father, male or female, that loves their job so much that it’s the first thing they think of when they wake up in the morning and the last thing on their mind before entering dreamland for the night. With that said, I was incredibly anxious about going back to work.
Rewind to the first time I returned to work, after Hooper was born. I took off as much time as I could. Because I don’t live in the UK, this meant I had to return when Hooper was 4 months old. This is quite good by maternity leave standards in the US and everyone here told me I should be grateful. And I was. But that didn’t stop me from breaking down into grown adult crocodile tears when the first person asked about how my baby was. I couldn’t think about him, or talk about him for that matter, without getting choked up. It felt very unnatural to be at work, away from my child that needed me and knew no one better than me.
I found comfort in the fact that my very own parents were watching him and tried hard to sell myself on the idea that it was important for them to build a relationship with him too. I know, I know. Go ahead and roll your eyes. When I put myself in any one elses shoes I think is this bitch really whining about having to leave her children with her own parents? I know a lot of parents out there have to do the day care thing and I know a lot of people are also struggling to find employment. So yeah, don’t get me wrong, I’m incredibly grateful.
I digress, as I typically do.
My realization in returning to work for the second time is this: Everything is easier the second time. Except for the postpartum hair loss. That can kiss my ass just as much this time around. And delivering an over nine pound baby vaginally can do the same.
Dammit (said like Beavis and Butthead), I digress once again.
Let me rephrase my realization: Most things are easier the second time. And returning to work is one of the things that falls into this category.
I shed no tears this time around. And it’s not because I didn’t miss Van, or Hooper, it’s because I’d been in those shoes before. That’s it, plan and simple. Chalk it up to good ol’ life experiences.
Okay, okay, one other thing made returning to work easier as well: part time (two, twelve hour shifts per week). AKA a mother’s dream. AKA the best of both worlds. AKA I work too so you need to help out with the dishes too!… Come on ladies, you know what I’m talking about it. Seriously though, working part time has helped me to enjoy my job more. I may, I said may, have even said returning to work has been a nice break. And if you don’t think working 12 hours on my feet, not eating lunch sometimes until 4 pm, and holding my pee so I can empty other peoples concentrated piss from their foley catheters is a break, well then, you’ve never been a mom. Who’s with me? I’m having one of those moments where I wish we were all sitting around at a huge table, wine glasses (or shot glasses) in hand, raising our glasses in appreciation of one another. Because being a mom is the hardest job of all. F*#k the state for not compensating me for all my rad mom skills. High fives all around.

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21 Responses

  • You are awesome! I’ve always been so grateful for being a nurse and having so many job and schedule options, it really helps as far as being away from your kids and doing what works best for your family.

    • The flexibility is one of the major reasons I went into nursing. I really allows me to be the mom I want to be. Do you work in a hospital?

  • Jealous of your part time status. Livin’ the dream! And yes, I understand every little bit you wrote about. I also wish moms (not you) would stop being on the defensive for whatever choice they make because I feel like I come across that A LOT. Whether they go back to work or stay home, they always seem defensive as to why why why, and for the most part start bashing other moms choices. Being a mom is hard, we all make our choices as what we think is best for our families, and that’s it! No long explanation needed, don’t you agree?

    • I’ve always said, especially when I talk about home birth, that whatever decision a mother makes about anything is always going to be whatever that mom feels is the best decision. So long as you stand behind your decision that’s all that matters. I always believe a mother does what she feels is right, even if it’s a different decision than someone else would make. There is not cookie cutter mold to being a parent. We all do the best we can and we ought to support one another as opposed to beat each other up. I’m with ya girl, I’m with ya.

  • This country is so ridiculous when it comes to maternity leave and just making things easier on moms in general. The priority is not family. Have you looked through that book, “Why Have Kids?” yet? There is a lot in there about how moms don’t get enough social support, ie their jobs expect them to be exactly as they were pre-kids. I worry about that and it’s a big factor in me thinking I don’t want kids. I like to do everything “all out” and I fear I’d feel like I was half-assing motherhood and half-assing work. Ugh. You juggle everything very gracefully, even when you feel like things are a mess. I promise.

  • Maybe it’s because I live in Canada, where we have the option of taking a 1 year paid parental leave, but I actually DID look forward to returning to work. In fact, I chose to return to work early – after 8 months (my partner took the other four months). Hopefully that doesn’t make me crazy. I’m also one of those people that often drifts off to dreamland thinking of work – so I guess that means you’ve met someone now (at least electronically!). I don’t think that’s a reflection of the kind of parent I am, but rather how much I enjoy and am committed to my work. Also….I choose to send my child to daycare over having my mother-in-law watch him (although she helps tremendously with daily pick up and sick days). Like you, I’m glad that I have the option, but I’m always a bit irked by the assumption that I “have to” send my child to daycare.

    My heart absolutely goes out to those that don’t have the option of an extended (dare I say, ‘adequate’) maternity/parental leave. I’m so thankful that I was able to go back when I felt ready – rather than when my employer or some policy-maker decided. I’m glad that the transition back to work was easier for you this time around.

    • Ha! I don’t think you’re crazy at all. It’s nice to hear from another perspective. So jealous of your 8 months off. What kind of work do you do?? Thanks for sharing your opinion, I really value a different outlook on things.

  • Well said fellow mama!

    I cried my eyes out the entire two weeks leading up to my return to work and then I got there on day one and realized, ‘hey this isn’t so bad – I get a coffee break that doesn’t involve breastfeeding or listening to Sesame Street.’

    Cheers!
    Vicky

  • as much as i love being a mom, i’ve found that my time at work is also hugely important in my life. if only i could work part-time, that’s the best of both worlds!

  • I’m a nurse and work part-time two twelves a week and it is heaven. It is amazing what dropping one day a week can do for stress level and sanity.

    • Without a doubt, right? Nursing is such a stressful profession. Not sure how things are at your hospital, but we’re totally short staff with limited resources and more responsibilities and paperwork than ever before. Two days a week allows me to stay sane too.

  • Yes! I am going back in 3 weeks and am dreading it. I will be looking for part time employment ASAP so I can keep my health insurance, make some money but also have time with the kiddo.

    But I know that first day back will be stupid hard. Cue the tears.

  • I hated going back to work, HATED it. Then I got into it, then I was made redundant and THEN it felt like a massive weight had been lifted off my shoulders. So it’s all swings and roundabouts really. We adapt and survive. Mums are tough creatures. Darwin’s finest.

  • Part time – you are living the dream! Been my goal for a few years and can’t seem to work it out just yet. I am determined that I will though – just can’t believe my oldest is already 4 and I am still saying I need to find a part time job. So jealous of those North of us who get 1 year paid leave. I am due with my third tomorrow and I am sturggling with the idea of possibly only taking 7 weeks this time around. UGH! I want to cry. Only half of that will be paid because I am only paid for my accrued sick time (I am a counselor in a public school) – after 3 kids not much sick time left :( Nice to remember I am not alone.

    • Oh I know that sinking feeling. It’s like you can’t wait to give birth but at the same time you have this looming cloud over you… As soon as baby is born, the clock starts ticking :( It’s hard, I feel ya mama. But, I have learned that the anticipation is worse than the reality. I wish you the best in the last days or weeks of your third. Enjoy whatever time you have. And yes, you are not alone.

  • Oh man, I am DREADING having to work. I have taken the last 6 months off and it’s been a real strain financially. When we move next month my son will be 2 months old. I know that I have to work but I also know that no one can care for him like I can. I nannied for 8 years and it tears me up to think I was able to be there for other people’s babies but maybe not mine. I’m hoping maybe I can find a nanny position where I can bring him along. We shall see.

    My sister is a nurse and my mom is her “nanny” too. It’s a good deal! :)

    • Oh I totally understand your dread. But I’m sure you have the piece of mind in knowing that some nannys are really great. I worked as an au pair and loved the kids as my own. Nonetheless, it’s always hard as a mom to relinquish control. Good luck finding the nanny position, sounds like a great compromise!

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