Dear Mama Returning From Maternity Leave
I (Amy), try my very best to stay positive about happenings in life because for me it makes me happier. Over the years, I’ve found self-talk and encouragement to be a really good strategy. I wrote a letter of encouragement to myself a letter before this day arrived…
Goodness, how fast do these maternity leaves go? It seems like only yesterday sweet Trey was making his entrance into the world and into your heart and hands.
It’s the perfect time to think about how far you two have come together. From the endless late night feeds and snuggles to the skinny baby turning into the chubby cheeks and rolls baby. You two did that together! From learning the ins and outs that make him uniquely him, you two have formed an incredible bond. The way he lights up with the biggest smile anytime YOU say, “Hiiiiiiiii T!”
This is a big day Ames, show yourself all the grace you need. Crying it okay. Missing him terribly is expected. Feeling as though you’d rather be with him is likely. But, I know you can do this! Not just because you’ve done it once before, but because I believe in you. I believe in the mama part of you and the nurse part of you, I know that you can be happy and present in both roles.
There are going to be hard days both today and ahead, you know that. There will be days that you really wish you could stay home and take care of Trey and Maxwell. If you’re being really honest there will be days when work feels like a break from the baby demands and toddler drama and that’s okay too.
You are lucky that you are going to a job that you love. Patients that you love and coworkers that you love. It is okay to feel excited to nail a tough IV again, to laugh really hard with your coworkers and get a big hug from your favorite patients. Someday when the boys are old enough to understand you can tell them that mama is leaving to take care of people that are really sick and need her too. You can them that just as mama makes them feel better, she gets to go do that for other people’s mamas and daddies, sons and daughters, brothers and sisters.
Your patients need a bright little light and you know that you can provide that.
Aside from those positives, you know your income and benefits are incredibly important to your family. You know that you want to model that women are strong and can provide just like daddies can (maybe even more so someday, coming for you Drew…ps. there is nobody cheering harder for that to happen than Drew). Remind yourself of these things when the going gets tough. Going to back to work doesn’t for a second mean that you love them any less, you know that in the deepest part of your heart.
And then after you are done with work for the day, it is okay to walk as fast as you can or lightly jog to your Jeep. You’ll come home and squeeze them endlessly. Max will squeeze you back and Trey will be excited to be in your arms again. You’ll be extra thankful to be with them. Extra thankful for the days that you get to be home with them.
Today and everyday, know that nobody replaces mama. The daycare women are incredible and they’ll form their own special bond with Trey just as they have done with Max, but you are mama, mommy, mommeeeeeyyyyyyyyyy.
Cheering for you today and every single day. Before you know it, your family will adjust to the new routine.
Dear Mama Returning From Maternity Leave
Well, writing that made me bawl in a coffee shop and process my feelings better. I think because I’ve been busier this time around (add a toddler and a business into the mix) I hadn’t fully processed this second maternity leave ending.
I wanted to leave you with my best tips if you are about to make this transition.
5 Tips for Returning from Maternity Leave
Make sure your gas tank is full, coffee and creamer are ready, clothes laid out, extra pump parts are packed, the day of pumping parts are packed, lunch is packed, daycare forms are filled out, baby is packed (we send extra outfits, diapers, wipes, expressed breast milk and bottles along). If you are as prepared as you can be, things will go MUCH smoother. Before I returned last time I even practiced pumping in a timely manner! You don’t want to be rushing around the morning of and adding more stress to the situation. You’ll want to get every last snuggle in before goodbye time comes.
Before Max headed to daycare for the first time, we did a practice day! This eased my mama mind more than I can even tell you. He took bottles from them and did just fine! I used the time to workout and get things done at home. This time around, we didn’t do a practice day because our family has adjusted to daycare life and we know the daycare ladies now. We KNOW that they are sweet and experienced and ready to take care of our new little guy! You should see how excited they are to meet him when I had to bring him in to pick up Max. The practice day is a great strategy to help you mentally prepare! I also wrote a letter to myself, talked to my husband and good friend about my feelings. Realize that you don’t have to go through it alone mama!
Realize YOU are Unique.
Just like when I told people I was preparing for a natural birth, this might be an experience that brings the naysayers out. When I read comments under a mama’s post that says, “It NEVER gets better” I just wonder in what world that is helpful. I know that everyone feels differently and you should know that is OKAY. This time I feel much more prepared and it does seem easier. This doesn’t mean that I love T any less, this just means that I’ve experienced this before and know that it will be okay.
Drew is in charge of Maxwell in the morning and I’m in charge of Trey. We know that going in and we both have to adjust our own pre-work routines to account for the time needed to get the boys ready. Drew almost always drops off because it works better for his schedule. In the very beginning, this also helps ease the blow for me. Drop off can be really hard on my heart (as it is on Drew’s too) and a tough way to start the day. BUT, I would suggest doing whatever makes more sense for your family. Be a team player!
Do NOT Compare.
Thou shall not compare and if thou finds herself comparing…she will stop. Everyone’s circumstances are different mama. Some mamas will need to go back full time, some will work part-time, some will stay at home. Most everyone is just doing what is BEST for their own little family. It is a waste of time to compare your situation to anyone else’s and I always love to remind myself that the grass is ALWAYS greener. No matter what type of mama you talk to, she would have challenges to share with you. Don’t think anyone has it easy, because you know this mama job is not.
originally posted on balancedames.com