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Saturday, March 9, 2013

going back to work after baby #2

Going back to work after baby and maternity leave is never easy. However, after the second child I found it was easier in some ways, and yet harder in other ways. I'm sticking with "mostly easier" though when I explain it to friends.

Here are a few thoughts on what is easier and harder this time around:

EASIER - You know the babysitter already from the first kid most likely. That was the hardest part about leaving our first child, not knowing who the heck this lady was, sure we trusted her enough to go with her but did we really know how she'd be? With the second, you know that she'll change her diapers, feed him when he cries, say kind words when disciplining, etc. You know you already like her. That's the biggest thing. So you already feel comfortable leaving the baby since you did it once before.You also know it's OK to call the sitter any time you want, they won't hate you or think you're a strange mother.

EASIER - Been there, done that. You've done this before, so you know you can survive this challenging time. You also know your child WILL be fine without you. He won't forget you or like the sitter better. He won't feel neglected or left behind - things you worried about the first time around. You also know that you CAN work AND be a good mother. You did it once before, you CAN do it again. Before, it was all the unknowns that freaked you out and left you uneasy. These thoughts don't help the first day dropping off your precious baby, BUT they do help you get into the swing of things, reminding yourself it is possible to do this again. It's also normal to cry, be sad, worry, the same way you did after your first child went to daycare the first time.

Me and my little monkey, Addisyn, 12 weeks old, when I left her to go back to work twice a week in the summer (I work in a school so was not back full time until two months after this). 
See how tired we are?!

HARDER -  Two babies = twice as hard. It's exhausting ... Everything takes twice as long getting out the door - two sets of diaper bag things to pack. Two kids to physically put in the car and buckle up. It honestly just takes twice as long. It helps to do EVERYTHING the night before - including putting sippy cup of milk in the fridge, picking out outfits, putting cooler for pumped milk on the counter with notes to remember the frozen ice packs, etc. EVERYTHING you can do the night before do it! It helps for a smoother morning. I never used to have to do this with one kid, it was fairly easy getting out the door with him. Now? I could never get out of my house in the mornings if I didn't do all of this before the morning.

HARDER- Figuring out a routine. You had this down, so you thought, the last time you went back to work with one kid. So you thought you could leave the house at the same time, wake up at the same time as you did before maternity leave. It doesn't work that way though now that there are two kids. I had to get up at least 30 minutes earlier and leave the house at least 15 minutes earlier than I did before with one child. You don't know this until you go through it the first few days going back to work. Just give yourself some extra time especially at the beginning. It will take time to figure out how you be a worker and a mom again, just like it was probably a struggle when you returned to work the first time after your first child. Have patience and lower your expectations. You WILL get back into the swing of things eventually, but at first it's a transition period for your family.

EASIER - You kinda enjoy leaving a little bit. It's admittedly nice to have a break, dress up and speak adult talk for a little while in your day. You may not have acknowledged this or appreciated it when you returned to work after #1 came along. So many first-time moms put their entire selves into their kids, never ever admitting that yes, it's OK to be a woman, person, individual, too, not always Mom. But with the second child comes more realistic ideas about parenthood, which involves typically allowing yourself a break here and there. For me, I enjoyed returning to work I loved, seeing my old co-worker friends, trying on all my old work clothes that hadn't fit me in a while. It's OK to enjoy some of this, as hard as it is.

Overall, you realize you CAN get through it. It is mostly easier going back to work after the second child, I promise!

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