I love being home with my kids.
Taking the mornings slow and not needing to rush out the door.
Drinking my coffee out of something other than a travel mug.
Being able to nurse my baby whenever he needs.
Dropping my oldest off in the school drop off lane.
Going to the zoo or a museum with my kids during the day, rather than waiting for the hectic weekends.
Being the one that is with my children as they learn and grow.
Simply holding my little ones whenever I want. I am made for this stuff.
I live for their snuggles and kisses and while it doesn’t all come with ease, I appreciate being there for my kids during the hard times.
I absolutely love being their person.
And at the same time, something else I love is my job.
So, when my babies turn about three months old, it’s time for me to face the fact that I will not be at home with them every day anymore. And it breaks my heart every single time. It has always grieved me to not be home with them, but that doesn’t mean I don’t feel called to contribute to the world in other ways through my work. I hold these two facts together very closely to my heart as I return to work.
Being a working mom is by far the hardest thing I’ve ever done. But when it was time to return to work after my second child was born, I found myself soaking up a few of the benefits of going back in a way I didn’t feel with my first. Maybe it was just experience that helped me identify the positives in the situation, or maybe I just desperately needed an opportunity to go to the bathroom without someone climbing on my lap and I knew work was probably the only place that could happen!
As these reminders have helped me, I hope they, too, help you feel a little better about going back to work when you probably don’t feel ready to. Because goodness knows, staying at home and cuddling our new little baby is pretty much the best thing in the world and leaving them for a bit each day is hard.
So, here are a few of my favorite perks of going back to work after my maternity leave.
- You will get breaks
As you know, there is no law requiring moms to get breaks at home, but there are in your workplace. My children are attached to me 100% of my time at home and not all of those times are sweet moments. Some are trying and exhausting. When I had my first son I remember being shocked that I had to eliminate things from my routine that I once thought were necessities. New parents have to choose between eating, using the bathroom, sleeping and showering. Now, going back to work won’t guarantee more sleep (it’s usually less, sorry), but it does allow for breaks. And even I, the teacher who is with kids all day long, get a lunch break and bathroom break at some point in the day. Finally being able to use the bathroom in peace is actually one of my favorite parts of my workday.
- Your family will be powered by routine
I am not good at keeping a schedule if I don’t have responsibilities to hold me to it. The worst part about that struggle for me is that routine is one of the best ways to keep my family functioning. Both of our children are fueled by routine, as am I. I’d say one of the best aspects of returning to work is the fact that we will have accountability in our schedule. I like looking forward to the new normal of leaving the house in the morning, working a job I love and seeing my sweet babies when I come home. There’s a nice rhythm to our day that I’ve never been able to create when I’m home with my kids.
- You will have an income again
Can I hear an Amen? Despite all the Instagram posts that make us think otherwise, maternity leave is not all Starbucks and Target trips for most women. I am deeply saddened by the fact that the majority of the women in our country are not able to take maternity leave for a proper amount of time with a livable source of income while staying home to care for their newborn. It is extremely difficult for most of us to be home without a paycheck. We don’t qualify for outside support during this time either- so we better have saved up. And if we didn’t, well, somehow it works, but often times it means we didn’t get to stay home as long as we dreamed. If going back to work makes you feel sad, that first paycheck will help you feel a bit better!
- You will have automatic social interactions each day
Introverts and extroverts alike have the deep need to have adult human interactions in our day-to-day. We were not meant to experience life on an island. Unfortunately, many parents who stay home do just that. As a working mom, I’ve been able to get a big dose of social interactions in my day to day work experience. And as an introvert, that’s plenty for me! For the extrovert, it’s vital to their survival. In addition to that, I’ve found that when I get out of the house and interact with others my mental health is much more balanced and I am more at peace.
- You will be a strong example for your children
This one was especially important to me when I was raising my first son on my own. I knew at the time that I wanted to stay home with him, but also that this was my opportunity to be an example to my son. I wanted to show him that I could be a present mother at home and share my skills and talents with the outside world. Do not underestimate the example you are for your children. Your daughters know they can do and be anything because of your willingness to take a risk and step out your front door and your sons will know how to respect a woman in the workforce.
- Your job has purpose
I know that being able to choose a job that you love is a privilege. Some of us work out of necessity and it’s not always what we hoped we’d do with our lives. But there is purpose in what all of us do. For me, it helps that I love my job. I am sad when I drive away from my house in the morning, but at the same time I hold happiness in my heart knowing where I am driving is a place I love, filled with children that I care about and colleagues that lift me up in my career. Yes, I miss my children, but I am passionate about what I do and am grateful for the opportunity to give back to my community as a teacher.
- Your time with your family will be that much sweeter
While I love my job, there is nothing I love more than the feeling of walking into the house with my sweet kids in my arms and by my side and our goofy dog jumping up to greet us. We are home. And though my evening is filled with cooking and cleaning and prepping for the next day, each night ends with a meal around the table and snuggles in bed and kisses as they fall asleep. My heart is full when I am home with my family. I know that the depth of gratitude and appreciation I have comes from the fact that we are not together 24 hours a day. My life is a balance of giving to others and receiving the deep love and peace that comes from being at home with my sweet little family. Life is good when we’re all under the same roof at the end of the day.
I know it’s hard to go back to work after you’ve been home with your sweet baby. Sometimes it feels like I cannot walk out that door even if my life depends on it. Sometimes it actually feels like my children’s lives depend on me not walking out that door.
But that is not true.
I can do this. You can do this.
Our babies will be okay.
Your life will find a new rhythm and that new rhythm can be good if you’re willing to embrace all the positives that come with being a working mom. You’ve got a world of women around you to remind you that we can do these hard things.
You’ve got this!
Is there anything that you are looking forward to when you return to work? What has helped those of you that have already returned to work after baby?