Reentering the Workforce After Maternity Leave

It’s been a year since I went on maternity leave for the second time. I’ll be honest with you — reentering the workforce was not easy. At least it never has been for me. After 12ish weeks way, I am rarely emotionally ready to come back to work; however, the second time around, at least I knew somewhat to expect. And after re-entering the workforce two times now, I’ve learned from my mistakes.

Here’s what NOT to do upon your reentry to the workforce after maternity leave:

Try to fit into your old work clothes

Unless you are one of those people who somehow fit miraculously into all your pre-pregnancy clothes within just a few weeks, you may need to go shopping for a few essentials. Even if you are back at your pre-baby weight, your body may look different. A stellar new “first day of school work” outfit (or 2) can make all the difference as you re-join office life. 

1 month before baby — clearly I wasn’t going to fit into the same clothes just a few months afterwards

Expect things to be the same 

You just had a baby. You were home for (if you’re lucky) several weeks. When you come back, cut yourself some slack – it will take some time to get back into the swing of things. But things may not be the same. For example, you may no longer be able to stay at the office late whenever you want; you may need to leave right on time to make sure you don’t arrive at daycare pickup one minute past 6. You may longer be able to be in all-day (or even 3-hour) meetings.  No, you may need to find time to pump. You will probably cherish weekends a whole lot more. Things won’t be the same, but as long as you realize this in advance, it can help you prepare. 

weekends with your family after reentering the workforce = the best!

Expect things to be different

At the same time, things won’t be much different. Your coworkers/clients will still expect you to be at the top of your game, to make those meetings and to keep your usual hours. You may need to set some boundaries as you figure out your new schedule. 

Feel guilty

The fact that I was going back to work made me feel guilty. Then, when I couldn’t stay late or go to as many work happy hours I felt guilty. At night, if I was doing work after the kids went to bed, I felt guilty that I wasn’t spending time with my husband. Mom guilt comes in a variety of forms, but it doesn’t make any situation better. Cut yourself some slack – you’re doing the best you can. 

Go at it by yourself

Being a working parent isn’t easy. And it’s even harder without someone to confide in about the everyday dilemmas (being 15 minutes late due to a potty training accident as you were leaving the house), hardships (having to take off unexpectedly due to your kid’s stomach flu) and milestones (preschool graduation). If you have other working parents in your office, grab coffee with them. Talk to friends outside of work. We’re all in this together and it’s better to have a support group. And find something that makes you feel like you — for me, that’s running. Without my support group and running, re-entering the workforce would’ve been much harder!

Question for you:

  • Did you recently come back from maternity leave? What would you add?
  • Have you reentered the workforce from maternity leave or another leave (sabbatical, etc.)? How did you handle it?

Note: In all the pictures above, I’m wearing Skirt Sportshangout jacket, jette skirt and redemption run shorts. They’ve been with me through pregnancy AND beyond! I’m a brand ambassador, so if you end up purchasing anything, feel free to use the code SSA791Mel for 5% off.

Making A Memory

Recently, when my parents were in town, my mom said something that for some reason has stuck with me.

She was holding LM, and had a strange look on her face. I asked her if she needed me to hold her, and she just shook her head. So I asked her if she was okay.

“Yes,” she said. “I’m making a memory.

I didn’t ask her what she meant. But her comment has been sticking with me. Because as I near the halfway point of my not-nearly-long-enough unpaid maternity leave, I know exactly what she meant. And I felt my stomach sink somewhat, as I realized that I need to stop and capture the moments more than I’m already doing.

I treat maternity leave like I treat everything. Each week I make a to-do list of things I want to get done. I’ve started making daily lists, and crossing things off makes me feel accomplished. For example, here was yesterday’s list:

(full disclosure: Looking at this list makes me feel somewhat crazy. And yes, I did accomplish all of the list yesterday …)

So, her comment has had me wondering – is this really how I should be spending my leave? Is this really how I want to be spending my time? If I can’t just relax and enjoy the moments on my maternity leave, will I ever be able to?

Then, last night, it was raining, so in lieu of our usual nightly walk, we were all sitting on the porch watching the storm. FW was on B’s lap and I was holding LM. I found myself thinking about what I should put on the next day’s list, and I stopped myself. I took a deep breath in and looked around. I closed my eyes, picturing how the four of us must look – a dad and his son, a mother with her newborn daughter. I immediately thought, I am so lucky. With my eyes opened, I started to take it all in. The smell of the rain. The sound of the storm. FW’s face and long eyelashes. LM’s chubby cheeks. I thought about taking a picture of the four of us to capture what we looked like, but stopped myself. I didn’t have to – I was making a memory. And with slight tears in my eyes, I realized exactly what my mom meant and what she’d been doing.

The days and weeks go by too fast. I can’t stop time or change how many minutes are in an hour or hours are in a day. And there’s nothing I can do about it. But maybe if I stop each day and look around, the memories will last a little longer.

Thinking Out Loud: Summer Edition

I have so many random things on my mind that I think it’s the PERFECT time for a Thinking Out Loud post. It’s been a crazy few weeks, but here are a few things I’ve been thinking about:

Home Renovations …

B and I (or should I say B) are knee deep in some serious updates/renovations. I hope to have more to show soon, but he just tore down a ceiling (and wallpaper) in the dining room and then put one back up. I’ve never looked at ceilings so much as I have the past week or so. And now they’re all I notice!

Shopping …

I’m feeling in a serious fashion funk and I need want some new clothes. Ever since I went to the Saks blogger brunch/fashion show, I’ve been really wanting to get some new clothing items. BUT with the aforementioned home reno, I know I should be saving money. Le sigh. Still, it’s Nordstrom’s anniversary sale and here are some items I’m admiring (from afar):

This Bootie

This sweater

And while we’re at it, these non-Nordstrom items have been calling my name:

From J Crew

From Loft

Running (or NOT Running) …

I hurt my piriformis a few weeks ago and haven’t run since. That’s right, I’m going on 2+ weeks with NO runs. This is the longest I haven’t run since giving birth a year ago and I do NOT like it. I’m going a little stir crazy! Sorry in advance to anyone I snap at …

How I feel…

Cooking …

Now that FW is one, I’m trying really hard to find some foods he will eat. He is a picky eater has a refined pallet, and it’s getting hard to find foods that he, me and B will all eat. Oh, and FW has low iron and doesn’t like meat so I’m trying to find things with iron and/or protein. Some of the newest things I’ve tried:

Spicy Chickpea Burgers (without the spice for FW) >> I liked them as did B, but FW wasn’t a fan

Spinach Banana Muffins >> We all like these!

Crockpot Spicy Peanut Chicken  (without the spice for FW) >> I liked it, B sorta liked it and FW just spit it and threw it out

Cauliflower tots >> I liked them, B didn’t try and FW may have liked them (he didn’t eat them at home but school said he did …)

So, we’re 1ish for 4 …. any tips? Food or recipe suggestions?

And that’s about all the brain randomness from me this morning. Cheers to it almost being Friday!

Some questions for you:

  • Any recipes for picky eaters? Ideally something that an adult and a one-year-old would eat? Please?
  • What’s a fashion item you want right now?
  • What’s the last home renovation/DIY thing you did?

PS – Happy birthday MOM!!! You are a great mom and wonderful grandma … ❤

 

 

 

Thinking Out Loud: First Single Working Mom Day

This post is dedicated to all the single working moms out there. Or all the single moms. Or all the working moms. You know what, it’s dedicated to all the moms out there because you’re all rocking at what you do, even if you don’t know it.

I had my first experience as a “single working mom” this week. B had to be out of town for work super early one day so it was my turn to do the dreaded daycare drop off AND pick up.

It was my first drop off. I expected a few things going into it: first that I’d have to get up super early if I wanted to work out, get ready for the day, feed and change FW AND make it out of downtown and back to downtown by 8 a.m. Second, that it’d be hard because I hate saying goodbye to FW in the morning.

Well, it was both of those things times ten. Of course when my alarm went off at 4:58 a.m. I didn’t want to get up. It felt like I had just fallen back asleep from FW’s 3 a.m. feeding and it was SO COLD and dark out. I managed to get out of bed only 15 minutes later than I wanted to, and got in a 29 minute workout. Not quite what I wanted … but better than nothing.

I quickly showered, got my breakfast ready (a.k.a. I grabbed a yogurt and some granola and fruit), fixed a crock pot meal and then woke up FW. He was super giggly and happy (he is a morning person!), which made me happy as well. Phew, I thought – this is nothing!

Of course two things happened then. One, he took about 15 minutes longer than usual to eat. And I felt too guilty on this particular day to cut him off. And then, he of course decided to have a massive “I haven’t pooped in two days” type of blowout right before we were ready to leave.

Before leaving, I took a look at my calendar for the day and remembered I was triple-booked for after work with daycare pickup, a board meeting (that I was going to be late to because of a work meeting) and another appointment.

FW was still giggly when I put him in his car seat. He was smiley all the way to the parking lot. And then, when he realized he wasn’t going for a walk/run, he seemed to get serious. (Yes, this may be all in my head)

When I got to the daycare, I was the first person there. Even the employee at the check-in seemed surprised, saying “Oh, wow, he’s the first little one! He’s so young!” (didn’t make me feel better)

And then, of course as I put him down to leave, he started crying. I know he wasn’t crying because I was leaving (right?! he can’t really know…), but it didn’t help matters. I ended up dashing to my car before the worker could see me crying as well.

On the bright side? I made it to work 10 minutes early. And didn’t get any baby bodily fluids on my work outfit.

So – single working moms … well all moms – I don’t know how you do it. I don’t know how you manage to make time for yourself. I don’t know how you get enough sleep. I don’t know how you turn off your “mom face” after dropping off your child with someone else and turn on your “work face.” I have so much admiration and am in awe of all of you.

Shared as part of the Thinking Out Loud linkup. Because I really can’t make complete thoughts at this moment and this seemed like a TOL post.

 

Thinking Out Loud: 10 New Mom Musings

OK, I’ve only been a mom for 4 or so weeks (OMG MY BABY TURNS 4 WEEKS TODAY! </gush>), but despite the lack of sleep and exercise and healthy eating, my brain has been going nonstop and I’ve had so many random thoughts on motherhood. Instead of putting together a formal post on everything and life thus far, here are some of the random thoughts I’ve had over the past 30 days and I’m joining up today with the Thinking Out Loud linkup. As you can see, my brain goes all over the place and is completely opposite sometimes. Welcome to motherhood!

10 New Mom Musings

I LOVE our new family of three! It’s so much fun and my heart is so full. // I wonder if we could still be considered a party of two. Or I could sneak a baby into a theater? (This was uttered after B and I were offered 2 free last minute tickets to see Jerry Seinfeld. He was performing in a theater near our apartment)

family of 3!

family of 3!

There is no way I need a hundred and something diapers for him this month. // Holy cow, did I really go through 40 diapers in just 4 days?

I wonder if my body will ever look like it used to. // I can’t believe how mysterious/magical/powerful the female body is!

Wow, the days sure go by so slowly! Is it almost time for B to come home? // How is it already 6 o’clock? I don’t think I’ve gotten off this couch in 4 hours.

Wow, breastfeeding sure is convenient. I don’t ever need to bring a bottle or anything with me! // Wow, breastfeeding sure is inconvenient. It’s like I am just being used. I don’t ever get a break!

I’m so glad that ice cream can be eaten one-handed! // Will B and I enjoy a normal meal again ever?

I am so so so so tired. // I got 3 hours of uninterrupted sleep last night!

Newborns are great. They are so portable, are immobile, & I can bring one everywhere! // Newborns are tough. All they do is cry and eat; I can’t take one anywhere. Especially during meal times.

These freezer meals are amazing! I am so grateful for all my family and friends for helping us take care of ourselves. // If I have to eat another baked pasta dish or casserole tonight …where are the vegetables?

I can’t wait for FW to be older, sleep through the night,be able to tell us what’s wrong, etc. // Wow – I can’t believe how much he’s grown already! I don’t want him to keep growing – I wish I could freeze time!

fwc

So there you have it. A few thoughts after being a mom for one month. Moms out there- can any of you relate?