Tuesday, December 16, 2014

She works hard for the money

I swear we were just bringing this tiny, 6 ½ pound little bundle home from the hospital.


Today Dalton is 12 weeks old, and this marks the last week of my 12 week maternity leave.
12 weeks makes a big difference in size!
Hey, Obama - the free breast pump was great and all, and much appreciated, but how about some decent maternity leave so I don’t have to leave my baby when he’s still practically a fetus and then I wouldn’t need to rely on a pump? Although I recognize I’m more fortunate than many women. I was allowed to use 6 weeks of my accumulated sick time to get paid, and then I even got two extra weeks on top of that because I was lucky enough to need a c-section. The rest was unpaid, even though I have more than enough sick time to cover it.

I’m not thrilled about going back to work. However, I no longer dread it and would rather have another root canal, which is a huge improvement for me. I was able to type that without crying. I’m able to see some positives. I went in last week to visit, and it was really fun. I work with a lot of great people and I’m looking forward to seeing them every day again. I never really thought I would say this, but I’m even looking forward to using my brain again. And, of course, I’m home right now but Dalton is sleeping, so it’s not like I would get to spend every single second of my time with him even if I could be a SAHM. For the record, I really, really would give anything to do that, but that doesn’t pay the bills.

I’m glad I have a job I enjoy, and I truly do miss my students and am excited to see them again, it’s just the whole leaving my baby thing that isn’t working for me. It’s weird because when I was pregnant, I was sure I wasn’t qualified to care for an infant. I couldn’t even believe they let me leave the hospital with him. But now I feel like, aside from his father, no one else can possibly care for him. I know this is illogical. We have a wonderful daycare provider that we love. She’s been doing daycare for 25 years (mostly staying with kids from infancy to kindergarten) and has two grown, successful children of her own. In a contest, her experience clearly trumps mine by quite a bit and I know he will be fine. But I still don’t want to turn him over. I’m his mother, and no one is going to love him like I do.

He's old enough to wear a baby belt!

Thinking about how much I am going to miss him breaks my heart. I keep trying to remind myself it’s not like he’s going away to boarding school, I’ll see him every day and we still have many fun times together ahead. Millions of women and babies have done this and survived. It still sucks. I want to be with my baby. I’ve warned everyone I will be spending the first few days back crying at least 70% of the time.

Aside from the emotional component, logistically work is going to be a real pain in the ass. It’s one thing to wake up 4-5 times a night with a baby when you don’t have anywhere to be in the morning. I can get three hours of broken sleep and still change a diaper like a pro. I’m not sure I can say the same about staying on top of the education for 50 ten year olds or attending meetings to speak about data and curriculum and attempt to sound intelligent. And dealing with the pumping, bottles, sending stuff to daycare – just mathematically it sounds so complicated. But I know it will work out, and one way or another this kid will get fed. I’ll most likely be exhausted, but that’s why God invented coffee.

The timing is nice, I get to ease in with just two days of work and then a nice long Christmas break that the three of us get to spend together. Tomorrow, Dalton and I are going in to attend my team’s planning meeting to get ready. I’m looking forward to it! See, if I could just take him with me, I’d be perfectly fine.

We’re soaking in every glorious moment of this last week together full time. Yesterday we met Carolyn and Nathan for a stroller walk in a park, since it was 50 degrees and sunny a week before Christmas.
We have some other fun plans with friends and I’m just getting all the snuggle time on the couch that I can.

Love that little face so much.

Any advice for a soon - to - be working mom?



  1. Awww, I just want to hug that little body. The only advice I have is to take it one little hour at a time, and eventually it does get easier. Maybe your day will fly by and it will be over with before you know it, I hope that happens. But if it is super hard, just know it does get better, slowly, but it does.

  2. You know, I enjoy reading what you write because you make motherhood sound realistic unlike so many other blogs. I don't have kids but I will and you make the whole thing understandable. Yay, you :)

  3. I am very grateful that CA is one of the few states (I think there are 2 more?) that offers disability pay (maternity pay) at 60% of your income the first six weeks, and unpaid for the six weeks after that (although you can use your sick time/vacation time). That being said, 12 weeks is seriously a joke in comparison to what other countries get. It's so unjust that it's mind boggling to me how we still have so far to go.

  4. I still miss leif a ton when I think about him at work, but it is nice to talk to adults and do things that don't revolve around a baby a few hours a day.

  5. I promise it gets easier. That's my only advice. You'll still miss your son but you'll eventually like that you are using your brain. (My brain was still on maternity leave for at least a week after I was back to work.)

  6. I have nothing helpful to say because I'm unemployed and sitting at home right now eating bon bons.

    Seriously, I found bon bons at the store and they are awesome.

  7. So when Patrick would leave on deployment, the first couple of days was always really hard and then it would become normal and feel much less traumatic. Although I don't have kids, I'm sure this will be similar - very hard and different initially, then normal and ok, even if it's not ideal. My advice to avoid crying is what I still do if I get upset - I set a time, say an hour ahead of "now", and tell myself not to cry until I get to that hour. Then, if I really need to, go to the bathroom and release a few tears. But usually, once an hour has passed, I feel better and I set another time in the future. Getting through the day in bite sized chunks really helps, and once you get over the initial hump (an hour or so), you no longer feel so emotional.

    But again, none of this is kid-related advice...just my normal, I'm a woman with hormones, so sometimes I need to keep tears in check, sort of advice. :)

  8. I agree with the comments above - it does get easier. With my first I was only off 6 weeks but it was all unpaid so I was anxious to get back so we stopped depleting our savings. With my second I used sick time and was paid for all 11 of the 12 weeks that I was off. Just take it a little at a time and remember that it will make the times you are with him so much more valuable. Hang in there!

  9. It's so weird that the US is such an undeveloped country when it comes to maternity leave. Where I'm from (Norway), we get about a year of paid leave, though ten weeks (minimum) is reserved for the dad. The countries with similarly long maternity leaves (the scandinavian countries, plus Canada, as far as I know) unsurprisingly also has the largest percentage of females in the workforce, as there is less of a need to quit one's job and become stay at home moms.

    Since I'm pregnant with my first right now, I obviously don't know how I'd handle leaving him/her alone at only 12 weeks, but I don't believe I'd handle it well at all!

  10. It's sucks. Period. I've done it twice now and it didn't get any easier. But over time the suck factor gets a little better and I suppose it is good to talk to other adults from time to time. :) Hang in there. It's infuriating mostly that this country is so far behind the maternity leave curve. Most of my friends have to go back after 6 or 8 weeks because they can't afford to go unpaid that long. So sad.

  11. I'm late to the party but every day will get easier. You'll get into your new normal routine and life will be exhausting but great.

  12. I'm getting ready to head back to work next week and could have written this post myself. It blows and I really wish I didn't have to leave her! I have warned my coworkers that I will pretty much be a weepy mess for the first week.


Thanks for commenting! Comments make me probably more happy than they should.