It's the moment we all aren't waiting for. Returning to work from maternity leave. Some of us probably tried to financially figure out how to make our bills work, cut back on spending and possibly donate a kidney to stay home with our babies. I'm here to tell you, it's going to be okay.
Most people will tell you it's going to be hard and look at you with pity. Then follow with, 'It'll get easier'. The one thing they don't tell you is WHY it's hard. Sure, Easton is a perfect baby so it's hard to leave her, but what makes going back to work so hard? Here are a few things I've gathered from my first week back to work.
Craving the Pre-Baby Normalcy
One fear you may have is going back into your pre-baby normal routine. 8 + hours away from your child, how on Earth will you even concentrate? If you are a teacher like me then you know this fear is intensified. Teaching doesn't allow you to sit at your desk and slowly get back into the swing of things. You are 100% focused on new (or old) students, schedules, meeting, routines, conferences etc. The feeling of normalcy seems so far away from reality, but it really isn't.
Ever hear the phrase, 'old habits die hard'? That rings true when you return to work. The normalcy is there and waiting for you to come back.
Feeling Like an Outsider
I know what it feels like to enter a new school, new group of friends or just a new environment and feeling left out. You will feel like relationships, inside jokes and memories were made while you were gone. I'm here to tell you that the 'outsider' fear is real, but it is really irrational.
You are missed at work and you haven't been gone long enough to truly 'miss' out on anything so drastic that you feel like a newbie again. I walked into a school with a new principal and I still felt at home.
Lack of Sleep
Honestly, this one seems silly, but you wonder how you will survive your first week knowing your little one isn't sleeping through the night. Going back to work also takes a lot more energy than you're used to exerting. This is true, but pregnancy and the newborn phase prepared you for this. You are a strong momma and you will thrive on lack of sleep. (Also invest in a French Press Coffee maker. Lots of caffeine is your friend).
You may feel like leaving your child isn't the best thing for them, but you also need YOU time.
I felt all of those fears that Sunday night before returning to school. I was returning to work with a brand new class that wouldn't look at me as their teacher. We would have to recreate the first week of school, but they all knew each other. I would have to jump in head first into meetings, conferences, schedule changes and classroom management. I felt like I was going to break.
The first week will be hard I can promise you that. I can also promise you that it will feel as if you never left. You will feel, in between the stresses of the workplace, a sense of comfort because you are returning to a place you enjoyed going to everyday. You will realize that you aren't, and never will be, an outsider with your coworkers. You have a special place in their hearts regardless of how long you were out.
Everything will be okay, but ultimately you will be relieved on Friday afternoon knowing you survived your first week back.
Share your return to work stories with me!