There’s plenty of things that change when you have a baby, especially as a mom. Your body will never be the same (at least for most women), being able to eat a hot meal without little fingers poking around your plate, a full-nights sleep, but most importantly your priorities for how you spend your time. One of my biggest shifts in priorities is not spending all the extra hours at my full-time job and learning to let go and spend time with Ivy. Don’t get me wrong, it’s definitely a struggle sometimes to leave work and shut my brain off, but I’m always quickly reminded about how fast the days go and how quickly she’s growing up.
I’ve been back to work for over 10 months now and here are some of the things I’ve learned in the process.
- It’s tough to bounce back to a career-driven mindset. I was lucky and had the opportunity to take twelve weeks off after having Ivy, so it wasn’t easy reacclimating myself to working again. When I got back to work my manager had just gone out on maternity leave as well so it was additional added stress of trying to understand what I had missed over the past three months.
- Leaving your baby in the hands of someone you don’t know that well takes some getting used to. But it gets easier. We had a big housing debacle near the end of my pregnancy and didn’t move into our home until 11 days before I was induced with Ivy. Because of that I didn’t have the opportunity to throughly vet out and find daycare because we didn’t know where we were going to live until like a month before she was born (but that’s a story for another post). I was mid-way through my maternity leave before I figured out where Ivy would be hanging out when I went back to work and there’s nothing more stressful as a new parent than trying to find the right person to care for your baby.
- Your vacation days can rarely be used for vacations. One new struggle to plan around is when and how to use my vacation time now that I have to think about Ivy. My vacation days are now planned around when our daycare provider has her time off as well as banking it for any potential sick days I may need to take unexpectedly because of sick child. Thankfully, my work is pretty flexible when it comes to parents schedules, and allow the option to work from home if it’s needed. They also offer a pretty generous vacation policy, which is definitely needed when we factor in the time off our daycare provider is guaranteed (she deserves it though!).
- Your weekends are now spent getting everything done you don’t have energy for during the week. Okay, this one might not be that different from when you were pregnant, at least it’s not for me. While Ivy’s a pretty good sleeper, I still don’t get a full straight 8 hours of sleep (heck, I don’t even get a straight 4 hours of sleep most nights) so my evenings aren’t as productive as I’d like them to be. Very rarely will I get a big enough pep in my step to get a good amount checked off my to-do lists, so that’s what my weekends are for now. Besides trying to squeeze in cleaning the house, laundry, grocery shopping between spending what little time I have with Ivy, we also try to squeeze some time in for ourselves, our friends and families.
- You get torn between feeling driven and accomplished in your career and the need to want to be there for your baby every. single. day. So this one might not apply to everyone, but it’s certainly one that I don’t see myself struggling with for a long time, if ever. I don’t love my job, but I do love that it gives me a sense of purpose and that I’m able to help support my family financially. On the other hand, I would love the opportunity to stay home and raise Ivy myself rather than sending her to daycare 5 days a week (even if we love our daycare provider). I’ve always told my husband that if the opportunity presented itself to be a stay at home mom I would definitely do it – but I would still need something on the side that allowed me the opportunity to make some money and still have an identity outside of being a mom. Mom is (and always will be) one of my most important jobs, but I personally feel like every woman should find someone outside of being a mom that she can throw some of her time and attention into. And don’t get me wrong, ever since I have had Ivy this is definitely an area I struggle with, which is part of the reason I started blogging.
I’m sure as Ivy continues to get older and my time back at work continues there’ll be many more insights to add to this list. I would love to hear your stories – what’s your work story look like? Did you head back to a job or career after starting your family? Are you a new or seasoned stay-at-home parent?