If you are getting ready to have a baby, then you’ve probably thought about the transition from working woman to working mom. You may be debating staying home with your new baby or figuring out when you will head back to work after taking your absurdly short maternity leave.
For the moms who land in the latter group, heading back to work can shake up all kinds of questions and emotions. What can you expect as you make your transition back in to your old world after having a life-changing event?
Here are 5 realities of heading back to work after having a baby:
1. It’s OK to feel sad, mad, guilty, happy, ecstatic, and anything in between. Hell, there may be times you feel ALL of those emotions in a single day! There’s no right way to feel about heading back to work. If you are secretly counting down the days ’til you head back to your old routine, don’t feel ashamed! And alternatively, if you are beside yourself with having to leave your baby for even a second to go back to your job, that’s OK, too! Don’t let anyone make you feel like you aren’t reacting properly to your transition.
2. If you decide to pump at work, just know you will more than likely become overly familiar with a closet, or some other tiny space. This is where you will become half-naked and waste 20 minutes of your life, always on edge wondering if one of your co-workers will accidentally walk in on you mid-pump.
You’ll also start recognizing other pumping moms. because we all carry the same damn black tote bag containing our tit torture devices. Give them a silent nod in solidarity as you pass by in the hallway.
And make sure your Netflix subscription is up to date. You’ll need a distraction from the disturbing whooshing sound of the pump that constantly reminds you of your cow-like status.
3. There are some perks with going back to work that you won’t be able to deny. Sure, you will be counting down the hours until you can hold your squishy baby again. But for real, eating lunch while it’s still hot is amazing. AH.MAZING.
Plus, you get to pee alone, you don’t smell like puke or piss, and you don’t have to change any diapers for an extended period of time. It’s totally OK to love this part about being back at work.
And bonus points for all the adults you get to talk to. Take a break from the high-pitched sing-song voices you’ve been using to soothe your new baby and have some ACTUAL two-sided conversations with adults.
4. You will constantly be wondering what your baby is up to when you are away. Is she sleeping soundly? Is she eating right now? Is she smiling/clapping/crawling/pooping, etc.?
Inevitably, you will worry that you are missing out on a milestone or something else amazing that they are doing without you there to witness it.You’ll ask for pictures and videos from whoever is watching your baby and you’ll check your phone every two minutes waiting for them to come in. And then you’ll smile like a fool in the middle of a meeting when you see your little one’s face pop up.
5. Your priorities may shift a bit. Before having a baby your work may have been close to the top of your list of priorities, but once baby arrives, suddenly work takes a back seat. That isn’t to say you won’t continue to work your ass off as you always have. You will. But the sense of urgency has faded a bit.
When you become a mom, and by default responsible for another human being, other things seem to be less life and death in comparison. That email that comes in at quitting time will still be there in the morning, and leaving to head home and see your baby wins out.
Heading back to work after having a baby is always a little weird, a little awkward, a little awesome, and a little terrifying at the same time. Your emotions will have a range to them you never thought possible. But one thing will remain the same. The feeling you get when you see your baby after a long day of work: priceless!