Stepping through the week of returning to work

Jul 31 2016 Published by under Uncategorized

Sunday

I wake, laying quietly in bed, thinking of how interesting the last three months have been… That first month of a new baby – whoa. Did the world start spinning at a different speed? A few months ago, I could barely figure out how to physically get out of bed and get food into me, let alone this crying newborn. Now, we have a nice little routine going. In fact, my days have started to feel like they are missing something. Immersion in the outside world, perhaps. It does feel a little repetitive if I don’t get out and do something with baby. Wake, feed baby. Play a bit, feed baby, try to convince baby to nap – ahhh! Stress – baby, please nap. Repeat eat, play, nap. But I like predictable. I like routine for this growing little synapse machine. When things are predictable, I know whether or not I have a good handle on things, and know how to make them better the next day. I feel a little proud – I got her to a good place. But underneath that pride is a little worry. Me going back to work won’t undo that, right?

Monday

Little munchkin is so sweet playing there in the crib when I walk in at the (lately) usual time to get a smile before I pick happy baby up. Oh, the smell of baby. Intoxicatingly relaxing. I go about my routine, now acutely aware that the luxury of these slightly repetitive daily activities is about to come to an end. Mental note –enjoy every second of this day. It takes a lot to remind myself not to stress. We didn’t get munchkin accepting bottles yet. Despite weeks of trying and many different types of bottles. To me, there is a lot to stress about. To future me, this stress is probably laughably tiny. But, I am not future me.

Deep breath – enjoy everything about today.

Ahhh! Baby will starve!

Deep breath – oh, that baby is so cute.

Tuesday

Today is supposed to be overlap day with dad– the next caretaker. One of the ideas was to have it be Dad-led day. But there are so many chores and tasks and a yard project to work on. Dad ends up working outside most of the day. He has been around, knows the routine, and knows the tired/hungry signs, I think. All the sudden the day is over. There wasn’t actually much overlap today, but everything will be fine, right?

Mental checklist – did I get everything I need into my purse from my other purse (formerly known as diaper bag)? Did I make enough food for the next few days? What is lunchtime, again? Did I get the A/C adapter and all the other parts and pieces for the breast pump? Did I pack enough ice for the milk to sit on? How am I going to carry all these bags around tomorrow?!? Uhhhh, crap, I have to wear normal clothes again – crap, none of these pants fit me! Hmmm, where did I put those stretchy waistband maternity slacks, again? Ahh, that is much more comfortable. Eww. I have to wear a bra again – these nursing tank tops are waaay more comfortable.

Ahhh! Baby is not taking a bottle!

Deep breath.

Wednesday

Wake up, feed and walk the dog, make breakfast and get dressed. I am leaving a little later than I did pre-baby to try and breastfeed her well before heading off to work – without early wakeup. So far, so good. I will hit a little traffic, but, oh well. I filed the paperwork to switch from 9 hr workdays back to 8 so that I don’t have to be gone so long. I will miss bi-weekly day off, but maybe I can get back to it, eventually.

As my car rolls up to work, I have these very strange emotions. I am excited, nervous, anxious, and second guessing myself, all in one flash. It is a little surreal, because I have not gone through these motions in months. I feel the same as the familiarity floods back, but it is weird. Everything is different. I have a kid. But I am still me. I guess I am still figuring out what being a mom means.

It is very strange to bring this extra giant bag with me full of pumping stuff. Thankful for pinterest in its suggestions about what to put in a pumping bag, but man, this thing is huge.

Whoa – emails galore. I did occasionally sift through work emails, but there is a lot to catch up on at my computer for the next few days.

It is very strange to take the elevator down to the pumping room when the time comes. I am so thankful for my other recent mommy coworker who shows me the ropes and offers me advice for my very frequent questions.

Ahhh! Is my baby eating? Check the baby tracking app. AHHH! She hasn’t eaten anything yet and it is 2pm! She will starve! Ahh!

Get home – awwwwww! Baby is soooo cute! Mmm, I missed that baby smell. Oh, wow, she is really hungry.

Thursday

Back at it. Ok, I know what to expect in the morning now. Tank up, baby, ’cause you did not eat enough yesterday.

Hmm. I should probably go get a few things that fit better. Wardrobe still feels very limited.

My coworkers are very understanding, for the most part. Some ask questions about how it has been for me and relate with their own experiences. Some are so sweet and just want to see pics of baby. Oooookkkaaaayyyy, I guess I can show you some of the 20 bazillion on my phone.

Ahh! Is baby eating today? No bottle, still! Time to call the doctor. What other mom friends do I have that I can ask about this?

It is really nice to ease back into work. There are not a lot of expectations placed on my to get anything done immediately. I find a way to make myself useful today, but still just playing catch-up and reorienting myself to lab.

Get home – oh dear, baby is really, really hungry, but I pumped all day. Not good.

Whoever gave me the advice to return on a Wednesday instead of Monday, I want to hug you.

Friday

New game plan. Tank baby up, still continue to get her used to a bottle, but husband brings baby to me at lunch. Oh man, I am tired today – the several addition nighttime wake-ups last night were unwelcome and exhausting.

Pump and watch adorable videos of baby.

Start getting organized for the thing I want to do next week at work. Read through a lot of the old work I did before I left to remind myself of the small details.

Oh man.

Survived the week. And so did baby, despite her drastically different eating habits. While in some ways, my stress persists about baby regressing from a nice healthy schedule, all in all, we are all still good. Next week is a new week. We can attack with a new strategy.

The saga continues…

I am so thankful for my other mamma friends who have given me such solid advice, on this blog, and elsewhere about not having high expectations about jumping back into work. I would normally expect myself to jump right back into the deep end, but hearing other people talk about it has helped me wade in more slowly from the shallow end. It is ok to take my time.


One response so far

  • Ugh. My kids hated the bottle. One of them never took one (bleah), the other would take an hour to drink 4 oz. The good news is that they adjust. The bad news is that you might be feeding baby all night. Can you nurse lying down? I was also extremely sad to have a freezer full of milk we didn't know if we would ever use. It does work fine in cereal, though, but you can't pre-mix it.

    For daycare, we started solids 3 weeks before bottle-free baby needed to start, and sent daycare applesauce and extremely runny cereal. Luckily, bottle-free baby liked food. Going back to work was hard, but after you get into a new routine, it gets easier. I missed my job a lot, and was happy to get back to the office (as much as I loved the ProdigalKids). To be honest, our bottle-refusing kids did way better eating at daycare than home with Dad. Bottle-reluctant baby (who took a bottle very, very slowly) took bottles better from people who were not Mom and Dad. And bottle-refusing baby happily chowed down applesauce and took to a sippy cup at daycare long before using one at home.

    I think you are smart to take things slow and steady. You have enough stress in your life right now without putting unnecessary pressure on yourself. Good luck!

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