Returning to work is a difficult and emotional challenge that many moms must face. I had three months of paid leave and though I had prepared for the day, so I thought, I never knew the emotional and physical challenge would be so difficult.
I had been pumping and stock piling milk in preparation. About three weeks beforehand I started teaching lil man how to take a bottle. I have heard horror stories about mama’s that didn’t do this and their infant refusing to eat when in childcare so I cannot emphasize how important this is. He hated taking a bottle from me but from daddy or Grammy it wasn’t a problem. I also started prepping my wardrobe since I figured if I looked good I will feel good. I had my hair cut and colored going back to look good, feel good. Childcare was in place and fortunately he would be staying in his home since Grammy was watching him. This made me feel somewhat better.
I really believed I had my ducks in a row and returning would be a breeze. I was so very wrong. I had not been away from him for an extended period of time and this would soon add to my already diagnosed PPD and PPOCD. Sleep deprivation was also worse than prior because my naps during the day were no more. This in turn null and voided my coping skills.
I cried for the first week. I have cameras set in the house so I can see him through the day and in my mind I felt I had abandoned my baby. I felt like I waited so long to have him and now I was not going to get to spend the time with him that I wanted. Once I did get home I would get dinner on the table and then it was bath time and bedtime for him so I still did not get to spend quality time.
I started seeing a pattern and the road I was on was not a good one so I decided things had to change.
- I asked my mom to help me clean while he slept. She has been great in taking that burden off of me.
- I arranged my schedule with my boss to leave a bit earlier in the day so I can get home earlier. I now have playtime and we take nightly walks as a family.
- I am on a consistent pumping schedule now. My supply was going all over the place from stress and not breastfeeding as often.
- I hired a maid (Though that only happened once. My OCD just won’t allow it)
- I started accepting the fact it is okay to eat out at least once a week. Normally I cook every night because I feel like I can make it better. (Again OCD)
- More meals are being prepped in the slow cooker. It really is a lifesaver to come home and dinner already prepared.
- My hubby helps make meals so it isn’t just one of us in the kitchen. We also bring lil man in the kitchen with us and it is now a family event.
- We all eat at the table at dinner!
- I started exercising again. Even though I am tired it gives me strength to make it through the day.
- I changed my diet to include a veggie/fruit smoothie in the mornings. I also am still taking my prenatal vitamins which are a huge help.
I am happy that I was aware of my mental state and able to ask for help. If you are facing the same challenges don’t be afraid to speak up. If you don’t have family around ask a friend. Going back to work can be a smooth transition and I wish I had read more and asked other moms how they did it prior to almost falling apart completely. You’ve got this mama and you are doing great!