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a working mom

January 9, 2014

I go back to work in 13 days. For those who don’t know what I do, I’m a public school second grade elementary teacher. I absolutely love my job. I think I’m good at my job. I look forward to my job. I never once entertained the idea of not going back to work after having Trey. Partly for financial reasons and partly for the reasons mentioned above. When I was pregnant it was hard to know how I would feel about certain things. Returning to work certainly falls into that category.

10 weeks post partum I see the 12 week deadline fast approaching and I am filled with all kinds of emotions. Part of me wants to throw a tantrum complete with kicking and screaming because I’m not ready. Then there is a part of me who wants to go back and do the job I love so much.

The thing is I know I have the perfect job to be a mom. Summers off, lots of built in breaks throughout the year, and good hours. I also work at a great school with some remarkable people. I know all that and remind myself often. I guess I wasn’t prepared for how much I would love my son. I know that sounds weird but until I had him I didn’t know. I didn’t realize how many sacrifices I’d willingly make and not think twice about until he was born. Up until that point my primary concern had been myself and now I’m second. I willingly put myself second to him right how. Becoming a mom changed me overnight and I absolutely love it.

I know I can’t stay home but a part of me doesn’t want to leave. I’m scared he won’t understand. All he’s known his entire life is me staying home with him and now all the sudden on a day that is just like every other day to him I won’t be there. It breaks my heart a little. It breaks my heart a lot. At 9:30 instead of having Trey asleep on my chest I’ll be teaching Math. Then the fear rises up: Will he remember me? Will he like the nanny more than me? Will I stop knowing him and what he likes and dislikes? Will he forgive me? Will he be okay without me? Will he be safe? Will he thrive and learn? I know he’s only 3 months old but these are the real fears I have.

Then there’s the fear of balance. How will I do it? How will I fit it all in? How will I be a good teacher, mom, wife and still find the time to take care of me? How will I do it? Can I do it? I realize every working mom has gone through this. I know I was meant to be a teacher and I love being in the classroom. I also know I’ll adjust, Trey will adjust and we’ll all be fine. We will find our groove.

It’s just hard. And I’m sad. Any working moms out there willing to share their tips and advice?


22 Comments leave one →
  1. January 9, 2014 6:57 pm

    Oddly, I’m just now hitting that point too with an almost 13 year old and a 15 1/2 year old. Tony stayed home with Jay. I had to back to work when at 6 weeks postpartum. While I was lucky he was home with his dad, it was brutal for me to be away. It does get easier though. There is a pattern and groove that you will all get in to and it will feel normal. You’re such a good mama. Trey knows that too my friend. 🙂 No matter what, you will always be his #1. Hugs friend!

  2. Tiffani permalink
    January 9, 2014 7:23 pm

    I have done both the working mom role and the sahm role. I thrive being a sahm, but it has it’s pros and cons as well. I think the key is giving yourself and your family time to adjust. You are not going to want to come home and rush to dinner, but instead rush to give kisses and snuggles. Make some easy meals for the first few weeks, and do not worry at all about the dust in the house. Give yourself permission to have a few melt downs and truly miss your son. You are right, until you have a kid, you really don’t know how you are going to feel. No one can prepare you for this kind of love. I promise you, he will be great with his nanny. Odds are its harder on you than him. He will grow into his new schedule and all will work out. It might be a rough few weeks, but you can do this. If you figure out you can’t, then its time to see if there’s anything you can do that allows your ability to stay home. Either way, it all works itself out. Just try really hard not to beat yourself up…some moms really thrive having their adult job and coming home to baby! I know you can do it…and you’ll be great at it!

    • January 9, 2014 9:13 pm

      Thank you Tiffani. I appreciate the support. 🙂

  3. Kim permalink
    January 9, 2014 7:36 pm

    I went back when Bella was 16 weeks. I traveled extensively for my previous job. Honestly, it was nice. Nice to have “me” time again. Selfish, maybe, but for me, at the time, is what I needed. Fast forward a few months. When Bella was 1.5 yrs old, I could not stand to be away any more and have a nanny raise her. Traveling was not fun anymore and while I loved my job, I was missing my family more. So, I quit…that was 11yrs ago! Went from corporate role to homeschooling her. I LOVE my new job.

    Trey will be ok, you will be ok. It wasnt until Bella was older that is was a lot harder for me. Missing first steps, first words, that was hard. You are lucky, you do not travel for your job and schedule wise have an amazing schedule!! Good luck mama!

    • January 9, 2014 9:12 pm

      Thanks for the encouraging words. I do recognize how fortunate I am to have such a great schedule. Knowing that Spring Break is less than 2 months away and the summer is 2 1/2 months after that makes it seem more manageable. It’s like just make it until June 6th and then you have the entire summer with him!

  4. Jenna permalink
    January 9, 2014 8:11 pm

    Man- this reminds me a lot of myself 4 years ago. I think the best advice I have is that you won’t and can’t do everything perfectly. I had to learn that there was no way I could devote as much of myself to my job as I once did and still feel like a good mom. This is a hard concept. But once you get there and get to the point where you believe you can still do a good job being a mom and a teacher even with less time and dedication, you will feel a weight lifted off. The leaving your kids part unfortunately never got easier for me :(. Parts of it were easier but parts get harder. I wish I had better advice for that part ! Ha- good luck, you will do great

    • January 9, 2014 9:09 pm

      Thanks Jenna…I know I’m not alone and lots of people go through this. It helps knowing that.

  5. January 9, 2014 8:55 pm

    Great post Kelly. I love this “I wasn’t prepared for how much I would love my son.”
    Know you can call us anytime to run across the street to check on Trey. Definitely not the same, but hopefully brings a little bit of comfort.

    • January 9, 2014 9:08 pm

      Thanks Kenny…I may take you up on that!! Just so I know things are okay at home with the nanny.

  6. January 9, 2014 11:20 pm

    Oh Kel! You know how I feel about this! It is SO SO SO hard to leave your child, but it gets easier every day once you realize they do remember you and you still do know them better than anyone else. Trey will most likely love his nanny, but he will always LOVE you. They just know who their moms are. Every single person I know who has gone back to work has voiced this fear and it has yet to come true. It will be hard at first, but you will adjust. Think how hard your first few weeks of being a mom were and how much better things are now – it’ll be like that. Every day will get a little easier as you figure out your ‘new normal’. The best part is that you love your job and WANT to do it. I think that makes it a little easier. Just take it one day at a time!!

    • January 10, 2014 10:02 am

      Ugh. Just ugh. You know I’m going to call you in tears the weekend before right?

  7. January 10, 2014 8:11 am

    Oh, Kelly– you know I feel you on this one. I know I already said it on Facebook, but I’ll say it again– THINKING about having to go back to work is SO much harder than actually going back. Once you’re back in your classroom with your kids, you’ll remember what you love about it and will be fine. Some days will be harder than others, but I bet you’ll be really glad that you made the decision to keep working. And NO, baby Trey won’t forget you!! If anything, working helps me to appreciate my time with Lila even more.

  8. Melissa permalink
    January 10, 2014 8:46 am

    I just went back to work after my maternity leave. Alexandra was 3 months and I had to put her in daycare. It was sooo hard for me at first. Much harder for me than her. She was all smiles. I am speech therapist in an elementary school, so similar schedule as to yours. It was hard thinking about going back to work. Once I did it and go into the routine, it did get easier. Baby steps. I went back right before Christmas break, so i counted down to that. Now, I am thinking – okay it is only a few more weeks until Feb vacation. We are really fortunate to have these breaks. The hardest thing for me has been finding time to exercise and cook. Before having Alexandra, I exercised 5 times a week. I am lucky if I get 3 days in. Things come up and babies are unpredictable. I just look at her and I am so happy. I am okay with only exercising 3 days a week now. I know it is not forever. I need to get a spin bike in my house!! Also, my husband travels for huge. He is gone Mon-Friday so that makes it very difficult to find “me time.” Hence, the lack of exercise and cooking. Each day gets easier and more amazing!! At work, I get so excited to see my baby at the end of the day. I think it is also good for us emotionally to work. To interact with other adults and for your baby to get used to someone else besides you. You will be GREAT!!!!

    • January 10, 2014 10:02 am

      Thank you so much for sharing this with me! I can’t imagine having my husband be gone 5 days a week…kudos to you. I know we’ll adjust and things will be okay. I just feel really sad…you know? But thank you for letting me know I’m not alone!

  9. rushedmommy permalink
    January 10, 2014 9:59 pm

    It’s hard to leave your baby and go back to work. Every mom I know has a story to tell of that first day they handed their fresh new baby to someone who was not Mom and the heartache they endured that day at work. I’m a teacher, too. I’ve had 3 children during the school year (next time I’m going to plan the due date so it’s over the summer!) and I know how you feel. A teacher’s work day can run much longer than your contract hours. You sound like you have great coworkers, so use their shoulder to cry on (hopefully you won’t need to, but I’m sure they will be supportive), and make an effort to rush home ASAP at least one day a week. And maybe, just this school year, don’t put as much time into your job. For me that has been the biggest hurdle because its so frustrating knowing what an awesome job I COULD do, if only I stayed later. But with twin babies at home, family comes first. Trey will be happy and oblivious that you’re gone, then give you the biggest smile when he sees you. Tell yourself he will be fine, you’re a good mom, and treasure those snugly moments.

  10. January 15, 2014 6:23 pm

    I’ve been there and felt everything you are feeling. LIke the other commenters say, you have to give yourself a lot of grace. Scrambled eggs are a totally acceptable dinner if you want to spend more time on the couch with your baby. Ponytails are acceptable if you need to sleep an extra 20 minutes after a rough night and skip the shower. Laundry can wait until the weekend.

    You will have a rough first day or two and then you’ll be surprised how it becomes routine and you all adjust. And thrive. 🙂

    ps – I wish you were my girl’s second grade teacher! Want to transfer to San Antonio ASAP? I’ll keep Trey for you!

  11. January 18, 2014 2:47 pm

    Your fears are totally normal but you will both be fine! I worked full time until we moved to NJ 3 years ago (my boys are now 17 and 10). The first day back is REALLY hard. I don’t want to minimize that. But for me, it was much better to go back to work. I’m not sure I would have had the patience to deal with toddlers 24/7. He will love his nanny, but no one else can ever replace Mom. I felt like I was a better mom having gotten a break during the day to be just me instead of a mom.

  12. January 21, 2014 1:11 pm

    I am only at 6 weeks postpartum and already feeling the dread of back to work creeping in. Like you I love my job and I also love the adult interaction. Many of my coworkers are my friends and I also love working out on my lunch breaks! Despite all of that I would stay home in a heartbeat if we could swing it financially. I can’t imagine now being with my little guy everyday. I totally feel your pain but honestly think that once you get into a rhythm of being back at work, things will definitely get easier! I try to remind myself that I’ll actually be able to eat my lunch in peace lol. The little things ;-)!

    • January 21, 2014 2:55 pm

      Well as a teacher I typically slam my lunch in 25 minutes while grading papers or responding to email but I am usually sitting! Ha!! Tomorrow’s the day…I feel it looming over me. 😣

      • January 21, 2014 3:35 pm

        I have so many teacher friends and totally forgot how awful your lunch breaks are! I’ll be thinking of you tomorrow. At least you only have 3 days to get through on your first week back. Good luck girl!!!

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