Going back to work – the second time around

Maternity leave ended as quickly as it started.  One minute I’m feeling my contractions pick up and the next I am digging deep in my closet for something that will go past my new (hopefully not forever) thighs (ps, dresses are my best friends these days) and getting ready for my first day at work.

I distinctly remember the night before and the first week of going back to work after maternity leave with Peanut.  I was a mess.  I cried as I prepped bottles, I cried as I put newly purchased name stickers and name bands on her stuff, I cried as I tried to fall asleep, I cried as I showered in the morning, and I bawled the entire drive to work.  For the whole week.  Maybe two.

One of the first mistakes I made was to visit daycare during my lunch breaks.  Since my office was a mere 10 minutes away, I rushed out of the office at noon on the dot and burst into the baby room in hopes that Peanut was awake so I could shower her with kisses.  Most days she was asleep.  Every single one of those days I bawled on the drive back to work.  By the end of week two or three I decided I couldn’t handle the emotional turmoil of saying goodbye to her twice a day and I stopped going at lunch.  After that, things started to get a little easier and a little easier and a little easier until I was actually looking forward to going to work and enjoying the new balance.

This time?  Oh, the different lives we lead.

first day second time around

I didn’t buy Taylor any name stickers, and definitely no name bands, primarily because I forgot.  (Don’t worry, I ordered them yesterday from my fav, Gloria’s sticker shop.)  I didn’t think too much about getting back to work except about actual work things (how’s the project going? I wonder how my guys are doing?  I need to remember to pack the iPad).  And I didn’t shed any tears.

The night prior my husband and I talked through our morning routine to make sure that both of us had time to do what we like to do before we go to work (workout, coffee, shower, get dressed), how nursing, pumping and getting the kids dressed would fit in, what time everyone had to be up by.  You know, the important things.  There were no tears.

The morning of we got everyone ready and out the door on time.  (Okay, we forgot the bottles of milk so Jon has to run back while I dragged the 14lb kid in a car seat and the toddler inside.)  Taylor smiled at everyone.  Peanut whined that she wanted me to stay.  I left Taylor with her teacher and snuggled my tot, set up her breakfast, gave her kisses, counted down, and walked out the door.  I kissed my husband goodbye in the parking lot (from which we both drove to the same office…yup) and drove to work.  There were no tears.  There may even have been smiles about the first day back and the hot coffee waiting for me.

Of course, as is my fashion, I analyzed why I wasn’t sad.  And here is what I’ve come up with.

This ain’t my first rodeo.  I know that daycare is good for my kids.  I know that going back to work gives me balance.  I know that the short term sadness will pass.

I also know the wonderful teachers at our daycare and how much they care for our kids.  The first time that I dropped Peanut off was like leaving my precious little being, the one I carried in my belly for 9 months, labored with, and birthed, with strangers.  They didn’t know her – how could they care for her?  What if she cried?  Would they pick her up?  Would they cuddle her?  Would they sing her songs until she smiled again?  And you know what?  They did.  In fact, if I have one complaint about my daycare is that they spoil my children by holding them and cuddling them too much.

Furthermore, the wonderful woman who takes care of the newborns and babies is our babysitter and an almost grandparent to our kids.  She is seriously amazing.

So when it was time to drop Taylor off, I knew exactly who was watching my children and I was confident in them.  They’re like our extended family.  They love our children like family and who wouldn’t want to drop their kids off with their family? (Don’t answer that…I love ours.)

And lastly, I am going back to work part-time.

That’s right.  You read that right.  I will be working Mondays through Wednesday and staying home with my girls Thursdays and Fridays.

The idea started floating in my head when I got pregnant with Taylor and I kept pushing it away.  By the time I was on maternity leave I couldn’t stop myself from daydreaming about spending more time with the girls while they’re young and not in school.  Needless to say, after many many many conversations about budgets, logistics, etc, we decided that I would sit down with my boss and propose a new position and schedule for me.  And it worked.  He agreed.  I did a little happy dance.  And now I have 2 more days with my precious darlings while they’re wicked young.

So there you have it.  That’s my brain dump on going back to work the second time around.

Check back with me tomorrow when I’m home alone with a crying toddler and a screaming infant and I may have other ideas about this part-time gig.  But today?  Today I’m happy.


  1. You go girl! I’m so glad everything is going so well this time around. The girls are well taken care of and you get a little time for you (well you at work.) Ha ha! It’s so great you get to spend Thursday and Friday at home too. The best of both worlds.

  2. I am 99% sure we’ve made our decision to go with daycare over a nanny (for financial and structure/social reasons) and I can’t quite fathom how we’ll get out the door in one piece every morning. This gives me hope. I also can’t imagine how drop off will go the first day but am very confident in my decision to return to work. And not just because we need both of our incomes, but because I know I will be a better mom with a work/parenting balance. I look forward to our daycare teachers becoming like extended family…and if they don’t, I know it is okay to go somewhere else. Pls keep the daycare tips posts coming!

  3. I have to say i find this post to be extremely ironic after all of your posts about being a working mom. Good for you girl b/c I’ve been a sahm for the last 8 weeks and I’m counting down my days to go back. It’s not for the weak at heart- just wait until Taylor starts moving- b/c it sounds like you got the easy one the 1st time too! Good luck!

  4. Sounds like things are working out wonderfully for you! I have been there dropping off my first, then dropping off my second (at the same place). I now get ready to drop off my first at a new place, preschool. Hope it goes as well as everything else has.

  5. I am surprised and SO excited for you!! I loved being part time and I felt like it was a good balance between being at home with my babies and keeping a foot in the working world. Now I am full time at home and its perfect for us, but it isn’t with out sacrifice! We save all year for things that if I were working we would just go out and do. I don’t go and shop and for Christmas I ask for Starbucks cards and “necessities.” All of that to say that some day, I will go back to work, we will have two incomes and our kids will be older and in school. Til then, I will enjoy the crying toddler, fussy baby, discipline and diapers phases that I deal with all.day.long. My days aren’t glamorous and some sure aren’t fun, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world! You are a great mom and I am excited for your transition!!!

    I love too that you have a wonderful daycare and that your kids are in a great place with “extended family” on the days you are at work! Win-win!

  6. Congratulations! Sounds like you made the choice that is right for you personally and professionally, and I’m sure the girls will love the time with you. It’s amazing what a learning curve parenting provides. I remember a contestant from Project Runway talking about having her fifth kid and saying she’ll “just throw him on the pile with the rest of them.” LOL

    I love the picture, too. P clearly looks less than pleased but T is all go-with-the-flow, hanging out. They’re both so beautiful.

  7. Good for you! Can’t wait to hear about how it is at home with both of them though… that will be me in a few months. gulp

  8. Congratulations of going part-time. Is this a permanent change?

    Daycare was a challenge for me, but now with a month of it under my belt I feel like a different person. The baby is blossoming there and I love that our provider loves her so much.

    I love this picture of you and your girls, it shouts LOVE.

  9. What a great opportunity for your family!! So happy for you Kat!

  10. I am so glad it went so well for you! I definitely think since you know and trust your care providers, that makes a world of difference. :)

    Hope all continues to go well!

  11. Wow! Good for you! I was so much sadder to go back the second time. With my first I was really eager to get back to talking to grown ups and using my brain for something other than daytime tv. The second time around I guess I knew what I would be missing out on, especially since I kept Connor home with me during my maternity leave with Amelia. I bet that going back part time makes things a whole heck of a lot easier!

  12. GET OUTTA TOWN!!! Part-time work is the most PERFECT choice for you!!!! I’m so glad you found something that can really give you the best of every world. What a great situation! And holy cow she is so chubby and delicious!!

    Also – leaving Taylor with women you trust completely AND her big sister to be a familiar face and best friend is another huge difference this time around. I know that I worried a ton less with Elena when I knew she had her big brother around :)

  13. I knew I missed something when I saw one of your pictures the other day! Wow! Part-time! What an adventure!

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