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Real Moms Talk About Going Back to Work: Sara's Story
For many women in America, heading back to work after the birth of their baby is a necessary fact of life, one that can be fraught with much emotion and stress. Just when you got used to long days of snuggling with your little one, it’s time to head back to the workplace. All this week, you’ll hear real stories of real new moms as they head back to work after the birth of their first baby.
Meet Sara: brand new mom to Madeline. After just three months, she heads back to work today.
Congrats on your little one! Tell us about Madeline and how new motherhood has been so far.
Madeline is a little bean sprout constantly growing and learning new things. Lately she’s been fascinated by the new sounds she makes while babbling. As a first time mother, I felt overwhelmed at times especially during the first five weeks or so.
I really don’t think there’s any book, blog, friend or another mother that could fully prepare you for what you are about to experience as a new mom, especially since each baby is so different and how a person copes with stress is unique to that person. That said, it has been a great experience: the ups and downs, the unknowns and smiles are all well worth it!
Tell us a little bit about what you do for work.
I’m a marketing manager focusing on small businesses for a tech company in Boston, Massachusetts. I have been working for the firm for two and a half years and I love my job. This has been the first job and company that I have truly loved working for in quite some time.
Today is a pretty big day for both you and Madeline. How do you feel about going back to work? What makes you nervous about heading back today?
I have mixed feelings about going back to work. On one hand, I’m looking forward to engaging in adult conversations again, looking forward to contributing to the family finances and continuing to work on my career. On the other hand, I feel like I’m putting myself first and letting someone else raise our child.
I’m nervous that I’m going to miss out on a lot of “firsts.” I’m also nervous about how to juggle being a mom, a wife and a co-worker/career woman. I’m nervous about how I will manage pumping during the day between all the meetings that I manage and oversee.
I’m also nervous on how I’ll be viewed within the office and among my peers as I now have something else that comes first in my life: my daughter. Until now, that priority has always been work… but that is no longer the case. I want to advance my career, but don’t want to be viewed as “slacking off” because I’ll be operating differently during the day than I had done so before I left for my maternity leave.
Tell us a little bit about how you’re handling childcare.
My husband and I chose a family daycare within walking distance of our home. We have two neighbors who also send their children there and love it. My mother also plans on watching Madeline on Fridays. We plan on splitting the drop-offs and pick-ups so that it works with both of our schedules, but we won’t really know how it will go until we start.
What advice do you have for other new moms who may be headed back to work soon?
If you’re uncertain about your role when you get back to the office, I suggest speaking with your supervisor prior to going back to work if possible, to work out any details or particulars so that you are comfortable and confident when you go back to the office on what you are doing.
Also, prepare for daycare: provide any instructions on how your little one should nap; pack enough diapers, diaper cream, wipes, bottles, and all those baby accessories; figure out who has pick up and drop off responsibilities each day, and so on. Also, to make life easier, plan out your dinners for a week a head of time so that it’s one last thing you need to think about when you get home!
Thank you Sara so much for sharing your story about heading back to work.
I know today is a huge day loaded with emotion and you’ll be missing Maddie – and I know you can’t wait to see her tonight just as soon as you get home. She’s doing great today and I know it’s a huge adjustment for both of you… and I know you’ll both get through it with grace and confidence!