Going Back To Work After Maternity Leave | Learning To Let Go
“A BIG Mess” – Nikki, age 2
Before starting my new job I had the normal butterflies in my stomach as anyone would at the start of something new. My biggest worry wasn’t about how I was going to transition but how my daughter would be without me by her side during the day.
The Attachment and Fear
When you spend day in and day out with your little one it is natural to be attached to each other. There were days were I yearned for some “me time” and on the rare moments that I would get this time, I would feel incomplete without my toddler attached to my hip (she literally never leaves my side and when she does she is screaming, “Mommy”). Now many of my immediate family members can attest to this as they have tried to take care of her but as soon as she notices that I have left the room, she starts to cry “Momma.” So you can say that I was really worried on how she was going to adjust without me.
Even though it was my mom who was going to care for her, it didn’t mean that the adjustment would be easy since Nikki hasn’t stayed with her for long periods of time. Now many people have asked me why I haven’t left Nikki with her grandmother and my answer is always the same to everyone who keeps asking. Before my mom retired, she worked full time and I know how hard her job was physically on her. She would get home after 5pm from work and I didn’t have the heart to leave my energetic toddler with my mom who was so exhausted from work. Then on the weekends is when we would designate family time as that was the only time we had with my husband so timing was difficult to find.
But I had to put all fear aside and just jump right in!
Even before getting confirmation of a job offer, I started the preparation. I did this by having conversations with Nikki on what was going to happen once grandma retired. Every day I would tell Nikki that soon Mommy had to go to work to make money for our family. I further explained that while I was at work, she would be with grandma who would be taking really good care of her. Then I would ask her, “Where is mommy going soon?” She would respond with, “Work Momma.” So I knew the message was getting across and thought that this could possibly help with the adjustment to grandma’s house.
The Big Day
The night before the big day, I prepared Nikki’s bag with everything that she may need on her first day. By doing this prep ahead of time made the morning a lot easier to navigate. My morning started at 6:30 AM and of course Nikki was fast asleep. As she enjoyed her beauty sleep, I got her dressed and ready for grandma’s house. She slowly started to wake up as I strapped her into her car seat and I whispered, “Today is the BIG day! Momma is going to work and you are going to have so much fun at grandma’s house.” She smiled and said ok.
I arrived at my mom’s house and a sleepy Nikki came to my lap and hugged me tight. We went inside and as I hugged her good-bye I said that I would be seeing her really soon. As I was about to leave, she grabbed onto me and said, “Love you Momma.” Heart melted at this point. Off I went!
After about eight hours I returned to pick up my little Nikki and as soon as I opened the door she screamed with excitement, “MOMMY!” After that she was stuck on me like glue and made sure I didn’t leave her side (hehe). My mom told me that she did great and had a lot of fun which was such a relief for me to hear. When I asked Nikki what she did at grandma’s house she said, “A BIG mess!” Got to give her points for her honesty!
The First and Second Week
The first and second week had some bumps along the way where Nikki would cry as she wanted mommy but my mom was so great at distracting her with fun activities that it helped Nikki forget all about me. Nikki survived but my heart didn’t hearing her cry as I left for work. So you can say that Momma Braga had some emotional bumps along the road too. We are slowly learning to adjust and adapt to our new routine. It has been good in the sense that Nikki is adjusting well with grandma and the bumps have been trying to get a routine down that will work for our family.
The changes have disrupted Nikki’s sleep patterns (more than usual as she has always been a horrible sleeper since Day 1) dramatically as her naps have been really late which in turn has made bedtime much later than this working mom wants it to be. But it is what it is and we have to see what plan/routine will work for us. We just have to keep going and adjust as we go along the way.
Overall, I can’t complain as I am very fortunate to have my mom watch over my daughter while I help my family financially.
I have loved the way my daughter gets excited to see me and the extra tight hugs that I get. I love how my daughter wants to talk on the phone with me. I love the daily reports that I get from my daughter on what she has done that day. I love the “I Love You” that she tells me every day. I love being able to work outside the home and contribute financially to my family.
So all these love’s outweigh the sleepless nights and I remind myself of that when the zombie feeling creeps in. The lesson here is that I learned to let go a little. I was my own obstacle in my fears as clearly my daughter was much more ready then I was. The adjusting is going to take some time and that is perfectly ok. We will continue taking it one day a time and enjoy this new adventure together.
Until next time…Happy Parenting!
By: Momma Braga
Originally Posted Here