Good morning! How is everyone’s Monday going? Last week was my first week back at work after being on maternity leave for a year. On top of that the whole house was and is still, as I type, sick. Well the dog isn’t. Lucky guy. Since it started with baby, I blame it on daycare. She must have caught something during her gradual entry. Sigh….daycare, can’t live without it, can’t live with it. Anyhoo, needless to say, having a sick, extra clingy baby did not make the week easier. I had a lot of anxiety about going back to work. Here are a few reasons why:
Leaving my baby
This wasn’t as difficult as I thought it would be. I think it was because I knew she was in good hands. Since she was sick, she was only able to go to daycare one day. The other days, my husband and mom took care of her, whom I trusted would care for her to the best of their abilities. Even so, I checked in with my husband multiple times a day, but did restrict myself to calling my mom only once. While she was in daycare, I left it to my husband to check in on her. The first day back at work was a little tough because everyone asked how I was feeling about being back and how my baby was. This made me think about her, how she was sick and I wasn’t with her. So, I was fine, if I didn’t think or talk about her. Easy, right? The transition was definitely easier for her than for me. She would wave goodbye to me in the mornings and when I returned at night, she would look up from whatever she was doing and just smile. She did not cling to me as I left the house or cry for me to hold her when I got home. I am a bit sadden by this, that she does not need me so much anymore. But I suppose this is a good thing.
Going back to work
While on maternity leave, I kept in touch with a few co-workers and had also been checking work email, so I knew what was going on. In the past year, the company and my department has grown substantially. There have been a bunch of new hires and our department has expanded both in manpower and space. What I was anxious about was going back and being the “new” person, even though I had already worked there longer than the people who were hired while I was away. I was worried that I would have to rebuild old relationships and not be “in the know” anymore. I was worried for nothing. All my co-workers were so happy to see me come back. I had the same rapport with everyone as I had before I left. I was able to jump right into the lab since I didn’t have to be trained and get started with experiments (this helped with keeping my mind off baby).
It was like I never left. I was new, but aside from not knowing the names connected to a bunch of new faces and where my desk and the washroom were, a lot has remained the same. I have to admit that going to work is like going on a mini vacation away from baby each day. I get to get “dressed up”, put on some makeup, have “adult” conversations and finish a meal. Maybe going back to work is a good thing. Maybe it’s good for me….
Even though I’ve had my license for years, I’ve never had my own car so I am a very inexperience driver. I always just took transit everywhere. When I was in university, it would sometimes take an hour to get to school by bus because of traffic, but I didn’t mind. I was able to study or sleep on the bus. No stress of being behind the wheel while sleep derived. When I started working, I either lived really close to work or lived close to transit so driving to work was unnecessary. Before baby was born, we moved into a new place, that is not so transit friendly. It would take me about 50 minutes to get to work by bus, but that’s if I catch the bus at the right time. If I didn’t, I would have to wait 20 to 30 minutes since the bus doesn’t come very often. Even though I had started driving more while on maternity leave (to go yoga, to go buy groceries and yarn 😉 ), these trips were short. I did not have to drive on the highway or cross a bridge, something I would have to do to go to work. Up until the night before work I was still thinking about taking the bus. When I told my husband this, he said, “I didn’t know you were a coward!” Well, that made me a little mad. So, I did a test run. I got onto the highway and drove across the bridge and back. It wasn’t so bad because it was after dinner on a Sunday. There wasn’t a lot of cars on the road. This gave me the confidence to take the car the next day. Oh boy, I was nervous that first morning. There were way more cars than the night before. But that kind of made merging onto the highway easier. The rest of the way to work was uneventful. On the way home, however, I wasn’t very careful when changing lanes after getting on the highway, that I almost caused an accident. Scared the #*$% out of me! After a week of driving back and forth, I am still anxious and not very confident behind the wheel. Hopefully, that will change with time.
So, that was my first week back at work. It wasn’t so bad, after all. We will see how the next weeks and months play out.
How did you deal with going back to work after having baby?