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Back to Work after Birth of Baby: 1st Month Reflections

It’s hard to believe I’ve been back from maternity leave for a whole month. I’m thinking I should feel like screaming from a mountaintop, “YEAH WORLD LOOK AT ME – I AM A WORKING MOM – HEAR ME ROAR!” But what I really want to do is…sleep.

This has been the most exhausting month of my life. I thought leaving my precious Owen in the care of someone else was going to be emotionally taxing. But really it’s the stress of organizing, scheduling, and being present for everyone. I feel like I’m on the treadmill of life – running a mile a minute but not getting anywhere.

I once prided myself on the fact that I was on time (and most of the time – early) for everything. Now I can’t quite grasp that I get up at 5:30 a.m. and still have a hard time getting to work by 9:00. I even prep my hair the night before to save time. But it doesn’t matter because it’s not about me getting ready – it’s the 2 kids, the dog, lunches, drop-off at daycare, coffee stop (because after 4-5 hours of sleep I need the boost just to stay awake in the car), etc.

So all morning I’m stressed about getting to work on time. I even pump in the car to save 1 session during the day. Then I am rushing to get my work done so I can pump 2 more times during the day. I run to the nursing room so I don’t missed my scheduled time. I rush to eat lunch because that’s all I know lately. When work is over I rush to get home because I’m convinced Owen is starving by now (he’s not). Then, I rush to eat dinner so I can feed Owen again and put either him or Olivia to bed. Then I rush to get bottles and lunches together for the next day. Finally I have a few seconds to relax before I have to pump and get to bed because for sure Owen will be up 1-2 times before the alarm sounds again at 5:30.

Phew! I’m getting exhausted just typing this. I know this stage is fleeting and millions of working moms have survived but, since I’m in the trenches I just want to praise all of you who have successfully transitioned back to work from maternity leave. And I have to ask…will I ever sleep again?

Editor’s Note: Not too long after she wrote this post, (no surprise) Amy found her footing as a working mom and wrote about her best tips for managing babies first months and days in daycare

8 comments

  1. EARTH MOTHER February 16, 2012 at 9:33 pm

    Yes, you will sleep again–in about 3 years. So grab naps when you can. Don’t be shy about asking friends and family to watch your little sweetheart while you nap. Sleep when the baby sleeps. It does get better, but it takes a while. Hang in there!

  2. Kristin February 17, 2012 at 7:12 am

    Your hubby is helping, right? My hubby had to cook, clean up after dinner, and do all of the grocery shopping when our children were just babies. We both worked. I pumped 4 times a day with our first and breastfed the rest of the time. It was hard work. He made the lunches too. I basically focused on the baby while he took care of feeding us. When the second baby came around, he was feeding three of us while I focused on feeding baby number 2. 🙂

  3. Kristin February 17, 2012 at 7:13 am

    Oh…and my children both went to a Bright Horizons Center…..Awesome place.

  4. Amy

    Amy February 17, 2012 at 5:21 pm

    Not napping like I did on my maternity leave. Boy do I miss those days now! But that’s my plan for tomorrow when my husband is taking my 5-year old skiing. My husband has been doing a lot but definitely not as much as your husband, Kristin. *jealous!* The breastfeeding and pumping has got to be the toughest part of being a working mom. I already had low supply so there’s no slacking off there. 3 years is right around the corner! 🙂

  5. Mica Cataletto February 27, 2012 at 4:40 pm

    The cleaning is the part that overwhelms me. I can manage on little sleep, although i’m not as productive as I was pre-baby. But coming home everyday to dirty dishes, noticing that the kitchen needs to be vacuumed (again?!) and folding the laundry is enough to push a sane person over the edge. It’s also frustrating when you can’t finish the task in front of you because you do need to spend time cuddling and playing with the baby. I love my family, but it’s overwhelming me at the moment.

  6. Jenny Hu August 24, 2012 at 12:50 pm

    Gosh, you’re so right! One thing I’ve learned…everything is a process. Nothing just happens. Everything takes time. You’re body will adjust to the “new normal”. Something else I’ve learned for me, nutrition is gold for energy that lasts throughout the day. I’m not a crazy athlete, I found out by accident. I got on this kick of eating smoothies full of veggies & fruits (carrots, beets, khale, apple, berries)….I have SO much more energy. It’s unreal. I also add oatmeal in there.

    Back to work is tough. And rarely talked about. I’ve read quite a bit about it & so much of it is all “generalities”. It doesn’t help. Learning what worked & why, what didn’t work & why, what moms would never do again & why, what moms wish they would have done & why….that kind of specificity helps us make better decisions. Check out this site, I just found it & it’s so incredibly helpful. I wish I had it earlier- yourbabybooty.com/category/interviews/

  7. Carisa March 18, 2014 at 1:26 pm

    I totally agree with Jenny! I feel like going back to work and juggling being a first time mother AND work (while pumping and managing the constant to-do list that is always in my mind) has been the most stressful part of motherhood thus far, and I include the pregnancy, delivery and breastfeeding in that mix! I sometimes feel bad when I tell people how hard this transition has been, and they automatically assume that it is because of the separation from my little one all day, and I have to tell them that it is not that at all (we are lucky that is not an issue since our little one LOVES his Bright Horizons teacher), but figuring out how to keep everything afloat.

    I was talking to my sister-in-law about it last weekend. She is also a working mother with two children, and she said that she thinks that we as women put too much pressure on ourselves. Society has told us that we can balance both, but not how to do efficiently. So when the fridge is not flush with fresh fruit and veggies, or if the hamper is full of dirty laundry and the baby doesn’t have any clean burp cloths, or when you and your partner are eating cereal for dinner AGAIN the woman feels like that is her shortcoming. Like it is on her shoulders. And I say all of this when I have a husband who is very hands-on with everything, but for some reason I feel like I have to be this stoic mother who does everything. It’s crazy! After that conversation with my sister-in-law I immediately looked into house cleaning services. Hopefully that is the first of many steps to letting go a little more so I can just enjoy our life and our son!

  8. Pingback: Celebrating Dad's First Father's Day...for the Second Time | Bright HorizonsThe Family Room |

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