Our Working Mama Alexis is returning to work after maternity leave and talks you through her first week back at work.
Granted I’m celebrating a bit prematurely as it is only Thursday afternoon and I feel like collapsing already, but so far so good! What can I report? A roller coaster of emotions for starters, not helped by the extra high hormones that sit around in your body for a whole year after giving birth.
My first day back was great. It was nice to see everyone again; discover I hadn’t forgotten all of my Dutch (thank you Dutch news radio); and dust the cobwebs off the “work stuff” part of my brain that had been on hold for the last four months. But I will be honest: I couldn’t stop thinking about the Munchkin all day and I left embarrassingly early to make sure I was not late to pick her up from her first full day at the creche. She was fine, and I was fine (at least in body).
The second day was a bit less so. Luckily Tuesday are OH’s daddy day so I was heartened to know that at least the Munchkin was with him at home. Still, I rushed home and held the Munchkin until she started protesting, something I think may become a pattern if I’m not careful.
My third day was the toughest: I was tired, my brain was tired. I felt rusty at work, making lots of beginner’s mistakes and feeling very down about how nothing had changed. Of course – it feels more poignant when you have changed a great deal. The Munchkin must have felt my mood and taken pity on her parents, because she only woke once that night. Seven whole glorious hours of sleep (with one small interruption). In the first few years of your child’s life is there anything more sweet than sleep? Maybe it was a one-off, but it was still greatly appreciated!
Today is my new Friday and I think I’m coming down with a cold. I feel tired, but that’s to be expected. I feel better about things in general and, in fact, even the fat mist is not bringing me down. Part of this is a bit of schadenfreude, as work is hosting a big event with lots of folks who had to fly in. Isn’t it a lovely feeling, on a wretched day, to know you don’t have to travel? But also people are cheerful as there are snacks for us all leftover from the event and I have made my peace with the way things are. I am lucky to live in a country where it’s normal for me to be at home with my Munchkin tomorrow, and not have to worry about getting fired for this privilege.
Alexis Podolny Heald
Alexis is the mother of one adorable Munchkin and wife of OH. A working Mama and a new Mama, she writes for us on the challenges of balancing family and work life.