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Deep Breath

by Meghann on January 8, 2016

It’s Friday. Hallelujah!

I just finished my first full week after returning from maternity leave. I’m exhausted, I miss my baby, and I already feel the urge to drop my pump from the roof of a very tall building. You know it’s bad when you start hearing that “swoosh, swoosh” sound everywhere you go (similar to the phantom baby cries I now hear as well).

This week was a lot harder than the measly 2.5 days I had right before the holiday break. I finished those days feeling so cocky. That wasn’t that bad, I thought. I could totally do this. What I failed to consider was what a difference the practically empty office or pre-holiday traffic patterns made to my mood. Now sitting in traffic an hour each way (for a total of 2 hours that eat into my baby time!) makes my blood boil. I thought sitting in traffic was bad before I had a kid, but now I just spend the whole time watching my clock thinking of the shorter and shorter window I have to play with Annanlynn before it’s time to get her ready for bed.

I’m leaving work on the earlier side and still not making it through the door until 6:15. I used to regularly come home at 7:00 so this is an improvement. We’ve fallen into a routine this week of nursing almost as soon as I walk in the door in the evenings, then 30 minutes of play time before it’s time to get ready for bed at 7:00pm. I’ve also fallen into the habit of letting her sleep on me for 30 minutes to an hour before putting her in her bed just so I have a chance to breathe her in and keep her close.

Since our evenings tend to give me anxiety due to the stress of sitting in traffic, I’m forever grateful for our morning time together. When I was on maternity leave Annalynn was regularly getting up around 7:30ish. Originally I had hoped she would stick to that schedule so I had time to shower and get ready for work before she was up, but she decided to have none of that.  She’s now waking up with me at 6:30. Instead of fighting it, I decided to embrace the earlier wake-up and I’m so glad I did. The mornings are our one-on-one time while Daddy sleeps in. I put her in the bouncy and she smiles and coos while I get ready for work. She’s always in the best moods in the morning, so I get my happy, talkative baby time before heading into the office. The best part is I get to hand her off to daddy right when she gets fussy and is ready for her first morning nap {evil grin}.

Being back in the actual office isn’t that bad. I still love the work I do and it’s a great distraction to keep my mind occupied while I’m away. It’s when I’m heading into work and leaving work that I question my life decisions. When I need my baby fix I have access to our monitor from my desk so I can creepily watch Annalynn as she naps or when her and Derek play. I’ll be sad to lose that ability when she starts daycare in a couple of weeks.

I’m still committed to pumping 3x a day at work. As long as I’m aware of meetings ahead of time, I’ve learned to be flexible on when I pump. The highlight of the week was when my co-worker and I had back-to-back meetings offsite and I had to pump while driving us back to the office. We both found it hilarious, thank goodness she has a sense a humor about it all! The best part was when we stopped for Starbucks with the pump still going.

They say the first week is the hardest and they’re not kidding. Leaving my baby girl is hard, knowing this is our new normal makes it even harder. In a few weeks everything will feel like second nature, but for now I’m mourning the end of my maternity leave and missing all of our time together like crazy.

Deep breath. Deep breath.

1 Ash Diamond January 8, 2016 at 4:58 pm

Congrats on making it through the first week. I can only hope, for your sake, that it gets easier each week! Good luck!
Ash Diamond recently posted..Friday Favorites – January 8th, 2016

2 Lindsay January 8, 2016 at 5:00 pm

My son is almost 9 months and still the first thing I do when I come home is nurse him. When I first started back when he was 3.5 months, I also used to let him sleep on my while nursing. I loved it. My hubby once said that he’ll get used to it & that’s not good. Ignore that. You can’t spoil a baby and sure enough he no longer falls asleep because he has more wake time now. He wants to look around to see mommy & daddy now making dinner.

3 Erica January 8, 2016 at 6:23 pm

Hang in there mama!! Pumping totally is the pits! It is the main reason i gave up breast feeding after three months. I just wasn’t producing enough via pumping and it was taking up too much of my work day and making me a crazy person!! Hope you have a wonderful weekend

4 Nicole January 8, 2016 at 6:23 pm

Aww! I’m glad you get the extra morning time by geez, it must be hard! I’ll be back in March and I’m already trying to imagine my schedule and it makes me sad to think of how little I’ll spend with my daughter on weekdays. At least we have weekends!!!
Nicole recently posted..The 2016 Goals That Almost Weren’t

5 Betsy January 8, 2016 at 7:41 pm

Thank you for sharing. I start back at work in 3 weeks and I’ve been crying and so anxious every day. I’m glad to hear your first week back has been ok. I agree, I think
Sitting in traffic wasting time will be the worst. I hope you enjoy lots of baby time this weekend!

6 Alyssa January 8, 2016 at 7:48 pm

I’m 22 weeks pregnant and I’m not dreading labor, I’m not dreading the lack of sleep, but I am dreading another year (hopefully) of pumping at work. Seriously, THE WORST. I found a medela bottle this morning that had fallen behind a shelf and I think I had a second of PTSD. But I’m sure it will become routine like last time and it will all be fine and worth it. But I also wish life could be maternity leave. Sometimes I still rock my son to sleep for a bit even though he’s WAY too old, just to get that time with him. Yay, it’s the weekend, tons of baby time!
Alyssa recently posted..The sweet life of winter break

7 Jess January 8, 2016 at 8:47 pm

It is so tough to leave your baby especially when she is still so tiny. Sounds like you have worked out a nice routine. Soak in the cuddles you can’t spoil them. I still love it when my 5 yr olds fall asleep on me!
Jess recently posted..What do you get outta your bad habits?

8 Jess January 8, 2016 at 9:15 pm

Ugh I have been back to wirk for 2 months and I could have written parts of this post including the dreaded hour long commute and squeezing every second of baby time put of my mornings and evenings. I have put a lot of things on the back burner including exercise to spend more time with my daughter.

Enjoy the baby snuggles after my kid had sleep regression she doesn’t really sleep in my arms anymore

9 Katie @ Live Half Full January 8, 2016 at 10:15 pm

I am going back to work in a week and I’m having all the emotions! When do you plan on working out? That’s one of my worries… since I don’t want to lose time in the morning or evenings with my little man!
Katie @ Live Half Full recently posted..Day in the Life: 10 Weeks

10 Katie January 8, 2016 at 10:39 pm

You can do it!!! Or if you decide you don’t want to…that’s fine too. Whatever works best for your family!
Katie recently posted..Imperfect Progress

11 goldie January 9, 2016 at 8:02 am

I’m in the uk so our laws are different and we can take up to 12 months maternity leave.. I decided to take the full amount (I may be very poor when it ends but never mind!) I have such respect for mummies in the US as the maternity leave laws are SO harsh. Even now when I have 7 months left of leave I’m not sure I can Even Iimagine going back 🙁 Its so hard… and if I feel that way now it must be killing you. You’re doing so well and being so brave.x
goldie recently posted..Oh my days pt 2

12 Dannie January 9, 2016 at 8:28 pm

Man, you’re a strong woman (as are all working moms!)! I can’t imagine how hard that must be. Do you find that you’re able to balance time with your husband and pup as well as Annalynn? Are you planning on training for any races this ear or will that be on the back burner for a bit? All the best to you!

13 Jessica January 9, 2016 at 9:13 pm

My heart hurts for you! It’s such a special time right now. I just cannot wrap my head around the inadequacy of our maternity leave. If you have any job opportunities closer to home, explore them! It will be so worth it. Spending 2-hours a day with your baby is not enough. Xo

14 Jenny January 11, 2016 at 8:04 am

It’s really hard.
I’ve been back at work now for almost a year and while I would argue it never gets easy per say, it does become “normal.”
You will find your groove and you will get into a routine. Just be kind to yourself and to Derek. You will learn more about yourself as a mother over these next few months than you did in the first 3 months.

15 julie January 11, 2016 at 9:26 am

this will be me in a few months 🙁 i would love to see a day-in-the-life post from you at some point to get an idea of how your days are. i won’t be getting home until right around the time you are when i go back to work after the baby comes in june. thinking about not having a lot of time with the baby seriously gives me major sads 🙁

16 Melissa January 11, 2016 at 10:27 am

You are a strong mama! The plus is that you do love your work. I didn’t go back to work after having my daughter because if I had, it would NOT have been a good mom. I couldn’t stand my job, it even had me on antidepressants. I’ve been such a better mom and heck, a happier person, now that I don’t go to work. Building a business from scratch isn’t easy, but for me and my family it’s worth it.
Melissa recently posted..Healthy Food – So What Is It Really?

17 Heather January 11, 2016 at 10:35 am

The first week is definitely the worst! They get easier from there. Especially when you love what you do. I’m lucky enough to have a husband who stays home with our boys so I get daily texts and pics, but I still feel like I miss out on SO much. Mornings, nights and weekends are my everything. It’s hard to balance a job that I love and my precious babies, but we make it through. Like another poster said, the days will get easier or you’ll make them so with new choices.

18 Amber January 11, 2016 at 10:57 am

Pumping does stink. The first time around I wished I had a car adapter for my pump. For me, pumping while commuting has been a great discovery and it’s made a big difference in my attitude towards pumping. Best of luck to you!

19 becka January 11, 2016 at 12:13 pm

It is soooo hard! I went back when my baby was 4 months, but luckily was able to switch to a part-time schedule…and even that is hard. I say, go back to blogging full time so you get more baby time! They’re only little once 🙂

20 Meghann January 11, 2016 at 1:26 pm

I wish I could go back to blogging full time! It would take a lot of work to get back to that status.

21 Jill January 11, 2016 at 1:16 pm

This is my first time commenting! I started reading very recently, after Healthy Tipping Point said Goodbye 🙁

I’m a fellow work-outside-the-home Mommy, but thankfully I don’t have such a long commute. That’s brutal! Could you possibly shift your schedule to try to miss traffic? Like, if you worked 6 AM – 3 PM, and your husband took Annalynn to daycare and you picked her up? There might not be as much traffic at that time! I definitely understand that every minute together is precious!

Also, what do you do for your career? Like I said, I am a very new reader. I was trying to look under the FAQ and the “On the Job” sections, but those are a little outdated! Would love to hear more about it!

22 Meghann January 11, 2016 at 1:25 pm

I’m an event coordinator for a national race series. Unfortunately my hours aren’t very flexible at this time. 🙁

23 Jill January 11, 2016 at 1:27 pm

That sounds like an awesome job! And I can definitely see why you would need to be there during “regular” hours. Hang in there!

24 CaitlinHTP January 11, 2016 at 9:03 pm

Just reading comments and saw this 🙂 Thanks for reading my blog, Jill! 🙂

25 Rebecca January 12, 2016 at 9:22 pm

Ugh!! So very hard.Have you considered talking to your employer about a part-time position? You never know! Even if it’s just for 6-months. This time is so precious. I’ve had several co-workers who realized they couldn’t do the full-time working momma thing after they returned from maternity leave. They ended up leaving their position, but always found something part-time to make ends meet. It usually works out 🙂

26 Lauren January 13, 2016 at 7:28 am

You’re doing a great job! I’m totally there with you– I went back to work last week and am feeling the same slew of emotions (and hatred for the pump). This is my second time going back to work after maternity leave and, strangely, I’ve found this go around more difficult. It’s reassuring to know that other mommas are going through the same thing.

27 Gracie January 13, 2016 at 3:21 pm

I rarely comment, but I just wanted to add my support. Working full time is TOUGH. I’d love to say “it gets easier!” but my daughter is four years old (I started back to work full time when she was 12 weeks), and although I wouldn’t give up my job for anything, it still breaks my heart a little each morning when I have to leave. In fact, it’s tougher when your little girl says “Please don’t go to work Mommy! I miss you SO much!”
But you do get used to it, and all of the research shows that kids with working mothers have much higher success later in life. I also get a lot of personal satisfaction that I’m contributing to our family financially, using my graduate degree, and I have a full identity outside of “mommy.” But it’s still so, so hard. I have so much sympathy and commiseration (especially with the pump – when I hit the year mark of pumping I wanted to ceremonially burn the damn thing!)

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