Aside from watching The Notebook on repeat when I have my period or weighing myself right after a trip to the buffet at the Chinese restaurant, nothing is sadder than the end of my maternity leave. I’ve spent months bonding with my second baby, learning his needs, watching him grow, making him giggle and being there for every tear and smile. And hey, the meaningful relationship I’ve formed with Netflix and my couch during this time shouldn’t go unnoticed either.
Despite having a job that I love, I am sad beyond measure to return to full-time employment. It appears that other people have access to a calendar and have started to press me about returning to work. Personally, I wish they’d treat my going back to work like politics and religion and NOT bring it up in casual conversation, but I’ve realized that’s not going to happen. In fact, the shit that spews from these supposedly “supportive” people makes me realize that while I go back to work, they should go back to school and learn how to be compassionate to a hormonal, postpartum woman.
In fact, allow me to “school” you here on what not to say to a mom who’s about to go back to work:
Do you have to go back to work?
Going back to work is like shaving my legs. Is it federally mandated? No. Should I shave my legs so my husband doesn’t confuse me for Bigfoot in bed? Yes. Should I go back to work so student loan companies don’t break my kneecaps in search of payment? Probably.
It’s not ideal, but it is reality, so please do not make an already sensitive situation more painful by assuming I have a choice and am therefore making the wrong one.
Who are you ever going to trust with your children?
Well, assuming Nanny McPhee is busy and that elitist Kate Middleton has scooped up the most qualified child-handlers, I guess I’ll just throw on the DVD of Mary Poppins while I’m gone and hope for the best?
Listen, I watch the five o’clock news, I’ve seen Law and Order: Special Victims Unit, and I know the horror stories of “daycares gone wrong.” I won’t even put my purse down on a restaurant floor, let alone leave my children with someone who has an affinity for children’s Benadryl. Have a little faith in me, OK?
It’s going to be a lot harder on you than it is the kids.
Is this supposed to help? How comforting it is to think that my children won’t miss me when I’m away. Shit, if that’s the case, then maybe I should finally take that sailing trip around the world. They’ll write me in between forgetting my name and throwing away my possessions, I’m sure.
Saying goodbye to the kids will get easier.
Not as easy as saying goodbye to you and this conversation.
Get your waterproof mascara ready!
Oh, I get it: I’ll be crying a lot when I go back to work. Thanks for giving me something to look forward to: an opportunity to test some new makeup. Seeing as how I recently cried over a Full House episode, it’s going to take a lot more than waterproof mascara to get me through eight hours of work away from my children. Does Revlon package actual tar for working moms leaving their children for the first time?
You will eventually find the perfect work and motherhood balance.
Yes, because if being a woman has taught me anything, it’s that the world bends over backwards to accommodate our needs (if that were true, my car’s dashboard would dispense tampons and cookies). I guess I will just be a perfect, Pinterest-inspired mom for 12 hours a day and a punctual, poised and hardworking employee the other 12 hours! Finding the balance is that easy, I guess!
Well, as easy as finding the diamond necklace that the old lady threw overboard in Titanic. Let’s all keep searching, though …
It’s good that you’re going back to work; you will be a great role model for your daughter.
Last time I checked, me birthing a seven-pound human from a pinhole was pretty admirable too. Furthermore, I taught this little girl how to use the potty. I taught her how to love. I taught her how to write the first letter in her name. I taught her how to say “please” and “thank you.” If that’s not somebody worth looking up to, then who exactly is?
And hey, I vote in every presidential election and pay my taxes – that’s the best role model I could ever hope to be for her.
It will be good for you to get out of the house and have some adult interaction.
Whoa, just because I’m a “stay-at-home mom” right now does not mean that I actually stay at home. Do you know how glorious it is to go to Target whenever the mood strikes (after nap and before dinner, usually)? I have a punch card to Chuck E. Cheese, am on a first name basis with the children’s librarians and have a yearly membership to the children’s museum. It’s not exactly like I’m struggling for activities to keep me busy, and even if I were, work doesn’t really seem like the most fun of options to fill that void.
In terms of adult interaction, have you interacted with adults lately? I’d much rather discuss the improbability of the “Bubble Guppies” having campfires when they live underwater with my toddler than any type of anything that adults want to discuss.
Work for a few years and then reevaluate.
You got it. Thankfully, I’m in one of the many professions that allows me to make so much money in just a few years that I can retire and financially provide for my children. Added bonus is that children become less expensive as they get older, so there’s not much to worry about financially when they’re out of diapers and off of formula.
But then there’s that whole college thing … and their futures … and weddings … and EVERYTHING ELSE THAT I CAN’T AFFORD WITHOUT WORKING.
The time when you ARE with them will be more meaningful.
You’re right, because right now all I do with them is check Facebook and read my copies of US Weekly. Don’t get me wrong, Ben and Jen divorcing makes me cry all of the lady-tears, but nothing is more meaningful than any moment with my children.
(Except for the moments with Netflix and my couch – those are significant times as well.)
Motherhood is meaningful no matter what we do and where we are, but returning to work is a sensitive and delicate topic to moms whose private parts are still a warzone and whose emotions are still reeling. Support us without judgment, and if all else fails, just don’t bring it up. We’re hormonally complex and, as you can probably see by this article, will absolutely take your comments the wrong damn way anyway.