A Letter To My Daughters At The End Of Maternity Leave

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A Letter To My Daughters The Day Before I Return To Work

Danielle Ricci

Tomorrow I go back to work, and it’s going to be really hard. All I can do is hope that it’s harder for me than it is for you. Twelve weeks has come and gone faster than I could’ve imagined. I thought that going back to work after my second child would be easier, but I actually think it might be harder.

Baby Girl #2, not only have I enjoyed your newborn snuggles every day, but Baby Girl #1, I’ve had special time with you that I’d been missing so much. Because this is my second child, I realize even more how quickly this time goes by — and that I’ll never get it back.

Tomorrow I go back to work, and I keep thinking about all of the things that people say to me to try to make it better. People say you’ll look up to me and learn to value hard work. People say it’ll be nice to have time away and that it will make our time together more special. People say that most moms need to work nowadays. People say you won’t remember this and that you’ll be fine while I’m away. Maybe those things are true. I hope they’re true, but it doesn’t make it any easier.

Of course, I want you to look up to me and see the passion and love I have for my job, but I hope you never feel like I’m choosing my job over you. As a high school assistant principal, I have 600 other “kids” that I get to take care of, and I love that, but I hate what I’ll lose, what I’ll miss out on while I’m away from you.

Could your dad I and I make it work on one income? Maybe. But that would come at costs, too. That would impact what we are able to provide for you, and it would put a lot of pressure on your dad to be the sole provider. I’m not sure that would let us be the best parents we could be or let us give you the life we want you to have.

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Tomorrow I go back to work, and I realize that I’m luckier than most. I’m lucky that because of his shift, you’ll get to spend a few days during the week with your dad and get to have special time with him. I’m lucky that he’s such a wonderful father and husband who is supportive of my career. I’m lucky to have a daycare provider that I trust. I’m lucky to have family members that help out whenever needed. I’m lucky that I love my job and work at a school where you’re not only allowed to come in, but where my boss and co-workers love you, too and understand that family comes first.

You are both blessed to have so many people who care about you, so I know that when I can’t be with you, you are well taken care of, but I still wish it could be me.

Tomorrow I go back to work, and there are a few things I want to promise you. I want to promise you that for the time we do get to spend together, you will have my attention. I will do my best to turn work off, put my phone down, and focus on you two. We will find fun things to do — or we will just relax in our jammies and watch movies. But whatever we decide to do during our time together, I will do my best to be present. You both deserve that.

Tomorrow I go back to work, and I keep hoping that by the time you have children, if that’s what you choose, that it’s better — that our country realizes that twelve weeks just isn’t enough and we can catch up with the rest of the world. I’m sorry that I can’t have more time with you, but please know that in our time apart, I’m loving you still. Please know that I’m working hard to provide for you.

Please know that when I come home, I will take off all of my other hats and just be mama because no matter what, THAT is my number one job.

Love,

Mama