The thing that made going back to work after maternity leave a bit easier

I recently came across Laura Vanderkam's post about dealing with going back to work after your maternity leave.  It made me think about the one thing that I did when going back to work after BlueEyes was born and that was for my husband to take a week off to take care of BlueEyes the first week I went back to work (BlueEyes was 3 months when I went back). This was a great thing for us for a couple of reasons:

1. By being home for a week with BlueEyes my husband realized what it takes to be home with a baby and why some days when I was on maternity leave I would be ecstatic to have contact with another grown-up after being home with a baby all day. He realized how exhausting it was, how for some reason you get nothing done all day and by 5 PM you find yourself on the couch with a crying baby, still dressed in pajamas that may or may not have been puked on. After this, he would never ask:"what have you done all day?" on days that I was home.

2. For me, it was nice to go back to work and not have to worry about how BlueEyes was doing in daycare that first week. Instead, I only had to worry about pumping milk, being incredibly sleep deprived, not fitting in my old clothes yet, trying to remember what I was sciencing about before going on leave and adjusting to being this entirely different person who was mostly very alert whether somebody was crying or hungry.

3. I don't know if for BlueEyes it mattered whether he was home with my husband or at daycare. I like to think it was a nice transition for him, to have to drink from a bottle but still be in the house that he knew before going to daycare, but with such a little baby, it's hard to know.

I think my ideal situation would be to have some hybrid work-baby situation with a small baby: be able to bring them to work or be able to work a bit from home (which I did much more with Little Brother), or be able to have both parents work half days, but of course each baby (and parent) is different. What would your ideal transition back to work look like?

7 responses so far

  • Nursing #2 as I type this, we have decided not to put baby in daycare until he is 1 yr or older. Hubby and I will take turns caring for him; husband has a part-time job and can work oddish hours (late afternoon/early evening). This arrangement will be great for baby; right now I'm pretty much his sole caregiver (and can totally relate to your #1 above; hubby couldn't understand why I didn't do the dishes one day!). Soon, it will both of us caring for baby allowing me some time to get back to work more. Baby is 3 months and has been (and will continue to do so) coming into work with me for about 3 days a day 3-4 days a week. I get some work done, but I am behind (oh well), We do have an older child, which makes things a little more difficult. Thankfully she is in daycare and hubby ends up caring for her most of the time.

  • peirama says:

    3 months after my second baby was born, I went back to work part time for two months while my mother-in-law watched the baby. For us it was a perfect arrangement and I'm really glad I did it. There is so much to adjust to after a baby is born (even a second baby) and that transition period made everything a little easier. We were lucky that my mother-in-law had the flexibility to do that and that I had the flexibility at work to have that schedule.

  • LCT says:

    Our first is due in December, and while there's no paid family leave at my university, I'm cobbling together leave from vacation and sick days. Baby is due the day before a 2 week university holiday. Hopefully it will be born sometime in there! I'll be on full-time leave for 7 weeks, then come in 2 days a week while my husband is home for the next 6. Then my husband (whose university is much more evolved than mine) will take his 8 weeks of paid leave. So we essentially get to June with the kid being home with one of us. Summer we'll start daycare three days a week, and each of us will "work" from home one day a week. Full-time daycare will start in the fall. At least that's the plan. We'll see...

  • Sophia says:

    I had both my children in Sweden while I was attending grad school. That was pure luxury since all parents are provided a full 460 days of payed parental leave. I stayed home for 7 months then me and my husband split 50/50 for three months (I worked tree days one week and two days the next week etc). After that my husband was home for 7 months and then kids went to daycare. It really was an ideal situation and I was able to keep up somewhat with writing and submitting IRB forms. Still it was hard to stay focused and get back into it after being away for so long if I'm allowed to say anything negative about it.

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