June 11, 2009,
M.K. asks from Fort Worth, TX on June 11, 2009
So Sad to Be Back at Work
Hello ladies, I am badly in need of some words of wisdom and encouragement! Last week, I left my 3 month old baby at home to cared for part-time by her grandmother and part-time by my husband (I know how lucky I am to have the childcare situation that I do). I miss her so much that I hardly know what to do with myself. I'm crying all the time - at work, driving to and from work, and when I get home I just dissolve in relief.
Before I had the baby, I really enjoyed my job, and now I'm struggling to care at all about the things I used to care about at work. It all seems so trivial now compared to caring for my daughter. My husband and I have been together for 14 years, and always planned for me to work and he to stay at home. He supported me through two degrees and my jobs so that I could be successful in my career, which I am. And now, all I want him to do is to get a full-time job so that I can stay home. That's so selfish that I can hardly admit it. I feel like such a fool for thinking I was so different than every other mom I ever knew. I really thought I'd have no problem going back to work, but it's tearing me apart.
I'd like to hear from other moms that had to leave their babies and go back to work. Did you feel this way? How long did it last? How did you get over it, at least enough not to cry all the time and get some work done?
So What Happened?™
Everything worked out fine. I did get over my sadness, really it was a kind of grieving. I just had to give myself the time to grieve the loss of time spent with my daughter. However, the reality is that my baby girl is in great hands with my husband and her grandmother, soon my husband will be at home full-time and it will be even better. I'm doing the right thing by continuing to work. My daughter will have opportunities that I never had just due to the financial resources I can provide. She and I are are thrilled to see each other at the end of the day, I'm able to go home for lunch everyday, and I get home around 4:30pm so I have several hours with her before her bedtime.
K.A. answers from Dallas on June 11, 2009
It will get better - I promise. When my first daughter was born, I went back to work when she was 7 weeks old. My husband works from home, so he stayed with her. I cried - and I don't cry over much. I would calculate how many hours I was at work and how many hours I had with her, etc, etc. Well, it got better. My husband took good care of her, and I got to see her every morning (I got up early and got ready, then got her up, changed her, fed her, dressed her for the day, etc.) I also took the night feedings and stuff to have the time with her. I kept her up with me at night, so she has always gone to bed relatively late. I did not want to put her to bed at 8 oclock when I was getting home from work at 5:00. With our second daughter, going back to work was MUCH easier. I was confident in my husband's ability to care for her, and I even gave up some of the nighttime feedings to him. I use PTO when they are sick, and we rarely go anywhere without our kids. You will have plenty of time to spend with her. She knew you 9 months before she knew anyone else and knows your voice and smell. She will benefit from the time with her father and grandmother. There are days I am grateful to go back to work. Everything there is neat and it is quiet. My kid are 5 (almost 6) and 21 months now. Enjoy the time you spend with her and include her in whatever you are doing. If you are cooking, bring her into the kitchen and tell her what you are making. If I was bathing, I would bring the bouncer into the bathroom. If I went to the store, I took her with me. You will feel better. Like everything else, it just takes time.
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S.B. answers from Dallas on June 11, 2009
Things will get better! You are in a transitional situation right now of adjusting back into the workplace and still being affected by all those pregnancy hormones. That's why it is so hard. You have a great situation- your precious baby is home with your loving husband and grandma so you don't have the child care worries or uncertainties that many moms face.
What field are you in? What did you like about your job before your baby was born? Do you help people? How do you contribute to the organization? What you do is probably important. Make a list of all of these things. What things (salary, benefits) does your job contribute to your family and its future. Think about all the positives. If you can't come up with much, maybe you need to rethink how you use your degree. (don't rush on this because you may not want to make too many changes at one time)
I went back to a demanding full time job after my son was 6 wks old. A neighbor and good friend kept him during the day which I was very comfortable with. I would get all ready for work, then put on a bathrobe and spend the first waking hours with my son every morning before I dropped him off at the sitter. The first few days were hard, but it got better and easier. My co-workers made it easier by welcoming me back and telling me how much they missed me and my input.
Good luck !
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M.D. answers from Dallas on June 11, 2009
Oh M. my heart goes out to you. I do understand how you feel, I felt the same way when I returned to work after my son turned 3 months, well right under. I got to stay home with him for almost 3 months and I didn't want to go back. My older two children I had to go back right away, plus I was in my early 20s. Not saying that wasn't hard either, but I really notice with my youngest how much I enjoyed being at home with him. I am lucky too and my husband watches our son. It's still hard and yes, to this day I still wish at times I was the one staying home with him. It will get easier, the pain won't be as hard, but it will take several months, you just end up accepting it. I also wanted to let you know that its' fine to have these feelings, don't suppress them, let it all out. I will tell you this, the time you have with her will be so special. I'm praying for you.
G.M. answers from Dallas on June 11, 2009
I had a bit trouble (guilt) going back to work. My case, my baby was premature, and month and half in NICU, so it was hard. However, my husband reminds me everytime how much time I invest in my career (time, studies, hard work) and how much good I will do to provide for him later. Sometimes, I cry, but he is there to remind me that we are doing good for our baby.
Now, I can tell you that my mother was a working mother, and I am only child. I had a babysitter for me, but I don't recall to be neglect, in fact I had the most wonderful infancy (to me). So, I know he won't remember if you left him behind crying because you are going to work. As mom, still difficult, but you are doing this for him and your entire family.
A.C. answers from Dallas on June 11, 2009
A lot of this is hormonal and does ease up. I really weirded myself out with all kinds of foreign emotions after my son was born, and they lasted months. I would suggest if it is really bad that you get checked for postpartum depression; this is nothing to be ashamed and doesn't mean you're "crazy". It's a real issue that is totally legitimate and should be addressed IF it's something you're experiencing.
In my household, my husband and I are a team. You and your husband have BOTH sacrificed and planned to get you to where you're at in your career, and you're super blessed for that. I think that keeping a few things in mind will help you get through the day-to-day stuff, but you REALLY need to fight those feelings that everything you do is so "trivial" as you say. You are a team player in your family, and if you and your husband don't work as a team, your precious daughter will not have a stable, strong, loving family that she absolutely needs. You are providing a home and a living in a time when many people CANNOT find jobs and are living day to day in uncertainty....your daughter is blessed because she'll have a safe clean roof over her head and food, and the money for all the "stuff" that comes up in life (especially insurance). She will have a good strong female role model in you that will show her that she can go out, get an education, and do whatever she wants/needs to do. She is SO unbelievably blessed to have the love and TIME with her grandma, her father, AND her mother. WOW that is so rare. When you come home from work, you give your husband and your daughter love and attention, and she will not be missing out at all. This is your opportunity to spend some quiet time while you wind down feeding her, dancing and singing to her, reading to her, maybe giving her a bath and preparing her for bed while you talk to her about your day and asking about hers. It is still very possible for you to bond with her and spend your time with her when you get home, especially if dinner is already cooked and you don't have to worry about that. My husband shocked me when I was trying to explain to him about how I missed our son when I went to my part time job and he looked at me and said "Yes, I understand that very much-----how do you think I feel? Do you think I love him or miss him any less???" I hadn't thought about that----how a father is gone on one or two jobs a week and we don't think anything about it.....but it wouldn't be any "better" would it? Life insists that we provide for our families. As my husband explained, he doesn't want to get up and leave his wife and baby behind, he feels like he misses out sometimees, but he knows he must and he makes the most of it. I in return make sure that he doesn't have much to do (except maybe put the dishes away after dinner and our son is asleep) so he can spend concentrated time playing and having his "daddy time" when he comes home. I do all I can because I am grateful he's a man who WANTS daddy time and doesn't just kick his shoes off and veg in front of the tv. Your roles are reversed, but it can work very well for all if you just give it some time and try. And like I said, if things don't improve, get checked out for postpartum depression. I'll pray for you guys, but do understand that you guys are blessed.