Read how a mom of twins went back to work after maternity leave only seven weeks postpartum and how she balances getting enough quality time with her kids.
I found out I was pregnant with twins one month into my new job. What a whammy! My twins were delivered at 37+3 via planned C-section at the end of 2017. This was great because they held steady in there which allowed me to work until the week before.
I was out for seven weeks and then returned to work after the New Year. I always knew I would go back to work after I delivered. It wasn’t like it was a surprise. In fact, about 4 weeks into maternity leave, I was ready to go back.
But then the day arrived and as I walked out the door to go to work and leave my kids behind, I started sobbing. Even though I was ready, I didn’t know just how much I would miss them. I didn’t even realize the feelings would hit as soon as the door shut behind me. But they did and they lasted for the first two weeks. It was a tough adjustment at first but we made it!
How do you manage that tough transition back after maternity leave? Here’s what helped me:
1. Remind yourself why you’re doing it
I knew that even if I had the opportunity to be a stay at home mom, I could never do that. I’m not the type. I have huge respect for parents who are stay-at-home parents because my kids drive me crazy from Friday night to Monday morning. But, that didn’t mean it was any easier for me to return to work.
When I got to missing the kids really bad, I would tell myself I’m at work for them. Now, over a year later, I drop them off at my parents’ house in the morning and say “Bye, I love y’all, mama’s gotta go to work because y’all are expensive!”
2. Check in throughout the day
We are very fortunate to be able to have family watch the kids while we work. Monday through Thursday my parents keep them and on Fridays their Mimi and Nana come watch them. This is great because I can text or call and check in.
I also text my dad during the day and ask for pictures so that I can see how much fun they’re having. If your childcare provider allows it, check in, have them send pictures once a day or so.
3. It’s all about quality, not quantity
Evenings during the week are hard because it’s just utter chaos. We have a (more flexible now than before) bedtime routine that we stick to. With a bedtime of 8-8:30 pm but not getting home until 6:30 pm, we aren’t allowed a lot of time.
It feels like, at times, we start the bedtime routine as soon as we walk in the door, especially if they didn’t want their afternoon nap that day. Even though it’s fast-paced and hectic, use those moments to really get that quality time in that you missed during the day. Play music and sing during suppertime, watch a TV show with them, and snuggle on the couch. Go outside for a little bit while the sun is still out.
Weekends are my jam. It’s when we can get the most done. Use those weekends to catch up on all the time you didn’t get to spend together during the week. When the kids were small, I would try to clean as much as I could on Saturdays. After a while I said, “What the heck? I should be playing more with the kids.” My house is an absolute wreck on the regular but at least my kids are happy, and so am I.
I made myself a New Year’s resolution to get out of the house more. So now we do something at least once each weekend that gives us a change of scenery. Your kids will remember what you did together, not how much time you spent. It’s all about quality time, not how much time you spend together.
4. Go easy on yourself
When I went back to work, it felt like my first day all over again. Between the lack of sleep, the foggy brain, and just the fact that only seven weeks had passed since I did any sort of accounting, I needed to adjust again.
It’s okay to be easy on yourself for the first few weeks back at work after maternity leave. Your brain is a mess, you’re still healing, and you freaking miss your kids. Give yourself a bit of a break. Ease back into it.
Whether you’re ready or not, returning from maternity leave is TOUGH. There is a good chance there will be some tears but it’s okay. A year later, we're all still happy, healthy, and my kids get to spend time with their grand- and great-grand grandparents. There will be some mom guilt, which is another post in and of itself, but just remind yourself of why you’re doing it.
Good luck to any mamas out there about to return from maternity leave! You can do this!
Jessie Ballard is the sassy southern mama of 18 month old boy/girl twins, and author of Mom Buns and Moscato. Born and raised in the great state of North Carolina, Jessie works in Accounting and is currently working on her Bachelor's degree in Supply Chain Management. She speaks fluent sarcasm and lives her life full of humor, always trying to make someone laugh. Check her out on Facebook!