I knew before I was even pregnant that I wanted to go back to work. I LOVED my job and I was good at it. I had always said as long as I am able to do both well, I wanted to be a mom and continue to work at the local children’s museum. I was really lucky to get 12 weeks paid between the maternity leave and short term disability. It is such a shame that not everywhere offers this! I recommend you take every second you can before you go back to work!
Finding the right daycare for us was not terribly difficult. I worked in/directed a daycare for a few years after college, so I knew exactly what I did and did not want. I made a list of things that I wouldn’t settle on before we started looking. Make sure you know what is important to you. Maybe you want to be able to log in to cameras, maybe in-home is important to you, maybe cleanliness is the most important thing to you. Whatever you value, make a list and know you can find find the right place for you! Some people looked at my list and said I wouldn’t find it. But I did! I did a lot of research online ( You can go online and find out citations daycare have received. Most have citations of some kind, but there are some that have way too many or really bad ones. So make sure you are aware of what is going on in your childcare center!) and we only had to visit one daycare. As soon as we walked in, I knew we were in the right place. We later found out a lot of our family takes their kids to the same place. Being able to trust your daycare makes a HUGE difference.
We got everything ready the night before. We packed his daycare bag, my pumping bag, my work bag and lunch, everything was ready to go and by the door so we wouldn’t need to rush around in the morning. We woke up early, got ready and went to our favorite local coffee shop for breakfast. We made sure we had plenty of time so the morning wasn’t rushed. We soaked in as many snuggles as we could. I nursed him one more time and then I went and dropped him off.
I chose to work the whole day on my first day back. I read that a lot of people will do a half day or do a trial day before they are actually working. To me, it felt better to wait until I really needed to take him. We had training at work, so the day actually ended up being longer than a normal day. So, I thought, if I can make it through this, I will be fine on a regular day! And I did! I of course thought of him so much and was a little nervous all day. Was he crying? Did he take the bottles? Is he happy? Does he know I am not there?
I pumped every three hours and would continue to do so for months! I was lucky to work at a place that has a very nice nursing room. My must-haves for pumping at work: a set of pump parts to leave at work, a hands-free pumping bra, drying rack, a pumping bag and small cooler for the fridge, your phone to listen to podcasts or look at pictures of your little one and snacks!
When I went to pick up Lu on his first day, he was clean, happy and just watching the other babies play. And y’all his teachers LOVE him. I cannot stress enough to find a place you love, great childcare is out there! His teachers always have fun stories to share about the day, they do art with him, play with him and comfort him when he needs it.
I am staying home with Lucian now due to my comfort level with COVID19 and changes with my place of work, but I am so happy I went back to work. I really believe at the time it was the best decision for me and my family. I want to encourage you that you should not feel mom guilt for loving your career. You should also not feel mom guilt for leaving your career. Moms need to do what is best for them and their families. And ALL moms deserve to be supported and celebrated in their ability to do just that!