There’s always a but…

I’m going back to work on Monday, five short days from today. In a country with no legal requirement for maternity leave (the FMLA doesn’t really count), paid or otherwise, I’ve been lucky to work for an employer willing to give me almost nine weeks of leave, the majority of which has been paid. I know that. BUT. It doesn’t make going back any easier.

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I’m having a much harder time with this than I expected. I really like my job and I miss it. Especially the part where I see and interact with other adults. BUT. I also love love love staying home with Stella. Our days have fallen into a rhythm–there’s no real schedule, but there is a definite rhythm these days–and I’m going to miss that. In a perfect world (or any other first world country), I wouldn’t have to consider leaving my baby for at least 6 months. But I digress. The point isn’t that the US needs a complete overhaul of its basically nonexistent support system for new mothers. No, the point is that on Monday I’m going to take my not quite nine week old baby and leave her in the care of strangers while I go to work. And I’m not ready for that.

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Intellectually I know that she’ll be fine. I know that the strangers I’m going to leave her with are trained and that the daycare/preschool she’s going to is state registered and complaint free. I know that she’ll be well taken care of. BUT. I worry anyway. What if she thinks I’ve abandoned her? What if she likes her caretakers more than me? What if she won’t eat for them? What if pumping doesn’t work out and I start having milk supply issues? Or, worst of all, what if I forget all the things she likes?

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In the end, I know this worries are unfounded. I know that she’ll always like me better than her caretakers (at least until she’s a teenager), that she wont think I’ve abandoned her, that pumping wont affect my milk supply, and that I won’t forget all the little things she likes doing. I know all that. BUT. Knowing that doesn’t mean there won’t be a lot of tears on Monday morning (mine, of course).

Any advice for dealing with the first day of daycare?

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6 thoughts on “There’s always a but…

  1. It’s hard, really hard, but it does get easier! On my first day back to work my husband printed a bunch of pictures of my son, so when I felt sad or lonely I could look at them. Being a working mom is so tough, but it makes you appreacaite the time you have with your little one so much more. Good luck!

  2. Sorry I don’t have any advice, I couldn’t bare the idea of leaving my daughter in childcare so I opted to quit working full time. I just wanted to wish you the best with making the transition and tell you I fully agree with you – it’s awful there is not more time allotted for maternity leave – it’s such an important time for infant development. I know there are many childcare centers who have web cameras running all the time so you can check in on your little one while you are at work if that is available – might help alleviate some anxiety.
    p.s. – her pictures are beautiful!

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