I went back to work 5 days before Littleman turned 3 months old. It was one of those things that the term “bittersweet” perfectly covered. You see, I really love my job. I work part time at my church with an amazing team of people and I get to teach kids about Jesus – it’s awesome. I work three days a week- two of those in an office with my co-worker “C” and one of those days greeting families and running Children’s Ministry with C. (I cannot tell you enough how much I appreciate her and all that she brings to our team of two.)
When I first got pregnant with Littleman, I think Tim and I both assumed that I’d be going back to work, no questions asked. As it got closer to the end of my leave, it became more of a discussion. While I loved my job, I really loved being home with our sweet boy. I loved being a part of his everyday moments, keeping him on a schedule of sorts, reading him books, staring at his sweet face while he slept. After lots of prayer, looking at our budget, discussing ways to cut down cost of living, and checking out some work-from-home options, we decided it just worked better for our family for me to return to work. By the time Littleman’s 3 month mark came around, I felt really at peace with our decision. That doesn’t mean it wasn’t hard, but I felt at peace with it nonetheless.
When it came time to find someone to care for Littleman, we were blessed with some really loving caretakers for our guy. My mom’s day off from work is on one of my main work days, so she offered to watch Littleman one day a week. My heart leapt with joy knowing that my boy would know no shortage of love, laughter, and comfort on his days with his Grandy. My mom is the biggest lover and one of Littleman’s biggest fans. She’s also a preschool teacher (and a really good one at that). She brings over books and activities, takes him on walks, and does tummy time at the park. On my other work day, a wonderful family from church watches him. They are a lovely family with three beautiful girls. The girls are home schooled so they get to be a part of the fun. Littleman has taken a liking to studying classical music with the girls and falling asleep on them. They text me the sweetest photos of him during the day and it makes those final few hours of work go by so quickly. Definitely gives me motivation to finish up my tasks without dawdling! Then there’s Sundays. On Sundays, Littleman gets to come to work with me and either gets passed around to family and friends during and in between services or goes into our nursery with our nursery volunteers. And the counter I stand at is right by the nursery so I get to peek in and visit whenever I want. It is such a treat.
On the morning of my first day back to work, before I walked out the door, my mom had already put on a fake mustache and was singing a made up song about Grandma being here to play. I’m sure you can see how leaving that day wasn’t so bad. Yet, even knowing how much fun he was going to have and how many loving snuggles he would get, I cried the entire way to work. I stopped on the way and treated myself to a cup of coffee-I needed something. When I came into work, I was greeted with the warmest smiles, a box of donuts, balloons, and genuine “How are you?”’s. You know those warm and fuzzies you feel sometimes? I felt them. I told you, I work with an amazing group of people. And as an added bonus, throughout the day, my mom texted me photos and videos of my happy boy. Although I missed him, I was okay. This whole “working mom” thing was going to be okay. Before I knew it, I was in the car on my way home.
One thing I did do was reach out to my closest friends, other mamas, and my husband. I shared my struggles and my emotions, and they in response shared their journeys, their advice, their love, and their prayers. If I may, my one piece of advice is to find community. They got me through a lot of waves of emotions be it good and bad. And I am so grateful.
I know my story of transitioning back to work may sound a little different than others. I know that sometimes, the work environment stinks and sometimes…people do to. I want to encourage you- Mamas keep doing your thing. Find the good in the day- a chance to have an adult conversation, to wear spit up-free clothes, to enjoy a warm cup of coffee, to learn to appreciate the time with your littles even more than you already do. You are helping to provide for your families, you are bringing good things to your work place; you are getting in a little “you” time. So grab a latte, put on some lipstick and a positive attitude, and do your thing. And in just a few hours, you can go home and snuggle that little.
She Loves a Latte