The End of Mat Leave: Returning to Work


The End of Mat Leave: Returning to Work

So. The time has come. I am three weeks away from returning to work.


I could say things like "Where did this year go?" and "I can't believe my baby boy is almost one!" 

But that would be very unoriginal and boring. And to be honest...I don't feel like the year went by that quickly. Maybe it's because I've seen every hour on the clock for the past 345 days? Or maybe it's because I've been making a very conscious effort to enjoy my days with Cole. Everyone told me "enjoy this time" and I listened, from the very beginning.

I remember being stranded on the couch in those early days, feeling like all I did was breastfeed and change diapers. And I suppose that's because all I did was breastfeed...and...change diapers. But when your baby is only a couple of weeks old and takes an hour to eat, you have no choice but to relax and watch bad daytime tv. Or just stare at them in the afternoon sun. *Bliss*

And although 11 months later, my little boy doesn't sit still long enough for me to gaze into his eyes—I try to take pleasure as he tries to poke me in the eye instead. With his finger—or a toy. I enjoy his "nose kisses" as he slobbers yogurt all over my face, and I really try to make an effort to be "present" and enjoy as many moments as possible. Especially now that I know our daytime stay-at-home-mom moments are numbered. I return to work in 20 days. 


Now don't get me wrong, I'm very excited about returning to work. I'm actually starting a new job with an old boss and some old colleagues, and I'm really looking forward to it. I get paid to watch TV and write, let's be honest: it's a sweet gig. 

However, as the days get closer, I feel myself hugging my son tighter (picture Elmira from Looney Tunes) and whispering "I love you" about ten thousand times a day (up from our usual 8 thousand times a day). Actually, Cole is probably excited for me to go back to work because that means I'll stop smothering him and he can go about his regular business of throwing toys and chasing the dog.

The thing is, I don't usually leave Cole for more than a few hours, so an 8-hour workday plus travel is going to be insanely hard at first. I hope my co-workers have buckets and towels at my desk to sop up the waterfall of tears that I'm likely to produce...I might also need to start drinking alcohol at work just to numb myself from the pain. That's okay right? And healthy? And totally normal and not against company policy? I thought so. 


But, I have to be honest, there are a few perks about going back to work (aside from the sweet job itself) and here they are, in list form:

My mom is looking after Cole at our house, so I don't need to drop him off at daycare (I realize how incredibly lucky we are).

Going back to work gives me an excuse to shop. I need to go "back-to-work shopping." That's a thing, right?

Going back to work gives me an excuse to shower. Hmmm.... I probably didn't need an excuse before, did I? (I say this as I pet my greasy head, and re-assure myself that I'm not a dirtbag)

I'll have more "me" time. Yes. It's sad that riding a GO train for an hour counts as "me time." But when you're used to having an audience while taking a crap, this definitely does count as ME TIME!

So there you have it. My fears and my excitement about going back to work, all rolled into one big emotional burrito with extra cheese (I'm not sure myself what that really means, just go with it. I like to make up shit. That's how I roll...)

Now tell me: what was your back-to-work experience like? Is there anything I can do to prepare myself and make the transition easier?