I wrote the below letter to myself before my return to work in an attempt to ease the burden and heartache that came with going back to work from maternity leave for the third time. Yes, you read correctly …third time. Even though I’ve done this before it doesn’t make it easier and each time more difficult than the last . I want to share with you a letter of encouragement for you super moms and some of the tips that have enabled me to return.
Dear selina, Oh my, how quickly does maternity leave go by? It seems like only yesterday that sweet little Theo was welcomed into the world ( granted it was nearly on the side of a road while helping to change a flat tyre between contractions but that's a story for another day 😉).
Now is a great time to reflect on how far you two have come together. Just like his brothers before him, Theo and you have formed an unbreakable bond. Mama and baby. Spending everyday figuring out that he is indeed a boob man & hated the aul bottle. As well as figuring out that he loves being cuddled but hates being swaddled. Learning that he will fall asleep in the sling while walking, however a car ride does not have the same effect. From the endless feeds (let's not forget the 2,4 & 6am feeds) You helped turn this tiny little baby into the chunky monkey he is today. You spent every day getting to know what makes him unique, his likes and dislikes and ye did all this together.
You and him.
The last six months have completely changed your life, in more ways than one. In that time, you have brought another beautiful boy into the world all the while embarking on this journey that is Mama to three. This New Terrain has had you on your toes, losing your perception of time that has turned your tiresome days into weeks, weeks into months and amidst all the chaos that has come with being a mom of three you haven’t noticed that your 26 weeks are up . The clock has run out, it is time to go back to work. Work....You suddenly start to panic.
You are not prepared to separate yourself from this tiny human. Your baby. Your mind starts to race, you find yourself asking questions like:How can I leave my baby? He needs me! How can someone comfort him the way that I do? Will he miss me? What if I stay at home? Can I give up my job? What am I going to do?
I want you to know that the panic, the questions and the worry is OK, its normal to not want to leave your precious little one, its normal to have resentment towards going back to work . Its normal to only want to care for your child and not someone else. Just like its normal to feel guilty, upset and angry. These are all perfectly normal reactions.
Tomorrow is a big day selina, show yourself all the refinement you need. Being upset is okay. Missing him terribly is a guarantee. But I know you can do this! Not just because you’ve done it twice before, but because I know you got this. People will tell you that going back to work gets better.
Better …no! But it will get easier.
So, give yourself all the time you need to get yourself through these next few weeks, and adjust to your new super powers of a working mama of three. It will take time to find your groove. Your co-workers will be delighted to see you back, these people have missed you and need you. Your days will change drastically from changing nappies and negotiating a ransom for seans toy from his devious brother to meeting targets and driving sales. You will find yourself needed in a whole new way. You will get to challenge yourself professionally. Your co-workers will welcome your ideas and ability to solve problems. You will also enjoy the break..….trust me.
And then after you are done with work for the day, it is okay to walk as fast as you can or let’s face it possibly run home. You’ll come through the door where the boys will great you and you will squeeze them endlessly. Sean and Noah will squeeze you back and Theo will be excited to be in your arms again. You will smile, cry and be over-come with emotions. You will love being with them again. You will tell yourself you are not going back tomorrow and come up with a million reasons why. However, as the super mom that you are, you will find the courage to do it all again the next day.
Just know that I am rooting for you each and every day, supporting you through every decision you make, and the boys will continue cheering you on because you are showing them what a strong and resilient mom you are. So, no matter what obstacles may be waiting for remember to always pick yourself up, pump your boobies, pack your bags for the morning and know that you are awesome. Everything outside of your time spent with your little ones is nothing but white noise.
The only thing the boys want is to spend time with you, so forget everything else and be present with them.
Go easy on yourself super mama, you’ve got this.
You will always have this.
Your biggest fan ,
To all the mamas reading this know that you too can do this. You too are strong and resillient. But remember not to forget that you are more than just a mama. Do not forget to make some time for you and be kind to yourself . You can only do so much :) Let me know in the comments what your self care tips are .