I have gone back to work after both of my children. With Tanner I was fortunate to stay home until after he was a year old. With Chandler I was back to work at 11 weeks. It was not easy to return, no mother wants to leave her child. When you are in your 3rd trimester you feel as though the stupid comments will never come to a stop, but inevitably you give birth and you can breathe a sigh of relief because you no longer have to hear “When are you having that baby?”
As mothers we all become frustrated with the slue of ongoing questions like “You haven’t moved the baby out of your bed yet?” “When are you going to ditch that pacifier?” or my personal favorite “Did you circumcise?” But to be perfectly honest the most obnoxious comments have been delivered regarding my return to work.
Before I even stepped foot into my office I experienced the comments that were geared to make me feel better about my time away from my children. Generally harmless, things like “At least you will have adult interaction” but there were a few such as “Aren’t you glad to have some free time to yourself?” and “Your baby needs to learn to be away from you.” My work is hardly free time. I don’t get to finally cut my gangly nails and top them off with a fresh polish and I am certainly not catching up on my favorite TV Series. The 40 hours of work I put in is not my free time because if it were I would be spending it watching my children grow. Also, my 11 week old doesn’t need to learn to be without me but I won’t go on that tangent today.
It was not until I reached my office chair, sat down, and finally stopped sobbing that I realized the ignorant questions would start pouring in. It was my first day back. I had just left my 11 week old with a babysitter who has no idea the exact position he likes to be held in. She didn’t know that special tone that only mommy knows to calm him down. She certainly doesn’t play with his toes the way I do and she will never be able to rock him to sleep just the way he likes it. Being honest I will say that leaving my second child was no easier than leaving my first and since Chandler was younger I found it to be much more difficult.
I reached out to friends to support me and a handful of them certainly made me feel better. The ones that truly put a smile on my face just told me they hoped I could stop crying soon and that with any luck my day would fly by. They knew there was no sugar coating on going back to work and so they listened to me sob on my drive in and they reminded me that my sitter will never be mommy but she will find her own special ways to comfort my babes. That is the one piece of solid advice that has made me feel better so let me repeat it for any working mothers…
Your baby sitter will never be able to comfort your children like you do, but they will find their own ways to comfort your children.
So bring on the stupid.
Now that I have made it through day 1, 2, 3 and 4 (it does get a little easier) I have found myself reaching out to other friends and even my Facebook mom group seeking advice on the best pumping schedule, how to find the perfect long term nanny, and the nitty gritty details of being a working mother of two. Much to my dismay I have found ridiculous comments along the way that really made me feel like giving a few individuals the worst titty twisters of all time. That’s right, I said it, titty twisters. Hopefully they aren’t lactating.
The first comment, although meant to be harmless, was “Wow! I would be a nervous wreck leaving my child with a stranger.”
Really? Would you? It never crossed my mind that perhaps I should be concerned about leaving my children with someone I don’t know very well. Of course I am a nervous wreck! Especially on my first day, week, and probably even month of my return.
The next comment received was in response to me asking if there were other working mothers using an in home nanny for childcare. This one seemed more intentional to me, “I prefer to leave my children with someone we know, a family memeber.”
Jeesh, someone you know? Why didn’t I think of that! It never occured to me it would be better to KNOW my care provider. OF COURSE I would prefer to leave my babies with someone I know.
And finally, I received an article via email from a friend who came across a news story on, what happened to be, my second day back at work. The article was about a mother who hired a nanny and the nanny was basically abusing the children while the parents were at work. Thanks. Fear mongering at it’s finest. I don’t know about you but I will certainly rest better knowing that some nannys beat the children while the parents work. Come on.
I am sure none of these people meant any harm by the things they said or did but over the course of my 4 days at work I have had no less than 2 comments each day that led me to blog. Perhaps I will encourage others to think before they speak or maybe just tell my working moms “You are not alone.”