That was 3 months ago, it is mid April and I'm am now I am just finishing (or starting) this post. The snow is gone and Spring is here. My Maternity leave seems like a distant memory to me.Getting back to work the second time around was easier. The logistics of the morning were a little more hectic with two, but I had a little more confidence that this time around my husband knew how to feed and care for a baby. Note, that does not mean I always come home to a baby that has been fed and changed, but the possibility exists!
The bigger challenge I have found about going back to work is re-integrating into the work place. I tried to approach the first week with the benefit of knowledge gained from my last return from Maternity leave. Let's face it, my co-workers had gotten used to working with out me for the 4 months. Some picked up extra duties and others have become used to going to someone else for support and other things have piled up and not gotten done.
1. Let people know I'm back!
2. Be visible
3. Keep the stories short
4. Don't look for pity
Letting people know I'm back - This is the first thing I did (actually the night before my return) was to send an email out to my organization that I was back. Thanking them for their support and hard work during my leave was the major theme of the message. Letting them know that I was available and ready to get back to business was the second. When I arrived in the office I made the rounds to say hi to people face to face. Since it was the start of the new year and everyone else was coming back from the Holidays this worked out well. This may seem like an obviouse thing to do, but you would be surprised how often it does not happen.
Being Visible, Be Available - The last time I returned from leave I had a harder time getting back in step with the routine of work. My heart was not completely in it and it showed in my commitment to work. This probably isn't unusual for returning mothers, but it can really be self destructive. Not only do you not want to be at work, but the results of your efforts and time there end up not producing results.
Keeping the stories short - I aslo told myself not to overwhelm people with stories about my baby and what we did on leave. I know most people are not nearly as interested in my baby as I am. All those incredibly amazing stories about smiles, gurgles, pooping, and crying that a Mom cherishes may actually be boring and way too much information for others. So I was careful to wait for people to ask about my baby before I shared and then I kept it at a minimum.
Don't Look for pity - Another area I was sensitive to was that no one feels sorry for you after you just took 4 months off. They have been working all that time - duh. The fact that for the first few months I was in a state of sleep deprivation really doesn't matter. Even other Mom's quickly forget what it was like.
So 3 months have past. I'm enjoying my job and being a Mom to 2 boys and a wife to a third. It's hectic at times and often I find I can't even come close to getting everything done I want to. Priorities tend to cut out the nice to do's - like blogging.