On returning to work.

I did not look forward to Christmas.  Our first Christmas with sweet Rosemary and I was dreading it.  After Christmas, I would go back to work.  Really it is after the new year but in my head, Christmas was the beginning of the end.

I want to work.  I love my job and feel drawn to do what I do.  I look forward to returning to what I know, to the different type of productively, and even to be able to write my grocery list on my lunch break. But as I rock Rosemary to sleep, I smother her in kisses and cry, thinking of what I will miss while being at work.  It is just hard wanting to be in two places at once.  I anticipate being at work, wanting to be with her and then being with Rosemary and feeling like I need to be working.

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In many ways, I think staying home is the harder road.  I know that it is right for me to return to work.  I firmly believe that each mother’s path to work outside the home or not is personal and good.  There is no wrong answer.  What is good for one is not for another.  I read a blog post about women saying about each other, “good for her, not for me.”  I like the flexibility of the statement.  Being a mom is hard enough without the condemnation of each other.  There are many different paths.

But for me, the transition back to the working world is hard and sad.  I have spent the last week purchasing things like mad—a refrigerator for my office, duplicate pumping supplies, a few bras that let you nurse and pump (a bra name like “Dairy Fairy” sure makes you feel beautiful), button down shirts, clothes that fit (that hopefully will be too big soon).   Its like the only thing I can control is purchases.

I have so many questions, the answers of which I cannot control.  Will Rosie still want to nurse with so much bottle-feeding?  Will my supply stay adequate?  Will the Capitol finally designate a mother’s room so that I can pump somewhere other than in a bathroom stall?  Will I have time to pump during the day (I must make time but will that be annoying to others)?  When will I exercise?  How will I get out the door on time in the morning?  Will it be okay if I leave the office earlier than I did before?  Will I still be good at my job?  Will Rosemary be okay if we have to wake her in the morning to take her to Lee Lee’s, Grandma’s or Megan’s?  What will the day look like?  Will I still be the expert on Rosemary?  How can Scott help?  (He is so willing.)  When will a routine immerge?  CAN I EVEN DO THIS?

I have had so little compassion toward moms returning to work until now.  What is the big deal and why are you crying?  Now I totally get it.  It is just hard.

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One thing I do know is that Rosemary will be in the best hands.  She will spend time with my mom (Lee Lee), Scott’s mom (Grandma), and my sister (Aunt Sis—yes, she has an aunt name).  She will be smothered in kisses and spoiled rotten.  I am not worried about Rosemary!

It seems right that I would go back at the new year.  It is a good time for transitions, fresh starts, and new beginnings.  And with this new year I will set a resolution to just keep things simple and to be kind to myself.  I know I will get back in shape but it will take time.  Its okay.  I know I will be productive at work, but it will take time.  Its okay.  I know I can have an organized home, but it will take time.  Its okay.    I will get into a rhythm one thing at a time.  This first week of working I will simply see how it goes and try to get a quiet time in before I leave.  When that seems sort of mastered I will try to also exercise a day or two a week.  When I have that sort of mastered I will go back to my small group.  Scott and I will work hard to have a date night and lean into each other.  We will likely say “yes” to very little until we figure out our new rhythm of life.  I know it will come in time.

Isaiah 40:11 says, “He tends to his flock like a shepherd: he gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those who have young.”  I am so grateful for a father that gently leads me.

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5 responses to “On returning to work.

  1. Such an emotionally sweet post.

  2. Oh my gosh, Chelsea! I’m so proud of you and so thankful for Rosemary in our lives. Precious. I have faith that you will make the right decisions for you and your family and when they don’t work as intended, find the best alternative. Enjoy your sweet baby girl. My love to you and all the family. Flora

  3. Beautiful, Chelsea, absolutely beautiful. You put into such eloquent words what is a universal struggle for all of us mommas! Agreed – no ‘right’ answer. There are hard things and good things on both sides. I will be praying for you and Scott and sweet Rosemary as you transition this week. Love you sweet friend! Can’t wait to see you back at small group when you’re ready! Go easy.::

  4. Christine Ortner

    Mine are 12 and 8 and 8. I still feel the emotions you describe almost daily. For me the answer was to work part-time. Even with a lighter schedule I always feel torn. The kids are in school but there are so many little things that they want me to come to school for. They are sad if a miss even one poetry reading. I just wish I could be in four places at once. One of me with each kid and one at work. Why do we always feel so guilty?

  5. It’s hard, but you’ve got this. Just be merciful with yourself if it takes a little longer to get to the exercising twice a week or date night becomes nap time or you don’t lean in to each other quite as soon or frequently as you’d planned. And fwiw I found it less stressful to maintain a rigid pumping schedule.