Please don't look at the title of this post and think that I have figured out the secrets to happily returning to work once your maternity leave is over. There are still tearful mornings and I am still counting down to Friday every week when I can spend 2 whole days with my little man. But you can believe me when I tell you that I do understand how hard it is to leave your sweet smooshy baby behind and go back to work.
I know why you've asked your husband to drop the baby off at daycare or the babysitter's house in the morning because you just. can't. do. it. I've been back at work for 2 months and I still can't do it.
I often remind myself that he spends most of his day sleeping.
This IS a collection of tips and tricks I've discovered since I've gone back to work myself. And I do hope they make it a *little* easier for you.
I swear the minute we got home from the hospital our mail carrier started dropping off Shutterfly coupons. I put them all in a drawer and pulled them out about 3 weeks before I went back to work. I proceeded to order a katrillion pictures of my little man so I could plaster the walls of my office with his sweet face. When I'm sitting in there during lunch or a pumping break I can't help but smile and be a in fabulous mood just looking at him. His pictures are also the first thing I see when I walk in each morning when I'm missing him the most!
This was great advice from my "work wife" and former teaching partner. My first day back would have been completely disastrous if I'd waited to send him to his babysitter's house for the first time that day. Start with your post-partum check-up. Drop your little one off while you go and if you're brave, meet a friend for lunch. Experience the joy of running in to pick them up and the big smiles on their little face when you get there. I also had a practice week just before I went back. I dropped Little Man off for a few hours each day - some longer, some shorter. This helped me to get a peek at different parts of his day at the babysitter's. I also liked being able to go get him whenever I wanted for a week. :)
I get one box (4 snacks) delivered to my school every week (you can adjust the frequency of your deliveries) and I love it!! I have yet to get a snack I didn't like at all. I love that I can "trash" some of their choices before they ever make it into a box as well. This is a great feature for people with food allergies!
If Graze doesn't seem like your thing, think about a different kind of delivery service - like Ipsy or Birchbox! I've also found that having something to look forward to at work has made heading back in each Monday a little easier. :)
My last tips are for my fellow nursing mamas who are pumping at work.
I love nursing my little one, but I will not miss that dag-gone pump!! It makes me feel like a moo-cow. For real.
The two things that have been the most beneficial to my pumping sessions at work are:
1. podcasts and
2. a really good pumping bra!!
Let's talk podcasts. Mamas, pull out your iPod/iPhone/iTunes on your laptop. Sometimes, the rhythm of that pump drives me nuts. I needed something else to listen to!! I found several that I love and I'd love to tell you a little bit about them!
1. Serial : Serial is an offshoot of This American Life, another radio show and podcast. Each season will tell a different true "story." The first season followed the story of Adnan Syed, a high school kid who was arrested for killing his girlfriend. Next season is already in the works and I can't wait!!
2. Doug Loves Movies : This one is my husband's fault. :) Doug Benson is one of our favorite comedians and this podcast is part game show part talk, but it's all about movies. It can be a little nutty to follow sometimes, but it's a fun way to find new comedians and Doug does a good job of talking about new movies as they come out.
3. Passion City Church: Louie Giglio's church is here in Atlanta and if you're ever in the area on a weekend I really recommend going. Worship at Passion City is amazing. Louie makes Jesus real and relatable, and they also have an amazing set of guest speakers that pop in occasionally. I also like to keep my own church's podcasts on my devices so I can still feel plugged in on weeks we aren't able to go.
4. The Longest Shortest Time: Love this podcast. Just real talk about parenthood - the good, the bad, the lovely and the ugly. This was a favorite during the middle of the night feedings, but now it's one of my favorite pumping podcasts. :)
Finally, the most important part - the pumping bra.
I did some serious research on this and I'm happy to tell you I love the bra I bought. It's not the cheapest, but it is the best quality for the price. And when I was shopping, I did find the best price for Simple Wishes on Amazon.
The Simple Wishes hands-free pumping bra has been a game changer for me at work. I can check email, write lessons, put materials for the next day together, and eat while I pump! It has also cut my pumping time in half which makes a HUGE difference when I need to step out for a pump break. I also love that each size is adjustable so you can make sure it fits you properly as you um, grow and shrink. ;)
I hope you've found a few bits and pieces in here to help you. People kept telling me, "It'll get easier." I don't know that I agree with that statement. :) I don't miss him any less during the day, but I've learned to find ways to smile through it. I hope you do too!