I dreaded going back to work when I was on maternity leave. I love my job, I love my career. But my love for my daughter was bigger than anything else I’d ever experienced, and I actually had nightmares about leaving her. I think all working moms go through this at one point or another. And I actually wanted to go back to work – I can’t imagine what it’s like for those who don’t. After one particularly disturbing nightmare in which I was at the office dressed in my bathrobe and realized I’d left the baby at home by herself, I made myself this list – and I honestly never had a nightmare about it again (although I did, of course, cry when the day came I had to leave her…I’m still human!) Overall, stress can induce Crohn’s, so I needed to get that anxiety under control, or I’d be dealing with a bigger mess. So, here’s the list:
- Don’t worry about things that haven’t and may never happen.
- She will love daycare.
- It will give her the mental, physical, emotional and social stimulation she needs.
- We will get the same amount of “quality” time with her as if we saw her all day.
- I need to go back to work for my mental sanity – I love my job and will enjoy that time.
- Being a working mom will make me a better parent.
- This routine will make her happy.
- Separation anxiety is normal and healthy and she won’t remember it in the long run.
- She will make friends and develop intellectually.
- We can afford it.
To explain the final bullet, that was more about the cost of daycare, which was a secondary nagging concern. This list won’t work for everyone, and I’m sure there are things that I could have added. But it did help me enormously, just taking it with me and reading through it whenever I felt a breakdown was imminent.