Today is my last day of maternity leave. On Monday I’ll be back in the office and for ten hours a day, I will be seven long miles away from E.
I’ve already warned my husband, B, that I’ll be a blubbering mess next week. More accurately, I’ll be a wreck starting Sunday night. The day I confirmed my return date to work and verified with the day care center that E would start that day, I cried every half hour. And that was two weeks ago. Imagine the night before it all becomes reality.
When you tell people you’re headed back to work and you’re depressed about it, they all seem to think there’s something you can do to control it. You can’t go back part-time for a while? You can’t work from home? You can’t quit and be a stay-at-home-mom? The answer to all of these questions is “no.” And yes, I have thought of every single scenario. I have two college degrees and wondered if I should toss it all in the trash and become one of those cookware party hostesses. I wracked my brain for weeks on end trying to come up with something brilliant to sell on Etsy. I considered playing the lottery. If I could find any scenario that would let me call my boss on Monday morning and say, “Sorry, never coming back!” I wouldn’t hesitate for a second. But I can’t. I need to work, because that’s how I’m going to provide the best life for my baby girl.
Sunday will be hard. Monday will be harder, and I’m sure Tuesday-Wednesday-Thursday-Friday aren’t going to be much easier. I recently binged on the first two seasons of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, and I’m adopting Kimmy’s ten-second philosophy. In tough situations, just try to get through ten seconds at a time. It’s such a small span of time that no matter how awful, you can get through it. So focus on ten seconds and when they’ve passed, focus on the next ten seconds. Sure, I’ll have to do this 3,600 times a day–but my coping skills are kind of lacking.
Any working moms out there with advice on how to handle the end of maternity leave?