My mind was quickly put at ease on (b), but (a) niggled away in the back of my mind for my entire maternity leave. I was finding being a mother a bit on the overwhelming side, how was I going to add working into the mix? Hubby kept telling me not to worry, that work was going to feel like a respite. I was relieved to discover that he was mostly right. However, I did find the first few weeks back more difficult than he did. I don't handle sleep deprivation as well as he does, and I am not drinking caffeine so I couldn't rely on any artificial stimulation to wake me up once I got to my desk (or when I wanted a nap after lunch). Also, I was pumping, and that puts extra demands on your body and extra constraints on your day.
So what do I wish I had known during those first few weeks? In no particular order:
- Leaving your baby gets easier (for both of you).
- Drink lots and lots of water. Drink constantly. It took my about a week to figure out that the nasty headaches I had at the end of the day were from dehydration.
- Eat lots of protein. Even now, if I don't get enough protein, I am extra tired at the end of the day. Feeding a baby takes a lot out of you, and the baby always gets top priority on nutrients.
- Ditch the guilt. Liking your job is a good thing. Your baby is doing fine with the person/people watching her.
- Whatever problems/issues come up, you'll find a solution. I had to take a business trip when Pumpkin was 6 months old. We weren't giving her formula since we suspected that she was sensitive to cows milk and hadn't mustered up the energy to try out the hydrolyzed formulas. I freaked out. How would I leave enough milk? How would I pump during the trip? The answers to those questions are a post of their own. My point is that Hubby and I have found a solution to every problem that has come from being a two-career household. (Hubby, of course, told me this would be the case when I was freaking out about the problem du jour. He still has to tell me this sometimes.)
- Get organized and set up systems to help you remember the important things. Sleep deprivation and the stress of a new routine make you surprisingly forgetful. I'm still working on this one. My main solutions are redundancy and lists. If there is something I might forget at home and I can have an extra one at work, I do. If someone asks me to do something, I write it on a list or put it on my calendar.
Anyone else have any tips/advice/stories to share?