Going back to work after an extended maternity leave has been, predictably, an adjustment. I've been faced with the extra adjustments of not only being off work for 13+ months, but going back to a new job, in a new office, while pretending that I'm not in the throes of first trimester life sickness and exhaustion.
There's definitely something to be said about taking a short maternity leave. I imagine those mothers (I'm looking at you, Americans) that are only allowed a handful of weeks to recover from the chaos of childbirth actually have, in some respects, an easier time adjusting to the return to work.
Whereas I'm coming off 13 months of the leisurely stay at home life, those six-week-return-to-work-moms never really got to dig into the glorious routine that is the non-newborn. Whereas I could (attempt to) make homemade bread for our dinner during afternoon naptime and got used to the life of one nap housework one nap me-time, those six-weekers might still have babies that don't know the difference between night and day. They could still be ripped and torn in unspeakable places and leaking through their shirts every two and a half hours and so sleep deprived they can't remember their baby's birthday and back to work they go. Well they've kind of got it going on, because they don't know what they're missing. Now that I'm back at work, I know, and the struggle is real.
I only work part time so you'd think I'd have it going on, but really I don't. I may get home with time to put Parker down for an afternoon nap depending on what daycare did that day, but gone are the days of simple "me" time. No, I come home and nap (which I'm mostly done with) or look at my disgusting house and cry because I'm too tired to clean it. And it's only 4 p.m.
I found a frozen bag of soup in the freezer today and almost wept with joy. It's not enough to feed all of us, but with some noodles thrown in there and maybe some french fries on the side (french bread would be ideal, but I hear making that involves more than turning the oven on and opening a bag) we can almost pretend that I'm back on the homemaking train. (Side note: I put too many noodles in the soup. It now looks like the world's saddest tomato sauce.)
One of the biggest joys of going back to work with a 13 month old, though, was that I was ready. All maternity leaves should be 13 months instead of 12 (sorry, Americans) because beautiful little babies turn into socially inept little toddlers at 13 months. All of a sudden they realize that it isn't their duty to be sweet little things, and that they are the rulers of one and all. Basically, Parker needed daycare and to hang out with other kids and I needed a break from the hair pulling.
It's definitely been an adjustment going back to a regular person lifestyle, but there's a glorious silver lining at the end of it: come early 2017 I get to start my life of stay at home luxury all over again. Because two should be easier than one, right?