Let's see...I have a sassy 5 year old that thinks she is 12, an almost 3 year old that is a sweet sweet mommy's girl, and a newborn 2 month old that is by far my most difficult baby to date!
I am exhausted, thrilled, humbled daily, frustrated, and above all, honored that God would entrust these little ones to me! There have been so many times when I have made the comment that I do not deserve these little blessings and I am SO glad that God does not give us what we deserve because frankly, we deserve nothing. I love my kids beyond anything I could have ever imagined. But...being a parent is hard. It is hard to know what the "right" thing is for them. I get so worked up sometimes trying to figure out how to be the Perfect Mommy. Truth is I never will be and I just pray that I don't mess them up too much!
Next week, I return to work. I was able to work right up until the day I delivered which I never thought was possible! Since I was on bed rest for a good portion of my last two pregnancies, I just assumed it would be that way this time as well. Instead, I landed in the hospital for a "hurry up" delivery at 37 weeks, 1 day. I worked all day and then was in labor all that night. That means that I was able to take my entire 12 weeks of maternity leave. I CANNOT tell you how fast these 12 weeks have gone by. It has just been a crazy time with all three of my kiddos, the holidays, and everything. But I would not trade it for anything in the world!!!
I am excited about going back to work. There. I said it. I love my job and I have put so much into my career. Being a social worker is hard and it is very emotionally draining but it is so incredibly rewarding. Do I love it everyday? No. But, for the most part, I love my job. I love helping people and that's what my job is all about. I like the relationships with adults that I have. My work environment is way different than any other part of my job but I feel like it is a piece of the puzzle that just makes everything work.
With all of the things that I love about work...there is a negative...I will leave my baby girl all day! She is so little and fragile (not really, she is pretty tough) and young. Gosh, the thought of someone else seeing her first smile or feeling her first tooth just rips my heart right out of my body but somehow there is such a peace within me about going back to work. I have never been a huge worrier and that includes my children. I mean, I worry about them like normal Moms do, but I am just not one to sit and wonder about "what ifs." God has only given me these little kiddos for a short period of time and I am confident that He will take care of them. I know that it is easy for me to say because my kids have all been very healthy. I know that if anything were to happen, God would give me the grace to deal with whatever He puts in my path.
My kids will be fine, including little Hannah Banana. I am taking her on Monday and Tuesday for a "trial run." I know they won't call me if she starts crying but I will be able to see what it's like taking all three kids and getting myself ready. I think the things I am most concerned about are whether or not she will sleep during the day because I know how hard she is to get to sleep. Then I am afraid she will be overstimulated and not sleep at night. Then I am worried about her eating. I don't know how much to leave her or whether I will be able to keep up with the milk needs. I have decided to not stress about it too much. I will continue pumping and I will keep breastfeeding as long as I can and then when I can't anymore, we will switch to formula. I'm cool with that!
So, for the most part I have mixed emotions about going back to work. Yes, I have three kids in daycare and it is very expensive but they do well with structure and I enjoy my job. I know that the fact that I don't "have" to work and choose to is a topic of criticism but we seriously are doing what is best for our family at this time. Will that change? Perhaps. Perhaps not. For right now, this is where God has brought us so we will go along for the ride.
How did you best handle returning to work?
Rikki Hester is a social worker at Texas Health Arlington Memorial Hospital and Mom of three girls.