Returning to Work for the Second Time

9:00 PM

Well, it’s official, for the second time around I am a working mama. I returned to my job at the hospital a couple weeks ago and it’s actually been a smooth transition.
The first time I returned to work after being off for Oliver’s maternity leave I scheduled myself back after 10 months of leave so that Calvin would stay home for our final 2 months of leave. Having him at home with Oliver was such a load off of my mind and was also very convenient to drive to and from work without worrying about a babysitter. I always knew that Ollie was safe at home with his dad and could even keep specific foods ready for them, crafts planned, etc. It made going back so easy. Also, at the time I was only working 4 hour shifts, 5 days a week, so I could nurse him once in the morning before work, then immediately upon getting home, and not miss a nursing session. He was a decent solids eater and did pretty well with the transition of not seeing me 24/7. When Calvin returned to work, when Oliver turned 1, we scheduled “fun with Grandma” days when Calvin and I were both working. We also had a number of amazing women/friends from church help with watching him.
Having two children now it really is a different ball game. Whoever agrees to watch the children is now taking on an energy-filled three year old and a spirited 10 month old: not an easy task. It also ups the expense greatly if day care is considered. This time, Calvin and I have again gone with the 10-month-2-month split for maternity leave, so he is currently home until the end of January when Dakota turns 1. (Well, I’ll let him leave the house sometimes…)
Now I am working 10 – 12 hour shifts, a few days a week, on an inconsistent pattern. It definitely has pros and cons. On one hand, there can be many days in the week that I’m home with the family and we can spend time, get little house tasks done, go on fun road trips, etc. However, 6am to 6pm is a long time for kids to be away from their moms (especially breast fed!) and it’s a long time for me to be away from them too. Calvin will periodically send me emails to reassure me that everyone is doing great and it makes all the difference. I feel confident that they are being well taken care of.
As far as breastfeeding, on days that I work I typically still nurse Dakota once through the night and then I leave the bed at 5am. Around 9:30am and again around 2:30pm I find a spare office with no windows and pump a bottle for her. I store it in my lunch bag in the staff fridge. This becomes her primary bottle for tomorrow (and I try to leave another in the freezer at all times – just in case.) She actually likes her milk room temp or colder so Cal just offers it to her with lunch and if she doesn’t finish it she will have the rest later in the afternoon. We throw milk away on the 3rd day in the fridge. She also drinks water. As soon as I get home and settled I nurse her again. It’s a good system for us. Dakota is eating at least 3 meals a day, plus snacks: she loves food. She will eat a piece of buttered whole grain toast and a full scrambled egg by herself, and then still polish off whatever chopped fruit I offer to her. At lunch she loves pasta, carrots, cheese and meat. The only thing she spits out is cucumbers. She does quite well with not whining about missing me, and she actually naps better for Calvin than myself.
I see all of the benefits of being a stay at home mom, and with Calvin’s great job I think it could be a possibility for me, but I love my job and I’m a better mom when I’m not a 24/7 mom. The adult interaction, the varying pace, the intellectual (vs physical or emotional) challenge of the job recharges me and gives me more energy to do the mom-job the rest of the time. I love that I still have tons of time with my babies and I know our family will always find a way to make it work

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