Though it’s only day two of being back to work, here’s some realities that have already hit me. Early days, of course, and we still have the daycare transition to tackle since Dubya’s with my parents this week. But I needed to flex my writing muscles again somehow.
- You will be afraid to look at your bank account. Despite being paid for six weeks’ worth of short-term disability, I still had 12 weeks of unpaid leave—that’s a lot of time without a paycheck. While my husband is more than happy to send money my way, I’m of a stubborn variety: I don’t want to ask him unless I absolutely have to. So today I transferred the remaining amount of money in a savings account and will wait until Thursday to log into my Bank of America account. Why? Because maybe it’ll be less cringe-worthy then.
- Piecing together outfits is a tough slog if you haven’t lost the weight. Which I haven’t. I’m aiming to, now that I’m walking 15 miles a week and will begin running again during lunchtime. But during leave, losing the weight wasn’t a top priority. Oh, I ate well. I tried to take advantage of our gym’s daycare. But when I returned from a 20-minute workout to see Dubya still in her car seat, on a table, with the one provider (though there had been two when I left) telling me it was great she didn’t have to take Dubya out, I decided not to use them again until Dubya was older and could play with the other kids.
- You will be amazed at how doing your normal workday routine, after the baby handoff, comes naturally. The husband and I walk to work together—at the Metro station, we part ways and I continue to my office. The walk up is as it was before: lots of banter, lots of huffing and puffing on my part (the last months of pregnancy were hard, yo). Before getting to the office, I did my usual Starbucks stop and decided to enjoy a breakfast sandwich, too. Being alone, without a tiny creature attached to you, feels odd but at the same time welcome. Don’t get me wrong, I miss the hell out of her. But there’s something about feeling like an adult again that’s refreshing and heartening.
- If your work is centered on long-term projects, you will have nothing to do the first few days. I’m coming back at a time when our fiscal year is ending and a lot of projects are wrapping up. I’m about to begin a few projects, but the kick-off meetings that would launch them are getting cancelled. I realize this is only day two, but I’m usually up to my eyeballs in meetings by Tuesday afternoons. I have been able to edit a few things and get my brain back in a space where I’m reading complex materials, but that’s about it.
- Everyone will want to see pictures of your baby and, if they’re mothers, talk to you about said baby for a long time. If you have nothing to do, this works out great. I made it to noon today before I thought the day was going by too slowly.
- Once the day is going by too slowly, all you will do is stare at pictures of your baby.