This last week was one of the hardest, most exhausting weeks of my life. After 3 months of maternity leave and 5 extra snow days, I had to go back to work. I knew it was going to be hard, but it is impossible to describe just how hard it actually was. If you are a mom and have gone through this, you know what I mean!
I was so lucky to have 3 wonderful months off of work for maternity leave. Even though it wasn’t the best decision for us financially, I knew I would not regret that extra time with my new baby and that it would be completely worth it. I am also so lucky to have both of Kinsie’s grandmas, and her Aunt Megan, available and willing to watch Kinsie during the week while I’m at work. The fact that she was with the people who love her as much as Ryan and I do was very comforting, and I knew my girl was in good hands.
To say that I was a little emotional is a huge understatement. I was a mess! On Monday morning, after getting myself ready for work, feeding Kinsie and gathering all of her things to spend the day with Grandma Bev, I still had about 15 minutes left before we needed to go. During that time, I snuggled with my baby…and cried. A lot. Ever since she was born, I have spend almost every hour of the day with her, and now I was about to spend 9 hours away from her every day. I just couldn’t swallow that idea. Once we got to Bev’s, I snuggled with Kinsie a little more. And cried a little more. I knew she would have fun with her grandma, I just didn’t want to leave her. I finally got in my car and drove to school…and cried a little more. Call me over-emotional all you want, you probably wouldn’t understand unless you’re a mom! I was proud of myself for only crying 3 times that day!
Once I got to school, I freshened up my make up and was welcomed back with open arms by my staff. I work with all women, so most of them had been through it all before and knew how I was feeling. They comforted me with hugs, gave me advice on the best places in the school to pump, and encouraged me by telling me that it WILL get easier. And I knew they were right. Once the kids got there, we had a great day. They were really excited to have me back and we spent most of the day just talking and getting reacquainted. I stayed busy enough that I got through the day pretty well, with the help of Bev sending me pictures and updates of my girl. She was happy and having fun, so that helped me carry on.
Once 4:00pm struck, I couldn’t have left the building faster. I needed to see my baby. I needed to touch her and hold her. The 9 hour work day felt like a week and I couldn’t get back soon enough to be reunited with Kinsie. We spent the rest of the evening playing and snuggling, and before I knew it, it was time to go to bed and do the whole thing again.
The next day, I took Kinsie to my mom’s, where I cried when I dropped her off. Again. I’m pretty sure I cried each morning until Friday. I had another great school day and my mom sent me pictures throughout the day. I could tell Kinsie was having a blast, so again, that helped me get through the day. Each day did get a little better, and I stayed so busy that the days seemed to go pretty fast, but even so, I felt like I was away from Kinsie for SO long. I cannot even explain how much I missed her and craved to be holding her.
Some of the pictures that were sent to me while I was at work. I am OBSESSED with the selfie of Kinsie and her “Yaya!”
After a very long, emotional week, I can officially say that I made it through my first week back. It was harder than I could have ever imagined, but I did it. There were times when I felt completely exhausted and overwhelmed and needed some encouragement from the people I love. Before going back, I felt like I finally hit my stride with taking care of Kinsie while I was at home every day. But working full-time while trying to take care of myself, the baby, the dogs, and the house all by myself is a completely different story. Ryan wished he could have been home to help me, but he just started one of the tougher classes he’ll have this year and needed to study. He spent a lot of time on the phone with me reminding me that we will get through this and it is making us stronger, and even though it was hard to see at the moment, I knew he was right. Kinsie and I both had somewhat of a rough transition into this new routine, and she was a little fussier and started waking up at 4 and 5 in the morning and would not calm down until I fed her (she had previously been sleeping through the night until 6:30a.m. for over a month until this week). Throughout the week I felt like I was barely keeping my head above water. But I did. I had to. I understand now why women don’t return to back at all after having kids, but that just isn’t an option for us at this point. I still love teaching, and I know that spending time away from Kinsie helps me appreciate every moment with her, and it will make me a better mother.
This is how we spent most of the day together on Saturday.
Ryan and I are so unbelievably blessed to have such an amazing support system to help us with our current circumstances. I know that things won’t always be easy and we will have tougher weeks like this every once in a while, but we couldn’t get through any of it without the love, encouragement and prayers of our family and friends. And of course, I know God is carrying us through all of this. He has always helped me get through tough times before, so I know this time will be no different. One of my favorite quotes that I heard a few years ago says, “The deeper we are rooted in the unfailing love of God, the less we sway when the winds of life blow harshly.” This is spot on and it is a good reminder to trust in the Lord always. With His help, I know we can get through anything!