Going back to work sounds, logistically, pretty easy, well it sounds draining, but "easy" in the been there done that sense of the word. Get decent childcare, backup childcare, figure out dinner and map out parenting roles now that both heads of household are no longer in the home full-time. It should just take a few weeks to get reacclimated to a work and home routine. But preparing emotionally for going back to work is an entirely different story.
Even in the very best of circumstances — think 480 days of maternity leave like how they do in Sweden — going back to work can be a challenging readjustment.
From sleep deprivation to the guilt of leaving a baby with someone who is not his or her mother, to just feeling all the way around lethargic and a bit out of it, going back to work can be really overwhelming. But it is important to confront these feelings with a bit of humor and lightheartedness and to remember that this is not the first nor will it be the last time a mother has gone through this.
The good news is that knowing that others have similar feelings those first weeks back can help smooth out the crazy feelings. And since it really is hard and we know you could use a good chuckle, here are 20 hilarious thoughts new moms have after coming off maternity leave.
20 "I Am So Freaking Tired"
Did someone say sleep deprivation?
"Nobody tells you how hard it is to be a first-time mom, with hormones, with baby, and then with the government’s “policies,” and then the stigma of society and working mothers. It’s just hard to believe, yet we do it," says Allison, an administrative assistant who had 9 weeks maternity leave.
Sleeping or lack thereof can be a real doozy for new mothers, yet somehow we manage to take it all in stride.
A bit of advice: set a bedtime for yourself. It may seem simple but if you look at the clock and realize your bedtime has passed, stop and go to bed. Your brain will be happy you did.
19 Am I Leaking Again?
If you're breastfeeding and going back to work, invest in a system to catch your milk while you are trying to figure out a pumping schedule.
By law, employers have to give you time to pump, but leaks happen. It can be pretty hilarious looking back at your shirt that has two bullseyes when you show up to a business meeting. Talk about making an entrance!
"I would tell my boss that I needed to go pump, and he would yell at me that it wasn’t a good time and he didn’t have to provide time for me if it inconvenienced the company’s day-to-day. I really didn’t choose when I needed to pump, your body tells you," confided to us Jessica, a finance executive who took 6 weeks maternity.
18 Oh Great, Now I Have To Wear A Bra Again
Do you remember being young and jumping at the chance to wear a bra? Man, if only you knew just how restricting those things can be after a baby.
For me, a bra is a life saver. I fear so much having "mom boobs" that I wear a bra almost indefinitely, but it's still a chore and a lot more laundry.
Going back to work is like a forced bra experience. If you're breastfeeding, you more than likely have one out at one time or another anyway. When you go back to work lets just call that inappropriate office behavior.
"My biggest gripe about going back to work was having to wear a stupid bra, real clothes? Really!" said Hannah, a marketing executive who took 3 months maternity leave.
17 Will they even recognize me?
If your maternity leave is on the shorter end of the scale, you will have less time to burn off the extra baby weight. For most women, making the debut back to work means looking and acting like they did pre-baby.
And that is possible until one of your coworkers mentions how round your face is. Go back to work with your head held high and the fierceness of someone who just gave birth to a human -- because you did.
Also getting a postpartum waist wrap to wear under your blouses can be a huge help in tightening any skin that's still a bit out of place.
16 It’s Going To Be Nice To Have Some Quiet
While on maternity leave, you would be surprised at how used to you can get to all the crying, screaming, and overall unrest that comes with raising a newborn.
When you think of going back to work, it is normal to think of the peace and quiet that awaits you in your office environment. But what no one tells you is that upon returning to work, depending on where you work, you will have to deal with the comportment of full-grown adults, which can sometimes be worse.
When it comes to going back to work, the grass is not always greener on the other side.
15 Is It Too Soon To Put Up A Photo Of My LO?
You are bound to miss your little one when you go back to work and keeping photos of him or her close by while you are working will only help the day go by a bit faster.
But as working women, it can be a bit challenging to come back to work and risk others seeing us as the mom who does not have her head in the game yet because we are crying over a photo of our little one.
We know, it's rough out there. After you get a better, feel for the type of environment you are coming back to, feel free to post as many photos of your little one as you see fit.
14 Do They Make Power Suits With Elastic Waistbands?
It's pretty normal to get used to the comforts of slippers, nursing tanks, and sweatpants while on maternity leave. So when it came time to go back to work, a friend of mine went on a mad Google search to see whether or not they made power suits with elastic waistbands.
From flip-flops to heels, and spit-up to coffee stains, it takes some real readjusting when it's time to go back to the daily grind.
The best she found was a pair of maternity chinos and a loose cut suit jacket. I mean it works but the wardrobe change is one of the largest adjustments when it comes to going back to work.
13 I Miss My Couch
Nothing says home sweet home like your couch or your nursing rocking chair. One of the things many women miss when it comes time to venture back to work is the comforts of their couch.
Depending on the type of job you have, consider replacing your stiff desk chair with a yoga ball or getting one of those floating desks that allows you to work standing up.
Your back will thank you. And you need the extra comfort now more than ever since your back muscles and spine are still trying to get used to not carrying around all that extra weight anymore.
12 Bye-Bye Daytime Television
Ok, while daytime television can be pretty terrible at times, there is a certain comfort in being able to watch talk shows, reality television, and infomercials at any given time of the day. Plus, let's not forget being able to judge anyone on reality TV!
Though educational cartoons are bound to be thrown into the mix at one point or another when it's time to go back to work, those days of being able to laugh out loud at whatever thing your favorite reality star just said will be long gone.
But take it in stride at least you will now take comfort in knowing that you will be back to work and soon back to being a productive member of society.
11 I Still Have To Take Care Of A Baby When This Meeting Is Over?
There's nothing like clocking overtime and knowing that there are still at least two poopy diapers in your near future. Take comfort in knowing that at least you can see your little angel at the end of a long work day.
Just try not to tire yourself out too soon when you start back, moms often get stretched a little thin in the beginning.
The endless articles in Cosmopolitan Magazine show just how many moms find themselves wanting to prove to everyone that they can do it all: balance a home life, a work life and have enough time for themselves. It is nearly impossible to do it all and do it well, so give yourself a break.
10 I Hope That My LO Is Alright
Okay, while this thought may not be hilarious, it is honest. At times, it can also be a bit ridiculous, especially if you are leaving your little one in very capable hands, or as it were in my case, with my child's father.
I often found myself wondering if my son was okay despite knowing that he was with his dad. That compulsory need to protect and micromanage is just another part of motherhood, or at least that's what I have been told.
Though it can be a bit nagging to everyone else, it just shows that you are a good mom who wants to look out for your little one. Just try to keep your wandering thoughts in check while at work, though.
9 Do You Miss Me Yet?
Asking your baby over the phone while on your lunch break whether or not they miss you is about the strangest thing I think I've done. I found myself wondering whether or not he would forget me, or forget my voice during my first week back to work.
Those irrational thoughts just show how much I will never be the same.
Mom, Carey gets it, "My first day back to work just felt surreal. Everybody else around me was obviously welcoming and happy to have me back, but I wanted to scream, "I made a human being! I am a different person now! This is all I can think about!"
8 It’s Only The 12th Time…
How many times are too many times to check in? Is there such a thing when you are a new mom who's just gone back to work?
A friend told me during a wedding reception that she called her son's daycare so many times during her first few days after work that the staff knew her by name just by the sound of her voice within the first week of his time there.
I applaud her for her due diligence in making sure her baby was doing well. "I don't care what they think. Even if it makes me seem like a helicopter mom, at least I know no one will mess with my kid, because they know that I care and that I will call!" she said.
7 What If No One Can Find Mr. Snuggles?
For my friend Amanda, leaving her son with her mother-in-law without Mr. Snuggles went off about as well as World War I.
"She (Her Mother In Law) called me crying because Patrick (her son) was crying because she couldn't find Mr. Snuggles. He had thrown every toy she tried to give him back at her and began screaming like a possessed demon from a horror film. I think he just missed me."
I wished her luck with that and prayed that my own son would never cause a similar scene. Luckily he has yet to grow so attached to any specific toys yet.
6 What If My LO Doesn’t Sleep Tonight?
If you have a little one at home with some trouble sleeping, each night after work can be as intense as a nail-biting, edge of your seat thriller, wondering if your baby will give you any repose after a long day of work.
If he or she does not, you know at least you can look forward to looking like an extra from The Walking Dead a few times a week.
At least everyone on the job knows you just had a baby, right?
My friend Sophie wrote to me several times asking whether or not she would ever sleep again after going back to work.
5 You Can’t Have My Job
If you are going back to work, you may have to face the new hire who took over your job during your maternity leave. If you are feeling a little threatened by his or her presence, just try to remember that it is normal to have those feelings.
Try to reel it in though. It can be nice to have a number two around to help you get settled back into work mode. Try not to worry about whether or not he or she is gunning for your job.
Just approach the experience with a light heart a big smile and all that newfound motherly wisdom you just acquired.
4 Is It Lunch Break Yet?!
Ah, lunchtime. The golden hour in the middle of the workday when you can take a break to eat and reflect, or nap because you will probably need the extra rest since you are just starting back.
We won't mislead you, the first few days back to work can be pretty rough and if you feel the same and are constantly looking forward to taking lunch try not to feel bad, it should pass when your body gets reacclimated to your work hours.
In the meantime don't forget your neck pillow, sleeping upright without it can be a real pain.
3 Holy Mother I’m Starving
Moming and working is hungry work. And if you are pumping several times a day on top of it all you are bound to work up quite the appetite. The only real way to get through it is to bring lots of snacks.
Think healthy: the healthier the better and more energy you will have if you give your body something good to snack on.
I got the nickname rabbit when I first started back because I was constantly eating carrots and granola. I did not gain a pound but I was able to keep my hunger in check and my supply up.
2 How Many More Hours Until I Can Be In Pj’s Again?
If most of your maternity leave was spent topless, nursing and pumping, it can be really hard to get used to wearing real clothes again.
Looking forward to the end of the workday when you can change out of everything is normal for some moms and how often they think about it can even be really funny.
"I would race to my car after work just so I could unhook my bra and toss my shoes in the back seat and put on my flats that I would wear to drive home. It was the best part of my day next to seeing my little one," said Hannah, a new mom.
1 What’s The First Thing I’m Going To Eat When I Get Home…?
One of the most hilarious things I have ever heard was the story of a mom friend, who told me that one day she found herself sitting at work wondering what kind of dinner was waiting for her back at home.
Her mom used to make great dinners a few times a week when she first started her job a few years ago and now that she had just started back to work again she was looking forward to that, only to remember that she was now the mom and that since she moved and started her new life she is the one who will be cooking for her kids.
Such is the life of a parent!
References: What To Expect, Cosmopolitan, Quartz, and personal experiences.