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Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Maternity leave: the return

This post is part of the Carnival of Maternity Leave over at Visit for more posts on maternity leave from August 3 - 15 th, 2009.

My maternity leave is over. I was due back at work at the end of July but I am not going back. Not yet anyway.

Before I even started my second maternity leave I knew that I wanted to take more than a year off to be at home with the kids. I wanted to spend some of that fun time with the boy, time where he is walking and talking and learning like crazy. Time where I wasn't grumpy and exhausted from being up all night. That was time the husband got to spend with the girl while he was off for a year on unpaid leave with her between my two maternity leaves. Some mornings I was very jealous as I headed off to work and they hung out at home playing.

During my first maternity leave with the girl there was a part of me that was eager to return to work. At work there was an order to my life that I still hadn't found caring for the girl. The rules and demands were clear at work. I knew what was expected of me and how to perform the tasks associated with my job. By the time the girl turned one I still felt like I was new to this mommy thing. Every day I was learning new things and re-evaluating what I had learnt the day before. I felt insecure about my decisions and doubted myself often. At work there was none of that. At work I knew who I was.

I was so glad to have that time at home with the girl but it was not as relaxing as this second maternity leave has been. This time I feel more confident about my decisions. I don't doubt my parenting choices (as much) as the first time around and so I am better able to enjoy myself. I still have stressful moments, stressful days but I know now that they are temporary. Whatever difficult stage we are in will end and we will move out of it into something new.

I am also more forgiving with myself this time. I had almost fifteen years to learn how to navigate the working world. No wonder I found work easier than being a mom! You can't expect to feel as comfortable after one year in a "job" as you did in the other job that you had been doing for much longer.

So I am going to be a stay-at-home mom. Until October 2010 anyway. I going to enjoy this time with the kids and the fact that it will be me and them for the next year. After that I will have to return to work so that the husband can have his turn as the primary caregiver. That is our deal. Some time for me to be home with the kids and some time for him. Until the boy turns four and enters kindergarten. Or we run out of money.

I know that if I had to go back to work right now I could. I wouldn't want to. I don't feel ready. I hope that when the time comes it feels right. That I don't leave these two with a heavy heart. But that time isn't now.


  1. Congrats - I'm pretty sure you will love your decision (OK, most days - not all - maybe on the good days when you aren't pulling out your hair...)

    Very exciting for you and your family.

  2. Hooray for great benefits!

    I am also extending my second maternity leave, although in my case I was laid off and I will be living off of my severance. I know that I could return to work, too, but I'm glad I don't have to. I'm looking forward to spending time with my fledgling toddler, to seeing his first steps and watching him grow.

    After all, these days are really short. Soon they will be over and these kids will be pushing ME out the door so they can have their space. ;)

  3. Good for you and the family, B. I am going back on Monday, myself and more than a bit worried about how the baby will fare. I am just trusting that it will go well. Here's hoping.

  4. It's great that you're able to do that. I need to try to figure out if I'm going to be staying home once these kiddos are a bit older or if we're going to be putting 3 kids in daycare. Enjoy!! :)