It’s pretty common for new Moms to bring their babies into the office while on maternity leave as they get closer to returning to work. Although I hadn’t really planned to bring my baby into the office, when my husband told me he was driving into the city for 2 hours and would be near my office I said I would join him. The baby was about 2.5 months old. This quickly came together the day before I was set to drive in with my husband and our son. I emailed my boss letting him know of my plan, hoping he and the team would be around to see us.
I was excited to see everyone and show off my beautiful new baby boy. When I arrived everyone was in such good spirits, complimenting me on how they could tell I lost all my baby weight and raving about how happy and adorable my son was. I circled the floor stopping my everyone’s desk that I work closely with. The baby was loving all the attention- literally making everyone’s day.
I had only been gone for 3 months, 2.5 since the baby was born and 2 weeks working from home prior to his birth. It seemed like I never left. It was nice knowing that when I left the office that day I still had another 1.5 months left of maternity leave. (My company gave me 3 months and I took an additional month of combined vacation and unpaid time) I was feeling a mix of emotions- thrilled to see co-workers who were happy to see me and my baby soon so well, happy to hear they missed me and couldn’t wait for my return, nervous if the baby started to screen in the office at any given moment (he was a saint!), sad that my maternity leave was more than half way over, nervous about the unknown future of being a working mom, sad to leave my baby each day to come to work which seemed so meaningless now that I had given birth to this precious being, apprehensive about how I would balance it all and continue to do well in work, and unsure of how I would somehow merge my new self with my old self. I wondered what it would be like to come back to work now that I was a Mom.
So many unknowns, so many questions. I did what I would normally do- talk to my friends who have gone through this before me, research it, and read blogs about it. (Also knowing I have to work gave me no choice and working allows me to give our son more things than if I didn’t work made it a tad easier). I’m back to work for exactly 4 months now and I can honestly say it all works out. Breastfeeding and/or pumping before work, commuting, preparing for the day ahead, making it through the work day and back home to spend quality time with my family all works out! Honest! It’s still new to say “my son” while talking about my baby boy to clients and colleagues. I do feel like my old self when I walk into the office. I enjoy getting dressed up for work and trying to look my best. Who I am at the core is the same, with added responsibilities and worries, but also the biggest joys. I’m more cognizant now about calling out sick or rescheduling meetings because I do not want to be labeled the ‘checked out mom’ back from maternity leave or the ‘preoccupied mom’ who is not mentally present.
In my experience visiting my office prior to my return from maternity was a positive experience. I would encourage all working moms to make a trip in with baby!