Heading back to Work after Maternity Leave

Well, I knew this day would come but now that it’s here I’m not so sure I’m ready for it. Not that I ever thought I’d be ready for it, but I guess the end of my maternity leave always seemed so far off in the distance and now it’s just totally sprung up on me. Tomorrow is my first day back to work after 3-months at home with my kiddos.

I totally don’t feel prepared at all. Not only mentally but logistically. I’m bringing my pump with me to work, but the show I work on is super busy and we are on set most of the day so I haven’t really thought about how I’m going to find time to pump. Or even when I do find time, I don’t know WHERE I will pump. All of the cast on my show shares one trailer with all the girls and guys, so it’s not super private. Which normally I love because I love spending time with the people I work with, but I definitely would want a little bit of privacy when pumping. I’m lucky enough that I work for a show that is incredible and I know that they will work with me on all of that stuff to make sure it goes smoothly for me. But I still just feel unprepared for it all.

1. MY SWEATER | 2. DARK WASH JEANS | 3. STUDDED FLATS | 4. LARGE PINK BOW | 5. MOLLY’S ROMPER

I’m also super worried about leaving Riley with our nanny. She’s absolutely wonderful so it has nothing to do with her, but more just to do with me and how overprotective I am as a mother. For instance, I can barely handle taking care of Riley and Molly at the same time so how can I expect somebody else to do it? Don’t get me wrong, when Riley and Molly are both behaving, taking care of them isn’t so bad. In fact, it’s awesome! I love when Riley is happily playing on his mat and Molly wants to play with him. Those moments with the three of us (four of us when daddy is home… sometimes five of us when our dog Owen wants to join) are some of my favorite moments of all! But it’s when Riley is screaming at the top of his lungs and I can’t figure out why, and then Molly joins in the screaming because it makes her upset when he’s upset, those are the moments where I feel like I can’t handle them. So how can I expect our nanny to handle that situation? Also, Molly is still building a relationship with our nanny (I’m not using her name because I want to respect her privacy), so I don’t want to put her in a situation where Molly gets upset with her because she’s giving attention to Riley since Molly is used to her full attention. I don’t know if that makes sense, but I’m just worrying about everything right now.

And here’s the thing, I know my worries are just a fraction of what most moms go through when they go back to work. Why is that? Well, I’m super lucky in the fact that I’m only going back to work one or two days a week right now. My boss is really understanding and when I wrote her a couple weeks ago to tell her I didn’t feel ready to come back, she was totally receptive to me starting with one day a week and going from there. I know not everyone has as understanding employer. Or, I know some companies can’t afford to have their employees come back on a limited basis. It’s a complicated situation for everyone. But all I know is that our country needs to find a way to give moms more time off before going back to work. I for one, chose to go back after 3 months since the new season of our show Home & Family is premiering. But many mothers are forced to go back after only having a short amount of time off. I find that so heartbreaking. Especially when they have to go back 5 days a week. I truly can’t imagine what an emotional toll that would be.

So even though I’m going through my own emotional distress at the moment, I’m well aware of how lucky I am. And I think that’s just how we are as mothers, meaning that any time you spend away from your children might make you feel some internal conflict.

1. MY SWEATER | 2. DARK WASH JEANS | 3. STUDDED FLATS | 4. LARGE PINK BOW | 5. MOLLY’S ROMPER

And don’t get me wrong, I don’t think twice about leaving the house for a few hours to go out with my girlfriends to dinner while Kevin stays home and gives the baby a bottle. I can’t function without some time away! But it’s different being gone for a full workday. I haven’t spent more than 3.5 hours away from Riley since he was born, so an 8 hour workday feels like such a long time to be away from him!

And these 3 months I’ve been able to spend with my kiddos has been such a blessing. Molly has really blossomed. She just turned 2 and her vocabulary probably consists of 5000 words. I remember our doctor telling us that she should know at least 200 by the time she turned 2. I think it’s safe to say she knows quite a few more than that and we’re super proud of her. She’s also putting complete sentences together by stringing together five or six words. Every day she’ll say something new that just totally blows our minds. She knows all the letters in the alphabet, she can count to 10 and has memorized some of her favorite books front to back. It’s the cutest thing to watch her “reading” them to her stuffed animals or her brother Riley. Speaking of Riley, watching the two of them together is like nothing I could possibly describe. She loves him so very much! The whole time I was pregnant I was worried about her being jealous, but really the only time she’s jealous is when mommy is holding Riley to nurse and she wants to hold him. Ha! I will remember these few months at home with my kids for the rest of my life. And I know that so many more memories will be made in the months to come. Again, I’m so very lucky that I don’t have to go to work five days a week. And I remember to be grateful for that each and every day.

I kind of feel like I’m rambling in this blog post. There’s no real structure to it or place I’m trying to end up. I’m just sort of telling you guys what’s on my mind today. So really I just want to chat about it. Tell me how you dealt with going back to work after maternity leave in the comments section. Or how you’re preparing yourself if you’re currently on maternity leave. I’m also curious how much time people got off. I know in other countries some women get 18 months off! How wonderful would that be?! Really I just want to chat with all of you about it. Thanks for reading Luvs!

126 Thoughts

126 thoughts on “Heading back to Work after Maternity Leave

      1. If you work for the government you get 12 months off paid that you can extend into 18 months. I always wondered why our neighbours in the US didn’t do something similar. I feel for you, mama

        1. Yes, it’s paid! It’s about 55% of your income and it’s capped at a certain amount, but we are so lucky to have that. I can’t imagine going back to work after 4-6 weeks like some mamas in the States 🙁

          Good luck on your first day back!

      2. I have a 2 year old little girl and a 4 month old little boy.
        I am taking 18 months maternity (in Alberta, Canada). I am a teacher and with my division we get 15 weeks top up (so my regular salary) and then we can apply for employment insurance. I feel so very grateful. I feel for you going back to work tomorrow mama, I can’t even imagine. Sending you love and strength 💜

  1. In Canada we get 12 months off – or up to 18 months our we choose to. I have. 3 1/2 month old and couldn’t imagine going back to work so soon… a baby that young needs to be with his mama!!

      1. Depending on your salary it’s a maximum of around 950$ CAD every 2 weeks for 12 months or the same amount over the year split over 18 months.

        1. *to clarify that’s if you were working for a certain amount of time before your mat leave and what you get from employment income from the government. Your employer could also have a maternity leave payment benefit plan on top of that

      2. Yes, it is paid at 55% of your salary for 12 months or 33% for 18 months (to a max salary $51,700) and it can be shared with your partner. Your post is a great reminder how lucky we are in Ontario! Sometimes it feels hard to make the mat leave wage for a year but we are lucky to get that time off with at least some compensation! I can’t imagine having to go back so soon but also love working, it is a hard transition either way when you do go back, best of luck Ali 🙂

  2. I am in Canada and we have a choice now of 12 or 18 months off! I am currently on my third mat leave and taking 12 months off. I have no idea how women in the USA do it!!

      1. It really is! I can’t imagine being up all night and then focusing on work all day. Our maternity leave is also paid at 55% of our regular wage plus we get a child benefit per month, so I am actually getting more income being off than I was working! After not paying for daycare, it ends up being more.
        Good luck on your first day back! You are a super mom!

  3. Wishing you a great first day back! I am pregnant with my second and starting to think about maternity leave too. It is so hard! But I have to say that my 2 year old daughter has a nanny while I work and it has been REALLY nice to have someone so helpful and loving to help out our family. There will be hard days for sure, but I have hope that the good will outweigh the tough!

    My favorite has been when our nanny teaches our daughter songs or things that I either haven’t done yet or forgot about – I came home one day and my daughter sang the entire “row row row your boat” song complete with hand motions for me. <3

    Good luck!!

  4. Hi Ali, I’m currently on maternity leave with baby number 2. With my first baby, I took 12 weeks off. I stopped breastfeeding by the time I went back to work with him so it was a little easier. This time, I’m only taking 8 weeks off but I’m going to continue breastfeeding and pumping at work, something I never did before. I’m at a totally different job now working at a school so I’m hoping to be able to pump every 3 hours but we really don’t have a private place for me to do that either. I’m already freaking out because with my first, my mom came up and stayed with us from the time he was 12 weeks old until he was 6 months. This time, my little 8 week old baby will be going with my 3 year old to his in home daycare. I trust these ladies who run the daycare completely, but it’s still nerve wracking and heart breaking that he won’t get that one on one attention my first did. Good luck tomorrow! I will say with my first, I was happy to get back into a working routine of things and be around adults again! Hopefully that will be how I feel this time around also.

  5. I can totally relate. My youngest is 2 and was a super hard newborn who struggled with reflux and never slept her first 12 weeks. I wanted to go back but didn’t want to burdon anyone with my screaming infant. I was so nervous…but I will say it was so nice to have some adult interaction and was so good for me. Good luck! Love love love your blog

  6. My office only offered 6 weeks off (unpaid). Because of this I decided to not return to work. I think 6 weeks is hardly time to physically recover, let alone mentally prepare to leave your newborn.

    I am so thankful that financially we can afford for me to be with my sweet little one. Not everyone has the luxury to make that choice.

    1. Wow. That is truly sad. 6 weeks unpaid?!?! That should be against the law!

      So glad you got to make the choice to leave! You are right that not everyone can do that.

      1. The law does require that they give you 12 weeks off. It doesn’t have to be paid but 6 weeks is against the law.

      2. I had to return at 6 weeks after a c section with my first! It was truly the hardest thing I have ever done! Technically I could have taken 12 weeks off but it would have been without pay and we could not afford that at the time!

  7. Hi Ali,
    I just started day 1 of work today after a 3 month maternity leave! I sobbed and sobbed the days leading up to it and then it made coming home so much more exciting and I appreciate my time so much with my little ones even more than before if that’s even possible! It does get easier!!

  8. You’re definitely overthinking it and the kids will be fine. I left my infant with complete strangers at daycare when I went back to work full time and she thrives and so did I. Try to enjoy the adult time away.

      1. Do you see a therapist? You might have postpartum anxiety. I’ve noticed that you have a pattern of constant worrying whenever there is a shift or change. I struggle with anxiety (it got worse postpartum for me) and some of your blog posts when you are worried sound like my racing thoughts that are a symptom of my anxiety.

        Mental health is so important. It’s actually great that you turn to writing to get some of these thoughts out, that’s healthy! I just hope you’ll go talk to someone in the mental health field if you feel like you need to. Maybe you already are!

        I just wanted to say something because I struggle with it and so it can be easy to spot in others. 💖

  9. I only got 4 weeks paid at 60%, then I took 2 weeks unpaid. My little boy is now 3 and has been in daycare since he was 8 weeks old 🙁

  10. Good luck tomorrow Ali, you’ll be excited when you get there to see everyone and catch up on all the goings on while you’ve been out on maternity leave. I hated leaving my daughter, now 2, but once you’re there it’s not so bad and you get done extra fast so you can get home to those babies!

  11. One. Day. At. A. Time. No decision you make in life as you raise your kids needs to be engraved in stone. Look at tomorrow as ONE DAY. It’s okay. You guys have a strong relationship. You will be okay. And, the day after is a long weekend. Breathe. It will Ll work out okay. You are in control. ❤️

  12. I think its absolutely insane in America we dont have longer maturnity leave. My job gave me 6 weeks UNPAID leave, then under FMLA I took another 6 weeks ( of course unpaid). Very upsetting to work in the medical field and not feel my company wants to take care of their employees mental, emotional and physical health! As a physical therapist, my job is very demanding on my body and the thought of going back at 6 weeks was INSANE to me! Even at 12 weeks I felt so unprepared and gave up BF because it was too hard to keep up with my daily schedule! My 8 hour work days would turn into 10 trying to schedule in pumping. Im hoping my last one I can afford to stay home the first year and truly enjoy bonding with my baby. I hate taking my baby to a sitters and have someone else raise her 🙁

  13. Hi, I actually was a stay at home Mom for over 20 years. After I had my first son 29 years ago I never went back to work… I am so glad I was able to be home. I had my second son and only went back PT when he was a sophmore in high school and I could pick him up after school and be home. Could you have chosen to stay out a little longer? I know you are torn because you want to get back to a show you love and lucky it is only 1 day at week and wont you have Kevin home early to help while you are at work? Let us know when the premiere is and when you will be on. Good luck…It will all work out.

  14. Going back to work after a year at home with my first was truly the hardest thing I have ever done. I think it was even harder than giving birth ha ha!!! I’m currently on mat leave with my second who is 5 months and I will be off with her for about 14 months and I’m already worried about going back. I am lucky to live in Canada where we get the option of staying home for 18 months which is subsidized by our government. The USA has to get with the program and offer woman at minimum a year off to raise their babies!!!

    1. Seriously?? We are trillions of dollars in debt and you think taxpayers should have to pay you while you take care of your baby??? You do realize the government gets its money from WE, THE PEOPLE. People need to financially plan to be off work, live below your means. How unreasonable to think the government should be involved in financing your child. I see potential for abuse…what about the woman who has a baby every year to stay on perpetual leave???😕

      1. That seems a little harsh…We’re not talking about welfare here! Maybe if the government was financially responsible with OUR money, we too, could enjoy more time with our babies like our Canadian friends! Sounds like we could learn from them!! Anything *could* be abused.

      2. Barbara, in Canada maternity leave is funded at a maximum of $550 a week paid out of Employment Insurance, which every person (because any parent can access it) who takes the leave pays into through regular payroll deductions. I paid into it for 20 years before going on maternity leave in June. So taxpayers aren’t paying us to stay home and take care of our babies. Forcing women back to work before they’ve even healed from childbirth seems cruel.

  15. I just went back to work after 3 months off with my second baby. I have been back 2 weeks. The first week I worked 4.5 hours (Monday thru Friday). This second week I went back full time (7.5 hour days).

    I cried the month before when HR contacted me about my start date as I felt like return to work was so far away. It also snuck up on me. I have a 2.5 year old as well so the 3.5 months flew as my days alone with both kids (while hubby was at work) were BUSY!!

    I breastfed my first child (son) for 20 months and now am breastfeeding my daughter. I was worried abou having to get myself ready for work as well as remembering when to coordinate pumping again at work. To add onto the stress my son was starting preschool two weeks before my return to work date!!

    Needless to say, it all worked out and we are getting into a good groove.

    I actually realized that once I was back at work it was so nice because it gaveme a break! I took for granted how nice it was to have adult conversation again!! Plus, since I knew what to expect from the first go around, returning to work ended up being a lot easier. No tears for me this time around, unlike when I went back to work after my first baby!

    Good luck going back..just as you said above, you are lucky to have such a supportive work environment. I know that is definitely how I felt this time around!

  16. I am going back to work in 4 weeks after having our second baby. I am so thankful to work for a company that has a leave policy of 18 weeks 100% paid. It breaks my heart that so many women are forced to return to work before they are ready and I hope one day that can change!

  17. I’m a firm believer that kids behave differently for people who are not their parents (especially not their primary care giver). Riley’s still so young, so his behaviors aren’t intentional yet, but Molly likely won’t act out for the nanny as much as she will for you. Especially with Molly starting school and getting used to a few different caregivers in her world, she will probably adjust quicker than you think. Change is tough on all of us, but kids are so resilient, so it’s usually harder on us adults. It’s awesome that you get to ease back into it – that will make it easier for all of you.

  18. I can’t believe that the states has no law regarding maternity leave, seems like employers can do whatever they want. I’m from Canada and I’m currently on maternity leave. My daughter is 8 months next week and I go back to work once she is a year. It is all paid time off (not your full income) and job security. I feel sad for the moms who have no choice but to go back to work when their babies are so young…doesn’t seem like the states puts any priority on women and their babies.

    1. No they do not. I’m American and have lived in NZ and Australia and they have similar leave policies to yours. My gf lives in Aus and is a teacher and she had very good leave for BOTH her kids – paid and job security and had the option for unpaid after several years off and still job security. Not only that a nurse came to her home to help w breastfeeding and housework! We have a raw deal that’s for sure. Ali – it’s so natural to feel the way you feel and I don’t think you are overthinking it. It shows you have developed great bonds imo and I think that you will find – one day at a time – what works for you. Pay attention to those stressors – they are there to tell you something. But once you have made a decision, convey to your children surety – and they will follow your lead. My dog breeder taught me that bc I also didn’t like leaving my dogs home alone. I thought why have pack animals but then leave them alone all day? She taught me the idea of being a leader parent/dog owner – that both are secure when your leadership is secure. Even if inside you feel the opposite! Fake it til you make and know you have the company of many moms who are/were torn including me! Good luck and congrats again on the great job you are doing! Still amazed how much Riley looks like Molly – and btw I’m not shocked by her vocab. She’s prob the most verbose little one I’ve ever witnessed! Ivy League – here she comes….

  19. Wishing you a great day back tomorrow Ali!! I’m a teacher and just went back to school after 8 weeks home this summer with my 16.5 month old girl! It is SO hard!

    Last April, when I had my daughter, I only got paid 8 weeks of maternity…it’s tough! You’ll do great!

  20. I was 3 months pregnant when the company I worked for closed suddenly! I was so worried about finding a new job especially since I knew I wouldn’t qualify for FMLA at a new job (you have to be at a company for a year before you do). Luckily I was able to find a job that is telecommute so I work from home. I only got 6 weeks off with this baby (my first) but it was not traumatic because I work from home and can see her throughout the day.

  21. Another Canadian here! I’m going back to work next month after being off for 14 months. The government pays you a percentage of your full salary up to a certain maximum. My employer topped off my salary for the first 6 weeks. My daughter will be going to daycare full time which is also subsidized in part by the government in my province. I’m nervous about leaving her there but have been told that it’s for her best to socialize with other kids and that she will learn a ton. I’m currently pregnant again and just need to work 4 months in order to qualify for maternity benefits again. I didn’t know how good we had it! I personally wouldn’t be able to afford kids without paid maternity leave or maybe I could but life wouldn’t be as comfortable. I don’t know how American women do it. Hats off to you!

  22. I’m going back to work in 2 weeks after 3 months off with my first baby and today I think it finally hit me that I won’t be spending my days with him anymore. I have so many conflicted feelings. I am kind of exited to feel like a member of the outside world again, but I am so terriefed to leave him with someone else all day. I’m so lucky that we have a family friend who is stepping in to be his nanny…but still it’s not his mama. I am also nervous about trying to establish a routine with the nanny and the pickup/drop off etc.

    I’m in Chicago and I had 3 months of unpaid leave with a company that has a women president, so I was disappointed there wasn’t a better policy.

  23. I spent 12 weeks with my daughter when she was born. I loved having the time with her. My maternity leave was from Sept-Dec and I live in Iowa so by November I started feeling too couped up in the house (since we couldn’t go on walks) and I loved the sitter we found for her so I was ok with starting back to work (8am-12pm 4x/week). I did the half day schedule until she was 7 months old and switched to 3 full days a week which is better in my opinion. Best wishes as you transition!

  24. Hi there! I definitely understand what you’re going through! I’m in the military currently. While I am completely grateful to have 12 weeks of paid maternity leave, I’m really struggling with the thought of going back to work full time in about a week.

  25. I live in Ontario and I can’t imagine leaving my babies at 6 weeks like so many of you mamas in the US have to. A woman is barely healing physically after 6 weeks and now to leave their baby too. So incredible tough. Emotionally. Physically. And if you are breastfeeding a lot of times you are just getting into the swing of things at 6 weeks. Wishing you a great first day back

  26. I had to go back to work part-time when my daughter turned 4 months (no pay during those 4 months). I had to put her in daycare because I had no one to watch her. Thankfully my mom works at the daycare so it wasn’t TOO bad, but the guilt I felt was horrible. It still eats me up to this day. Eventually I had to go back to work full-time and that was even worse. I recently was hired by her daycare as a teacher (private school) and I could not be any happier! Our mornings are not rushed and I can take a peek into her classroom at any time! It’s been a blessing! I think the guilt will always be there, unfortunately. Sadly it’s such a common thing for parents to have to go back to work so early, change must be made!

  27. My kids are grown but I only took 5-6 weeks off at the time. Disability pays a small amount but with the new FMLA laws, you can take more than that with disability pay. I think it’s unpaid after that.

    I enjoy all of your posts, Ali, and have bought a LOT of the clothes you post. Even though I can’t really relate to all the new mom stuff, I still enjoy seeing the pics of your kids. The house tours are nice as well but I think you’re brave with all that white with kids and Owen! 🙂

    However, the reason that I started following you initially was because of the Bachelor(ette) and BIP recaps. I get disappointed when you don’t recap them at all because I think most of know you from the show and we started following for that reason. I love to hear your perspective on things since you have an inside view after being on the show. I’d love it if you’d make that a priority again. Not trying to be negative at all about the other content, just wanted to share.

    Good luck on your first day back. I’m sure everything will work out just fine.

  28. I am on the 5th month of my 18 month Parental Leave here in Ontario. Although my take home is only 33 % of what it normally is, I feel blessed. I could no imagine doing it any other way. I heart goes out to you and other moms in the States.

    Moms and Dad play such a crucial role in shaping and forming the next generation of leaders, you would think policy makers in the US would recognize that and want to ensure that children are provided every advantage possible!

    I have gone back and forth a lot anout if I made a mistake taking the 18months vs the 12month and how I will ever get back into work mode, but I look at my little mans face and know it is totally worth it!

    I am rooting for you!

  29. Hi Ali! Thank you for writing this post and always being so real about your feelings and challenges. I am currently 4 weeks into my maternity leave with my third (and likely my last) and I am already so sad about going back at 12 weeks! I work full time as a finance manager in healthcare and truly enjoy my job, but it still doesn’t make going back to work any easier. It is such a blessing being home with all 3 kids right now (with an au pair to help entertain the older ones… thank god! lol) and going back to work every maternity leave has been tough, but I think this one might be the toughest of all because I know this is my last kid and last maternity leave, and I also know the struggle that first year of being up every 2 hours at night, getting up early to be ready for work, being “on” at work, trying to fit in pumping 3x a day, rushing home to see them, rushing through dinner/bath/bedtime routine, finally getting the kids to bed then feeling guilty about not spending enough time with them. Then doing it all the next day. I know I’ll get into a routine… and you will too, but it is truly so hard!! By the way, I work for a hospital and get 12 weeks of maternity leave through fmla.. the hospital only covers 4 weeks of paid time (short term disability at 70% of your pay). The rest needs to be using vaca time or unpaid. It is truly terrible in the US to not only expect moms to go back to work at 12 weeks AND continue to breastfeed AND keep up at work like you never missed a beat… but also to have it be unpaid. Ok enough of my rant haha… best of luck tomorrow!!! It will be hard but you will figure it out and find your groove! Xo

  30. Hi Ali,
    I’m a first time mom and have 12 weeks off from work. My son is one month old now and I can’t imagine going back full time 5 days a week right now. I’ll be cherishing every moment in years next 2 months since I know how he’s it’ll be going back. I too am breastfeeding and hoping pumping while at work goes smoothly! Keep us updated on how things go as you transition back to work.

  31. Hello,

    Good luck on your first day back! I am currently on leave and return next Friday after having 12 weeks off and I already have anxiety. This is my 2nd baby as well but it’s not Any easier. I am a nurse and work 12 hours days which really
    Means 13/14 in the nursing world. I am fortunate enough to being going to work one day and doing the rest from home, but it is still so hard to leave them when they are this little no matter how long we are away. It’s nice to read your blog and realize I’m not Alone in this feeling!

  32. I go back to work on Tuesday, and relate to so many of the things you said in your post. I’m lucky to be returning to a job that I love, but at the same time it is unfathomable to me to leave our son. I have been home with him for 15 weeks, and it’s been the happiest time of my life! We have hired a nanny as well, and she seems amazing. We are so hopeful! But it physically hurts to think about being away from him all day long. I completely agree with your sentiment about our country needing to figure this out – I feel fortunate I was able to cobble together a few extra weeks at the end, but I know that is not possible for everyone. Best of luck to you tomorrow!

  33. I remember when I went back after 3 months. I cried the entire way to work the first day, and my mom was the one watching my daughter. I teach high school, so my day is over by 3pm, which I love! After the first day, I felt so much better. I got to have something for me where I wasn’t constantly watching over someone else. (Is that bad to say?)

    To me, it was honestly the anxiety and anticipation of going back that was SO MUCH worse! Once I did it, I was thinking okay I can do this. Now 2 years later, we’ve adjusted really well. I had the summer off with her, and it’s very hard to be on-duty all day.

    I completely understand your concerns and feelings. You are not alone. Good luck with everything, and it just always makes going home so much better!!

    Prayers for a great day!

    Ps- I used FMLA to take 60 working days. I used short term disability and sick days for the first 6 weeks, and then the rest were unpaid. But they just took the days left in the school year and divided it up by the months left in the contract, so I never technically didn’t have a paycheck. (If that makes sense)

  34. Hi Ali,

    I’ve been reading your blog for awhile now and love how everything you discuss is so relatable! I just had my first baby a little girl in May and sadly had to go back to work this past Monday. It was truly heartbreaking leaving her because I don’t feel like I had enough time. Being a working mom is so hard but I love my job so I know I’ll make it work.

    Hope your first day back goes well!

  35. We are expecting baby #3. We have 2 girls that are 7 an 3 an this one is due the end of November and it’s a boy!!! We are very excited!!! I’m a stay at home mom tho so I can’t say I know what you’re going thru there. Good luck tho!!!! I always look forward to reading your blog. You’re an amazing Mom!!!

  36. Thank you so much for this post! I’ve been home the last two months and go back to work in another month – I have so much anxiety just thinking about going back!!!

    I really like my job and always thought I wanted to be a mom that worked but I love being home with my son and can’t imagine spending all day away from him!!! I’m not sure how I’m going to manage that plus pumping – I’m trying not to think about it and enjoy my last month at home. I hope your transition goes smoothly and would love to read any tips/how it’s going in the future!

    Love your blog and your honesty! ❤️

  37. I am extremely lucky as the company I work for offers 18 weeks of fully paid maternity leave. It is truly a blessing to be able to spend so much time with my son without worrying how we will go without my income! In addition, once I do go back, my office has a daycare on the first floor that my son will be attending. Not only will it make the transition and balance so much easier logistically, but I think it will be a huge comfort knowing he is just downstairs if he needs anything. It will also make breastfeeding/pumping so much easier, if I choose to continue. I wish more companies showed such a commitment to working moms, I am very lucky! Wanted to share so others know there are companies that have recognized the importance of better maternity leave policies!

  38. Ali – my heart hurts for you tonight! I have a little cutie who is 10 months old. I was a NICU nurse before I had my daughter and after becoming a mom I couldn’t stand seeing such sick babies anymore. It took a lot of courage and soul searching to find a new position that made it a little easier being away from my family. I think the anticipation is the hardest part and it’ll get easier after tomorrow! I’ll be sending you hugs! Xxoo

  39. New York State just implemented a new law for bonding with your baby (including adoption). By the time the law is fully implemented woman in NY state will be able to take up to 18 weeks paid at 55% of your salary. Once you are done taking it your husband / significant other can then take 18 weeks (however you can not take them at the same time). It’s a step in the right direction. I applaud NY state for trying. I’m currently on week 25 of my maternity leave but that is because I struggled with postpartum anxiety & my doctor kept me on disability. I return back to work on Tuesday & am already crying. I want it move to Canada after reading all of these comments!!!!!

  40. Ali – I know full well how much your heart is breaking right now. Even for the initial 8 weeks (i needed a c section) I had to use my sick time (20 days). Once that was gone I had sub-differential pay (I work in education)- meaning the money to pay my sub essentially came out of my paycheck, and I got the rest. Once the 8 weeks were done, I was allowed 12 weeks of fmla, also at sub differential, and I had to pay my insurance. Luckily I didn’t owe my employer money at the end of the month 🙄. Luckily I only had to go back for 10 weeks before summer break. We hired a nanny for those 10 weeks who was wonderful, baby did great, but I was literally vomiting the night before. I recently started the new school year, and right now my husband is home on paternity. He got 8 full weeks paid, and a year to use it (better than what I got!!). I actually live going to work, knowing she’s with her dad. When he goes back to work, she’ll be almost one, and will go to daycare. We were lucky enough to get her into a great center, but I can literally vomit right now just thinking about it. I know my situation was still way better than so many others.
    Hang in there mamma!!! It’s easy harder on us than the kiddos!!
    XOXO Jenn

    PS- love seeing all the pics and videos of your cute kiddos!!

  41. Hi Ali,

    I’m getting ready to go back to work in two weeks & am absolutely dreading leaving my little guy.

    I was lucky enough to take 4.5 months off paid (thanks to all my saved vacation). Like you I’ll be working one to two days a week. I’m an ER nurse and the idea of being away for 12 hours & spending that time engrossed in caring for strangers rather than my babe at home is so hard. But I know I can’t lose that part of my identity or I’ll always regret it! Good luck tomorrow!!!

  42. Hello
    I totally understand where you are coming from. I have two kids who are currently 6 and 9. I remember the feeling of going back to work after maternity leave. Saying it is hard is an understatement. I am now a child care provider in my home and i get to be with my wonderful boys and a few other wonderful children. One thing to ease your mind about the Nanny being able to handle it is, all children act very different when there parents (especially mom) are around. Kids tend to be way more flexable and listen soooooo mich better to other people. Obviously Riley will still cry and have melt downs but as for Molly I bet she acts different with the Nanny. All of the children i have had im my care have done this and I know my own kids do it. As soon and mom walks in they go wild, happens daily! It is a strange thing but they really do save most of the tantrums for the parents. Good luck! It will all be great, but it will be hard the first few days. You have two very precious children. It is so fun watching them grow! You are obviously a wonderful Momma!

  43. I’ve been following your story more recently as a fan of both the bachelor/bachelorette and Kevin’s show (when I get to listen to it). We had babies I think exactly one week apart and are going back to work just days apart. I have 3 year old twins plus my youngest born May 15th. This time going back to work has caused anxiety like I’ve never had before and so much sadness. All day today I’ve been crying on and off thinking of all my “last” moments and remembering the exhaustion and chaos that will come with it. I wish I had words of wisdom but I too have seen the growth in my older kiddos while I’ve been home, the projects I’ve been able to accomplish and of course the bonding and snuggles with my youngest. I keep thinking I’ll enjoy being needed for something besides potty time, food, and spit up, but also scared to leave them with others. Keep telling your story, as I love knowing I’m not alone. Wishing you the best of luck, I’m starting back Tuesday so right behind you. 💕

  44. I can’t believe those US maternity leaves! In Finland we have an option to stay at home for 3 years. The first 9 months is maternity leave which is about 80 % of your salary and after that you can continue on a home care support. Home care support is small amount of money government pays you but if you have saved advance some money or your spouses income is ok you’ll manage well. And some cities also pay extra city money on top of that.

    I’m very happy about the finnish solution because it gives us time to get back to work when we are ready 🙂 And dads can also stay at home and get the same benefits! So if mom wants to start working when the baby is like 9 months you just switch! That’s the best because it gives you options.

    All the best for you Ali! I hope that everything goes as smoothly as possible 🙂 and I love your blog and Insta stories!

  45. Hello! I had my first baby boy with in days of Riley. I go back next week PT then FT starting September 11. I am a wreck too so you’re not alone. I have the same random, rambling thoughts. It’s just so hard!

  46. Molly, Riley AND Owen are darling! I love how snuggled up to you Owen is in some of the pics!❤️🐾❤️

  47. My baby #4 is 8 months, and my oldest is 11.5 years. I’ve been lucky enough to be a stay at home mom since my first was born. I can’t even imagine going back to work after having a little one. Good luck!

  48. Hi Ali! I just went back to work 2 weeks ago after being off with my second baby for 12 weeks. It is so hard and couldn’t agree with you more as I had the same feelings! Good luck mama- you can do it! It gets easier each day. ❤️

  49. I live in the UK and will be off for 14 months, paid for first 9 months (the amount slowly reduces over the 9 months) then 3 months without pay and then 8 weeks of annual leave and bank holidays that have accrued over the course of my maternity leave. This isn’t necessarily the same across the uk, I just work for a great employer! But the law is that you are entitled to 12 months maternity with 9 months statutory maternity leave and 3 months unpaid, my employer tops up the pay for 6 months, so so lucky!!
    Good luck going back to work, it sounds like you have a great employer! I love your blog and you have the most beautiful family!

  50. Hi Ali,
    I’m on maternity leave with my daughter who will turn 2 next month. We live in the Czech republic, where the maternity leave is usually for 3 years! Incredible, right? I feel lucky that our system enables this for Czech mums.
    I realize that the system is different in every country and feel for those mums who have to come back to work early after the childbirth! It must be so hard!
    Wishing you and all other mums out there good luck going back to work. 🙂
    Ps. You have a wonderful family and your children are adorable!:)
    Greetings from the Czech 🙂

  51. Awww hang in there! I can relate with that anxious feeling! I find the hardest part about those situations as a mom, is the unknown because you just want to protect them from ever feeling unloved or unhappy! I just sent my first (out of 3) to kindergarten monday and I was a mess. But after dropping him off (and me sobbing) I felt a sense of reassurance once I picked him up! You just need to experience the unknown and realize everyone is indeed happy and healthy! You rock momma! You got this.

  52. I took 12 weeks off but had to exhaust all of my accrued paid time off before accessing FMLA. Fortunately I had saved about 8 weeks worth. I cried everyday the first week Theo was in daycare, but once he adjusted so did i. I also pump and while we do have private space in the office to pump I am a community based mental health professional so I am either pumping in the car or hoping my boobs can hang on until I’m home!

  53. I live in Czech Republic (Europe) and women can choose how long they stay at home with a baby.The maternity leave is 28 weeks, but after that,we take ‘parental leave’ which can be two, three or four years.
    I guess you probably cannot imagine to stay home couple of years but I cannot imagine to go back to work so soon when my Baby is so little…

  54. Oh Ali, I feel for you. I go back go work next Tuesday (First day of school) after being off for 12 months with my 1st son. I think whether you have 12 weeks off or 12 months it’s never truly enough time. I wish I could stay at home with him but unfortunately it just doesn’t make sense financially. I’ve been crying every day and so stressed out to the point I feel sick. I try to take comfort in the fact I am fortunate enough to have Christmas holidays off, March Break and every summer. It is very hard though, and I feel for every mama who has to return. Sending strength not only to myself and to you, but the other mamas out there too.

  55. Ali, I know you have mentioned this, but I am going to remind you again. Despite how truly crappy the USA’s “maternity leave” laws are, you are among some of the most fortunate people. You are able to only work 1-2 days/week. Your husband does not work late and come home barely making dinner or bedtime. You have a nanny half days with you when your husband does work. There are parents who have NO choice but to go back to work so they can literally feed their children and keep a roof over your head.
    This honestly comes from a good place. I understand your anxiety but try looking at it from a different perspective. It could change your attitude and outlook. It is difficult to sympathize with you when your situation is unlike the average American mother heading back to work full time. There is nothing wrong with sharing your feelings but often you come across as very over dramatic.
    I hope your first day does go well, though. All the best to you as you navigate this new chapter.

  56. I think what is even more frustrating is even if your employer in the States provides FMLA, they are required to allow 6 weeks UNPAID and an additional 6 weeks is optional (job security) but of course UNPAID! Unfortunately many families cannot afford the time off 🙁 With my first child I had to exhaust all of my sick and vacation time to be home for 12 weeks (the last 3 weeks were unpaid because I ran out of accrual benefit). Then when you return to work, do not expect vacation time and pray no one gets sick until you build up SI and VA. I am due in October and this time my employer provides the opportunity to purchase short-term disability (does not cover my full wage and it’s expensive so I had to make the decision to remove my dental coverage in order to pay for S-TD) Wow it’s just all sad Moms (and Dads) can’t be home with their babies 🙁

  57. Maternity leave in this country is awful. I had to have a C-Section with my son and I was suppose to be given 8 weeks off at 60% of my salary (which is nothing because im mostly commission based) and what I didn’t know is based on how my recovery is going, they can take 2 of those weeks back. I was told on Friday that I was to come to work on Monday (6 week mark..I hadn’t even had my post op 6 week checkup at that point). I wasn’t ready at all so I had to take another 5 days of my paid time off (I already had to take 5 at the beginning of my leave per company policy).
    What blows my mind is a puppy is not allowed to leave its mother until they are 8 weeks old but we expect mothers to leave their children at 6 weeks. Its ridiculous! I firmly believe we also need to include some paternity time. We need those dads to be able to bond with their babies as well!

  58. You are very blessed to be able to afford to only work 1-2 days a week. I know it’s hard but you will be fine and so will Riley. I only took 8 weeks with my daughter because if I would have taken more time I would have come back to work without vacation time. If I have another I’d like to be able to take more.

  59. In regards to Riley’s sleeping, my daughter did the same exact thing at 3 months and 9 months. It lasted a little over a week each time, but I read where it has something to do with a growing spurt. I hope it ends soon because I know how exhausting it is! Also, I hope you have a great day back at work! I give it to ALL the mommas who work to provide for their babies.

  60. I’m in the same boat as you! I just had my third and in two weeks, I go back to work full-time after 12 weeks off. Although stressful at times, being home with all three kiddos has been a blessing. I do miss my coworkers but I am dreading being away from my little man after only leaving him for an hour or so at this point! It helps to know that other mothers are going through the same things and our emotions are totally normal! Hugs to you 💗

  61. Hey Ali! I didn’t really get a “maternity leave” I had short term disability. It was only 6 weeks if you had a natural birth, 8 if you had a chance to section.

  62. I left my kid for the first time when he was 5 months old. And have dropped him off into someone else’s care every day since then. It’s just the nature of my work beast – I am very blessed to have the means to pay for someone to watch him. Someone I trust, and someone who teaches him. My greatest comfort back then (he’s almost 4 now!) is that “he will never remember this”. In fact, it just became his way of life. And he enjoys going to “school” every day because he doesn’t know any better. You’re LUCKY you don’t have to go back 40 hours a week. My kid has grown up to be an independent little guy and I love that about him. I also love my job, and while I didn’t breastfeed, so I didn’t have the issue of privacy and timing, you’re also lucky your employer is understanding and will just make it work. You’ll feel better in due time. And if you don’t, maybe you should consider staying home. That’s not a bad thing – just follow your gut. Hang in there!

  63. I had 12 weeks off with my second child and went back to work full time. My kids were in daycare full time at two different places in separate parts of town. It was super super hard!! Not sleeping, nighttime feedings, bottle washing, pumping, laundry every day, working, meal prep, bath time, getting them in bed at a decent hour and then starting it all over again a few hours later. I felt like that time is such a blur because moms just don’t have time to do it all! The worst part though, was my little guy got sick a lot since he went into daycare so young. During maternity leave I was required to exhaust my sick time and vacation time so when I went back to work I started with zero balance. Which made no sense to me!! So when my baby got pneumonia just a few weeks after I went back to work (wasn’t treated for a “virus” by our pediatrician that turned into pneumonia), he couldn’t go to daycare and I couldn’t go to work. I got written up and it went on my record that I was a “no show” without time off and did not get paid. There was nothing I could do! It’s a much longer story as to what happened from there but bottom line is we don’t get enough time! And many times women aren’t treated fairly in this position. You are lucky to have some flexibility and I know you are grateful for that! It will get easier as time goes on. There will be hard days but it’s part of being a mom! My boys are now 14 and 10 and there are still hard days!! Worrying about them is a part of life now! You are a fabulous mom!

  64. When reading how the laws on maternity leave are in the US, I am so thankful to be living in Norway! My son was born 3 days after Riley, and I get to stay at home until the end of March 2019, with 100% salary! When I go back to work my husband will stay home for 10 weeks with 100% of his salary. Your laws are truly horrible, and I feel bad for all mommies that have to leave their babies so early!

  65. This was one of the hardest days of my life! I cried weeks prior and weeks after going back. Blessed with 12 weeks off but I agree Canada and some other countries have it right! Giving mothers longer maternity leave should definitely be something America does!!

  66. A lot of people don’t realize it but FMLA only applies to companies with 49 or more employees 🙁 So for example, I work for a small private employer so I am only legally entitled to 6 weeks unpaid and no guarantee of my job being held. I have an amazing boss so I’m not worried about my job being filled but 6 weeks is definitely not long enough so I’m hoping we can work something out when the time comes.

  67. I live in southern Cali and have 3 weeks left of my maternity leave. I’m a mess. Just the thought of leaving my little guy brings me to tears. I took the max amount of time that my company would allow (18 weeks) but I still don’t think that’s enough. Working a 9-5 job all week, I’m afraid I’m going to miss so many milestones with my son. It’s so tough and sometimes I feel that people don’t understand how hard it is for us mamas!

  68. My emoyeer allows 12weeks with 6 of those weeks paid with short term disability at 70% and the other 6 week no pay so for our family, I had to go back at 10 weeks but my husband was able to adjust his hours for 1 month so he could be home when I worked. I work 32 to 34 hrs a week so I am away for 5 to 8hr depend on the day. I am at work 5 days a week. It was hard at first but has gotten easier over the last 3 weeks. Good luck.

  69. Hey Ali,

    I don’t have kids yet but I am already stressing out about someday going on maternity to leave and then only having a few months before going back to work. My sister gave birth to her second child while she was in her first year of her pharmacy residency and only had 4 weeks off before she had to go back. Of course, this second baby wasn’t really planned so she wasn’t expecting to take off any time from her residency but still I just felt so bad for her! Luckily she has an amazing husband who could stay home with the kids so it made it easier, but four weeks is far too short. Best of luck to you though and good for you for being a strong, working mother!

  70. Good luck! You will do great! My first son was a good, early talker like Molly but my second son is barely talking at 2.5. He is in speech and has been since he turned two. It has been such a different experience this time. He has said 2-3 words this week and I have been thrilled. I feel like he is still my little baby.

  71. Thank you for sharing! I just had our 2nd two weeks ago and will go back to work at the three month mark as well and am already dreading it/trying not to focus on it. Hope today goes better than expected!

  72. I agree with you on the maternity leave! We need WAY more time and I feel the fathers should get more time as well. I think my husband got a week… A week! That’s ridiculous. I believe Denmark gives mothers 2 years! I would love that! Our country needs to do better and I hope they do eventually. 3 months is laughable. I only got 8 weeks paid maternity and then I took another 2 at 66% pay. It’s mind boggling to me. And very sad. I’m sorry, I can go on and on…

  73. I had to go back to work when my sweet boy was 7 weeks. I took 8 weeks, unpaid by my employer, but I had saved up sick and vacation time so I still got a check. I felt all the things you are feeling at 12 weeks. I don’t think it matters when you go back- it will always feel too soon. Im a few weeks back to work at this time and it was a great transition. Hoping the same for you.

  74. You seem like an amazing woman and mom and I’m sure everything will be ok at home when you’re at work ❤️ but I really feel for you! I’m going back to work now in September after being home with my second for 1 year (my husband is taking the next 6 months and then our boy starts preschool). We did the same with our daughter who is now 2,5 years. You can choose to get about 80% of your salary but then it “only” lasts for a year. So I get about 50%. We’re fortunate to be able to make that work for us. I wish you all the best and send you a lot of hugs!

  75. Hi Ali! I just had my first 6 weeks ago. I have to go back to work after 8…I’m a teacher and I didn’t even get maternity leave. We only get disability for 6 weeks, which is only 60% of my small teacher income. Then, if we want to take more (unless you had a c-section) you’re on your own. It’s unpaid completely. I have honestly dreaded the day that’s quickly approaching since I was still pregnant! Now that’s she’s here and I’m even more attached, I’m dreading it even more. I have been furious about our maternity leave policies in the US since I learned about what I would be getting, but also infuriated with my particular companies policies. It’s the statewide really—Arizona, one of the worst. Anyway, I do have to go back full time, so you truly are blessed. I will be thinking of you and praying for you today, please do the same for me on October 1st!

  76. Same for me as Ashlee stated above. I had a c/s so I got a couple more weeks, then I used PTO (paid time off) to get to 12 weeks. I saved my PTO while i was pregnant and barely took any time off so I had enough for maternity leave. I was ready to back to get into a routine, but not go back full time, but I had to. I’m a Nurse Pracitioner in Neurology, and I carry the insurance for me and my daughter (who is now almost 11 months old). All those feelings you are having are NORMAL Ali! Let yourself feel them, but don’t the anxiety over take you. The anticipation is always worse. My daughter is flourishing at daycare where she goes half the week and then with my inlaws the other half of the week. Molly and Rylee will learn so much from your nanny and be comfortable with other people besides you. It’s a blessing in disguise. You got this mama!

  77. I want to start by saying that I absolutely love reading your posts. I have a son that is eight years old, a daughter that is five years old, and my youngest daughter is 3 1/2 months old. With my first two, I took the whole 12 weeks that I was able to from work. I went back to work full-time, five days a week after having my son. I remember cryin like a baby the week leading up to dropping him off at daycare and also being a sobering mess his first day. When I was pregnant with my daughter I knew that I absolutely could not do that again as my children were going to be spending more waking hours with Daycare than with me. I absolutely loved their daycare but it bothered me so much that I wasn’t able to spend that time with them. With that being said, after having my first daughter, I decided to only work four days a week and get off of work early every day which ended up to being only a 24 hour work week. This was a much better schedule for us as instead of leaving work at 5, picking up my kids, make supper, give baths and off to bed we go, I got spend more playing time with them during the week. Once we decided that we wanted to have a third child, I absolutely knew that I wanted to spend as much time with my kids as possible as they are only little once. So with our last child, I asked work if it would be possible for me to go PRN which means that they will call me if they need someone to work but I also have the ability to say no. I absolutely loved my job and what I did so I knew that I didn’t want to completely cut myself off from the workforce. I will say that this maternity leave has been the least stressful in terms of feeling that anxiety about when I will have to return back to work. Maternity leave was during summer break so I got to spend all summer with my three kiddos at home. Yes, lots of days were extremely tiring as when I wasn’t nursing or trying to get my baby to take a nap, I was busy playing with the other two or cleaning. This summer probably has been the most exhausted i’ve ever been, but it’s also been the most rewarding. I so cherish all my time with my three children that I would never give that up for anything. Now, school has started and my older two are at school I have been getting a lot more one on one time with our sweet baby girl. We are currently working on getting her to take a bottle so I am able to return back to work for a day or two when they need me. Wow, has that been a struggle for us! She is not very fond of the bottle that’s for sure. I partially blame it on being so busy with all three at home this summer that I did not have much time to pump and give a bottle to her. She got so used to just being able to nurse that now when she takes a bottle, she gags. *sigh* I am very grateful that I have this time with her yet to be able to work on this though. Now I feel like I am rambling on and on. 🙂

    Again, I absolutely love your posts, especially the ones that you talk about your pregnancy or mama life. I appreciate how real you are with everything that you discuss. I hope you have the best day at work!

  78. Hi Ali!

    I really hope you see this post. I’m sure it’s hard to read everybody’s responses to you with two little ones, especially when they are as cute as Molly and Riley! I wanted to reach out because first, oh my gosh it is so insanely hard to go back to work. I had to go back 13 days after my daughter was born. My husband and I were young and didn’t have any money(it was 1994 and we both made $6.50 an hour and still managed to buy a brand new condominium in a very good neighborhood) but it was sooo hard. My heart is with you. You are such a GREAT mother!

    Secondly on Riley’s sleep. I have a friend who has a daughter, Charlie, the same age as Riley and she was have a heck of a time with sleep and this is what she found that helped and what she is doing and maybe it will help you with Riley.

    https://www.target.com/p/skip-hop-moonlight-melodies-owl-nightlight-soother/-/A-53021517?sid=680S&ref=tgt_adv_XS000000&AFID=google_pla_df&CPNG=PLA_Baby+Shopping_Local&adgroup=SC_Baby&LID=700000001170770pgs&network=g&device=m&location=9030773&gclid=CjwKCAjwzqPcBRAnEiwAzKRgS53c4rzq8tUSecgK-x7TvjFhCcXxTZX-Rp_k9jbFT_dy1PrfRBm9DxoCeRkQAvD_BwE&gclsrc=aw.ds#

    It’s the skip hop Moonlight Melodies Owl Nightlight Soother. She says she went back to swaddling but only at night and the sound machine but only at night and she’s sleeping almost through the night, like 5-6 hours straight now. She loves it!

    Hope it helps!!! Be well sweet mama and hope this transition goes well for you. Keep in mind a balanced Mom really is a better mom. You love you work and get so much positive from it when you fill your well you are able to give so much more back to them. It’s all about balance and that’s the tough part. You’re a great mom. It takes a village nowadays so don’t beat yourself up if you need to ask for help because we ALL need help. 💗💗💗

    Much love!

    Lisa Downer

  79. I live in Canada and am heading back to work after a year off with number 2. I feel blessed to have had this time with both kids. BUT trust me I am so ready to get back to my career, have an adult conversation, be creative and challenge myself in my job. There are positives and negatives I feel to having this much time off. It’s difficult to leave a career for 18 months (have someone else step into your role) and I wouldn’t want to. There really isn’t an answer, just what works best for you and your family.
    I personally feel like 8 months off would be ideal.

  80. I went back after 6 weeks with all 3 of mine because we have always been a 2 income family. It isn’t easy but it is life. Only one of those times, for my last one, did I have paid time off for those 6 weeks. So my first 2 it was six weeks without pay. The US really needs to step it up. I also worked 40 plus hours a week at my jobs for all 3.

  81. Have you heard of the Freemie pump attachments? They can attach to many different pumps, and just sit inside your bra so you can discreetly pump hands-free around your coworkers (if you feel comfortable). I have a friend at work who uses them while, and they seem so convenient!

  82. With my baby girl I went back to work full time when she was four months. I am a teacher and she was born on the last day of school. Then I took some more (unpaid) time off at the beginning of the next school year. I did appreciate those teacher breaks I got during her first year. Over the summer I decided to continue working at my school, but I took a different position and only work twice a week. I really love the balance of part-time work. I know it is not feasible for everyone’s careers/schedules/finances/child-care but it is awesome. I almost feel like it would have been harder to leave everyday her this year than it was last year. I say this because now when I leave she cries and will cling on to me, but last year she was too little to do that. Although, I know I am also lucky because the people that watch her are her loving grandparents!

  83. Kids typically 10 to act better / differently when they’re being watched by someone else. I’m sure Molly and The Nanny will do just fine!

  84. Ali,

    Check out the willow pump. It’s cordless and you put it into your bra and pump so you don’t need to sit down and plug in. I have heard great things about it! When I went back to work after 12 weeks leave, I pumped 3x per day. Employers are required to provide an at-least semi-private place for nursing mothers to pump, so if the Willow isn’t for you, you could maybe at least get a partition of some kind in your trailer or ask for 20 minutes of privacy.

    Working moms kind of just have to make it work in the US. I blocked my calendar for my pump times and left meetings when I needed to — I stuck to the schedule. There are also some funny stories about storing breast milk in an on-set refrigerator on an all-male (except me!) video shoot. You gotta just own it and tell people when you need a room, a fridge or when you need to leave to go buy a new shirt when yours is milk stained. 😂😂😂

    You’ll do great!

  85. I’m pregnant with our 3rd and I am SO thankful to have an employer that provides 16 weeks of full pay! I also have vacation time built up for a couple extra weeks. I know most working moms do not get that here in the US but it sure does make me a more focused, more grateful employee when I come back! I wish more companies would follow! Hope your first day well great! After a while you’ll actually appreciate the day or two at work and get into a routine and out of the house! 😀

  86. I’m currently 5 weeks in to my maternity leave with my third child and am already dreading going back. I’ve decided to take 16 weeks but none of it is paid. Unfortunately as a family we will make it work so I can get in as much time with my little one as possible. I really wish there were more benefits for Mamas!!

  87. As soon as my son was born, I knew I couldn’t go back. I’m taking a year off from teaching to be home with him. My husband changed jobs and we are doing what we can to make it work! They are only little for such a short time. He is only a few days apart from Riley and currently in the same sleep pattern, went from sleeping a solid six hours at night to waking up every two, that makes me very thankful I’m home, I don’t know if I could function in a class of kindergarteners on that little of sleep!

  88. We are so fortunate in Canada – 12 mo paid leave and an additional 6 mo unpaid if you can manage without pay. We are so so lucky. And yet, going back after 12 months was very difficult because I was SO used to being at home. We all have different situations but I think the common ground is just how difficult it is. Hang in there – it does get easier! 🙂

  89. I so appreciate your honesty & vulnerability! So many women don’t have paid leave at all after having a baby (or adopting) and have to make really painful decisions bc they can’t afford to not get paid. It’d be really wonderful if you used your voice & platform to lift up these issues. Check out the National Partnership for Women & Families’ work – maybe you could connect with their efforts to get paid family leave for all parents in our country. 💜 http://www.nationalpartnership.org/issues/work-family/

  90. My work will hold my job for 13 weeks but I only get paid for 10. I am scheduled to go back in 3 weeks but want to request an extension of 3 more weeks, unfortunately my job has been super busy and has needed people to work overtime so I am afraid my boss is going to deny my request for more time off. Any advice on how to request the time off? Is in person or email better and what’s the best way to put it?
    Thank you for any help! I am glad that so many moms can relate it makes it a little easier knowing we all go through the same things.

  91. I’m in a very similar boat. I will be returning to work this next Thursday after being on maternity leave for 4 months and I’ve been a mess knowing that it’s almost time. This is my first little one so I don’t know what to expect, not that I think it would easier even if I did know what to expect. I’m lucky enough to take advantage of NY State’s new Paid Family Leave (started January 1st, 2018) which gave me 8 weeks at 50% of my pay on top of my 8 week of medical leave from my employer (who recently just changed their policy so I won’t be get that for any additional children that we may decide to have down the road) for a total of 16 weeks. It’s more than most of my friends that have recently had a child so I’m very aware of how lucky I am but still doesn’t make it easier knowing that I’m going to have to leave her soon to go back to work full time. Any tips or encouragement is greatly appreciated!

  92. I planned to take 13 weeks off 2 weeks paid with vacation and sick leave since I had only worked for my company a year. 8 weeks half pay because they paid me short term disability. At 12 weeks I still felt like a zombie and I want ready to go back so I extended 3 more weeks without pay. By then my baby was sleeping through the night and I felt human again. My husband took 6 weeks vacation after I went back to work. Tuesday my little one starts daycare and I am very nervous about leaving her!

  93. I had my daughter may 30th if 2015, went back sept 1. I was home with her for exactly 3 months. I’m a teacher in New Jersey and pay into a disability plan. You only get paid while on disability and it’s not full pay. I planned to have her when I did so I could just take 10-15 sick days until summer then just return to work and no miss any pay. It was awful, but my mom was watching her so I was okay in that regard. Pumping 5 times a day was the worst part. She was super small so I was nursing her small frequent meals still and I didn’t want to mess that up. I was barely pumping enough so I would also wake up at 3am to pump (got a ton then) so I would have enough for her. I got pregnant easily with her, but now have multiple issues that require me to do ivf. At this point she’s almost 3.5 and it hasn’t worked. God willing it does it will be when it is and I will just have to take off…even if it’s without pay. 3 months is too young to leave them 5 days a week from 7-4…

    Good luck! And thanks for sharing!

  94. Ontario Is Wonderful for Mat Leave as it can also be divided with the other parent.
    Dont know how it is with the other provinces.
    good Luck !

  95. I am currently pregnant with my third and plan on taking 12 weeks (paid 100% for 8 weeks, 60% for 4 weeks). My husband’s company just started a new policy where all employees can take a maternity or paternity leave for 16 weeks 100% paid, and they can take it any time in the baby’s first year of life. Our plan is for me to take 12 then him take 16 to help ease the burden of our babysitters with three littles. He works for a company in the US but it is a company that started out Canadian based. I think its awesome they are so supportive of not only the moms but also the dads in their company, and I will say it was helpful in our decision to have baby number 3 🙂

  96. This post was so timely! I just went back to work 2 weeks ago after 16 weeks off with my first baby. I was a wreck! And I know I was lucky to have longer than some women, but it’s never easy to leave our babies. And before that I had only left him twice for 2 hours! I cried the whole first day and part of the second! I’m away from him for 5 days a week and it’s gotten easier but even yesterday I started crying while pumping at work and looking at pictures of my little guy. Mommas aren’t meant to be separated for such long periods of time from their babies when they’re that little – it’s so hard!!

  97. Awww, Alli, this really brings back memories of when I had to go back to work. I can remember going to see the Dr. & crying on her b/c I was sooo sad I had to go back to work & leave my baby.
    Luckily, I have worked for the same company a long time. So, my full time hrs are just 28. I had a talk with my manager & I was able to get my schedule to 3 days. Its been great!
    Our girls are now 13 & 10 and ( especially in the summer) when they are home, its still so hard to leave😢 but its something I have to do.
    On the otherhand, I look at it like Im teaching them a work ethic. They will see that its a lot of sacrifice & hard work to have the things we have. Just the necessities takes both incomes. Hopefully, they will have a work ethic to be proud of. It feels good to make money & contribute to the family.
    As for breast feeding, take a picture of the baby. Have it where you can see it while pumping( my pump actually had a place for a picture )Its said that will help produce milk too!It will make you feel better. You will get in a routine of pumping & it will work. If you want it to work, it will. Find a private spot where your comfortable.I pumped for about a year!

    I wish you the best of luck. Your babies will miss you but the best feeling is when you walk through the door & they come running to hug you! Your new routine will fall into place eventually and it will get easier.

    Ps) My biggest fear was missing out on those milestones. So, i told my mother in law that if they walked for the first time with her, not to tell me. I wanted to be the one to experience that😉 so if there is something near and dear to you walking, talking etc… tell the nanny not to tell you so you will be the “first” to experience that moment.

  98. My situation was very different than most.. We picked up our daughter from the hospital at 5 days as a foster child so I had to take FMLA which was unpaid ( 2014) and we couldn’t afford me staying home any longer than 2 weeks.. My husband and my mom took care of her till she could go to daycare.. good news now she is 4 and we adopted her in 2017

  99. I am currently on 12 months maternity leave in New Zealand. I saved up my annual leave, so I finished work at 36 weeks, and have 8 weeks paid annual leave, and then I will get 22 weeks paid by the government, which is around $450NZD per week so not a full pay. After that we get $60 per week until our baby is 12 months, whether or not we are still on maternity leave. I could return to work earlier (if I give my employer 21 days notice) and still get my full pay plus the $60 a week from the government.

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