Sometimes you are with your newborn for 12 weeks, and it is hard but blissful. Sometimes after those 12 weeks, you are so sad to return to work and have anxiety about being apart from your baby. For some new parents, maternity leave feels like a flash in the pan, and it is almost unbelievable that it is already time to go back to work.
And sometimes, for some parents, it’s not like that at all.
Returning to work may sound like the best idea anyone has had in a really really long time.
12 weeks glued to another human who needs everything to be provided for them means one thing in theory, and feels totally different in reality.
Being with an infant is exhausting.
It is a time warp, and time seems to function differently. Having autonomy to care for yourself is almost universally put in second place to the needs of your child.
And it can be a scary thing to realize you would rather go back to work than be with your child. But if that is you, it doesn’t mean you hate your baby.
It doesn’t mean you aren’t a good parent.
It doesn’t even say you regret having this new person in your life.
But it can mean that you need work to be a good parent.
Or in other words, it's okay if you need to regain a part of your identity to be healthy and have the ability to be present with your child.
Every single family is going to have conversations about how they want this crazy ride to go, and when they need to get off for a little while. Really common questions can be: How will you take breaks? How will you stay connected to your partner? How will you learn about what being a parents means? And when to go back to work, if at all?
Work for many people isn’t just a source of a paycheck. Work can be social stimulation, personal growth, or a creative outlet. Wanting to have a little bit of your “normal” back after so much change makes a lot of sense when we consider how much is thrown at new parents and especially those parents who give birth.
So if you are psyched to trade out the burp cloth for your laptop, know that in doing so you are not a bad parent. For many, going to work means you can take a big breath when you get home, and jump into caring for you child without resentment, because you might just find, you missed her while you were away all day.