Whether you're returning from maternity leave or your SAHM days are coming to an end, leaving your child is hard. Visions of your kid hating you or mistaking the nanny for Mommy and worries about missing milestones can make your first day back exhausting - and that's before you even step foot into your office.
But here are three tales of back-to-work survival; hopefully they'll help you find your own life-work balance.
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"I Found the Right Daycare"
Mom: Lorneth Fahie-Peters, 30
Child: Elijah Peters, 6 months
Location: Clarksville, TN (outside of Nashville)
I have a 6-month-old, and I returned to work when he was just over three months. The main challenge I faced was finding childcare. One of my in-the-know friends told me to visit daycares between the hours of 10-2. My visitation experience during those odd times was eye-opening. Out of the three daycares I visited, one allowed an infant to cry the entire time I was present. No one took the time to check on the infant. Visiting daycares at odd times can show you the actual environment your child will be exposed to on a weekly basis. It was important for me to find the right daycare because my infant would be spending more time there than he would with me. [At the one I picked], I knew that the workers showed genuine concern for the infants. The first day was the most difficult day of my life. My parents and husband were surprised at the way I reacted. I have always been an independent woman, with goals of climbing the corporate ladder. Since having my son, my goals have changed. I am now more focused on being a great mom over being the best employee. To help me through my first day, I bought Starbucks coffee and drank it for the first time since giving birth. I also listened to my favorite CD throughout the day and counted down the hours, minutes and seconds left before I saw my son again.
"I Asked for a Flexible Schedule"
Mom: Carly Fauth, 32
Children: Ryker, 17 months
Location: Milford, MA
After having my son, Ryker, I spent just a few blissful months as a SAHM (and yes, I use the term "blissful" with just a hint of sarcasm). I started job hunting because for me personally and financially it was important to rejoin the workforce. My two biggest challenges included finding something I was truly passionate about and convincing employers that I was still relevant (something many employers doubt of moms that have been out of the workforce for a while). I also had to prove myself as a committed potential employee. "[For example, I'd have to say] 'Can I leave early four days a week and have Fridays off? That's Ryker's daycare schedule - you understand, right?' Alas, after much searching, I reconnected with an old friend who was launching an online kids clothing swap company called thredUP.com, and they needed a "Chief Mom"! Luckily, my friend/boss was really understanding and flexible with my schedule. He worked with me to find a compromise between what thredUP needed and what I could do. He was also open to the option of me working from home if need be. I think it helped that he and his wife were expecting their first child, so he was probably more sympathetic than the average boss.
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"I Went Back to School to Get Current"
Mom: Judith Rohatiner, 48
Children: Layla, 15 and Zoey, 11
Location: Shorecrest, FL
I worked part-time for my ex while I raised my kids. In 2004, when I got divorced, I ended up with a ten-year gap in my resume [which focused on marketing]. [I spent time at] five different jobs in marketing and web management. For my current job as marketing manager for a dermatology company, I had to metamorphose into a web designer (adobe CS5 and more), programmer and SEO director. To catch up on all the stuff I missed in a decade, I taught myself and took classes, both in person and online. I participated in a Dade County Public Schools program. Even though I already had a masters degree, I felt like the industry progressed tremendously while I was gone. It was now about social media and search engine optimization, and I was competing with 25-year-olds. I saw that I needed to learn programming, coding and designing. The course gave me exposure to the new equipment and software, and I combined that with what I already knew about public relations. I now do a mixture of SEO, programming, web management and internet growth strategy. My masters degree helps me because because I have the global thinking to stay ahead of the game.
Head over to Babble for two more back-to-work success stories. Then tell us, how did you manage returning to the office?
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