I’m still in complete disbelief that Kaiden was born exactly 18 weeks ago today.  IT BLOWS MY MIND!  The 18 weeks certainly felt full and ‘busy,’ but at the same time, it seriously feels like he was born yesterday…

You know what also feels like it happened yesterday?  Me going to work for what would unknowingly be the last time before baby K.  I know because when I walked in to the office yesterday it felt like I never left.  A good thing, I suppose!

More than anything, I’m so grateful to have spent 18 weeks at home with Kaiden.  I know not every new mama gets/is able to take off so much time.  My company’s policy allowed me 12 weeks of paid maternity leave (including continued benefits).  Then, after talking it through with Vishnu, I decided to take an additional six unpaid weeks of leave (I covered my portion of benefits).  My boss, a mom of two, encouraged me to do what felt right, so it was a very very easy decision.  Like I said, so grateful (and lucky) in so many ways!

Additionally, I’m now working a compressed schedule – 4 days/10 hours each with Fridays off.  My former coworker Erin arranged for this schedule after her first baby.  It worked so well for her, so I thought I’d give it a try.  I’m so glad my boss agreed!

Even with the 18 weeks + the new schedule, I was a hot mess on Tuesday night.  I cried while pumping and then continued to cry as I fell asleep.  I then teared up while feeding K the next morning.  At this point, I told myself to get it together!  When it came time to leave for work, I quickly said bye and left the room before the tears started flowing again.

The tears had nothing to do with guilt.  I honestly just felt sad about the end of this chapter.  I kept thinking about the ‘no mores.’  Not a healthy mindset the night before you go back to work, I know!

But 90% of those feelings floated away as I walked to work.  While the end of maternity marks the end of a VERY special chapter in our lives, it also marks the beginning of a new and exciting one (and that’s what I’m choosing to focus on).

In preparation for yesterday, Vishnu’s been telling me about how coming home from work now feels like Christmas morning.  You can’t wait to walk through the door and hold Kaiden.  You guys, he was right!  Vishnu and Kaiden greeted me at our front door with big smiles on their faces.  Vishnu said Kaiden was pretty fussy before I got home, but the minute I took him into my arms, he totally relaxed!  BEST FEELING IN THE WORLD!  And he was pretty playful right up until bedtime!  I LOVE MY LITTLE GUY SO SO MUCH!

The End of Maternity Leave

With that, here’s a quick run down of how my day proceeded.  Please accept my apology for the lack of pictures.  I intended to take a few snaps here and there but completely forgot.  Oops!

3:45 am – Kaiden ‘wakes up’ so I help him fall back asleep by patting his belly and rocking his bassinet for a few minutes.

4:00 am – My alarm goes off.

4:06 am – I peel myself out of bed.

4:10-4:40 am – Pump, pump, pump.

4:50 am – Kaiden’s up for real because he’s hungry.

4:55-5:20 am – I feed, burp, and put Kaiden back to sleep.

5:30-6:00 am – I complete a 30 minute Barre3 Online class.

6:00-7:00 am – Go through the motions – shower, get ready, make/eat breakfast, drink coffee (MUCH NEEDED!).

7:00-7:20 am – My dad’s up at 7, so I go through Kaiden’s ‘schedule’ with him (he tells me to relax…haha). I also call my mom and chat with her for a bit before saying bye to K and heading out the door.

7:20-7:45 am – My mom tries to convince me to Uber to work but I decide to walk instead.  The temperature is 38 degrees and perfect for a short walk.  I know, who am I?!

7:45-8:00 am – I use this time to set up and reacquaint myself with the office.  I also go on a short adventure to find the mother’s room (aka pump room).

8:00-9:30 am – I tackle my inbox and a few items on the to do list I created the night before.

9:30-10:15 am – Pump, pump, pump.

10:15 am – 12:30 pm – This time is filled with more work stuff (a call, emails, a few to dos related our year end performance management process).

12:30-1:30 pm – My team and I grab lunch together and spend the hour chatting away.

1:30-2:00 pm – I schedule some catch-up calls for this week and next and review emails for an upcoming meeting.

2:00-2:30 pm – I attend a quick meeting to discuss a new project.

2:30-3:15 pm – Pump, pump, pump.

3:15-4:00 pm – My manager and I spend this time catching up.

4:00-4:30 pm – I walk home as fast as possible.  The faster my legs go, the faster I get to see K.

4:30-4:45 pm – Vishnu and I try to play with Kaiden for a bit, but he’s not having it.  My dad and V kept him up so he would be awake when I got home.  Homeboy is ready for a nap!

4:45-5:15 pm – Vishnu and I catch up about my day and his night at the hospital while I chow down a small bowl of cereal.

5:15-5:50 pm – Kaiden’s up from his very short nap and in a very mood, so the three of us play in our room for a while.  Kaiden’s newest trick involves imitating the sounds and faces we make when playing with him.  He sticks his tongue out and puckers his lips…ohmygosh it’s the cutest thing ever!

5:50-6:15 pm – I sit down and feed Kaiden because he’s hangry!

6:15-6:45 pm – This is normally the sweet spot for Kaiden’s bedtime, but because of DST, we’re trying to push it back a bit.  To keep Kaiden up and entertained, we FaceTime with Vishnu’s parents.

6:45-6:55 pm – After a quick diaper and outfit change, Kaiden seems more than ready for sleep.  He goes down pretty easily.

7:00-7:30 pm – Pump, pump, pump.

7:40 pm – My dad and I sit down to eat dinner (Instant Pot tortilla soup!).

7:55-8:25 pm – I wash the dishes and Kaiden’s bottles before cleaning up the rest of the kitchen.  I then prep four bottles for my dad to use tomorrow (makes it a lot easier on him) before closing shop.

8:30-9:45 pm – I tackle a few work things and pump before calling it a night.

10:00 pm – My head hits the pillow and I’m OUT!

My heart is so full at the end of the day, while my body is freaking exhausted.

And that, my friends, is what the end of my maternity leave and return to work looks like.  Every minute is pretty much accounted for, but it’s worth it!

HAPPY THURSDAY (my Friday!).  🙂

By Parita

6 thoughts on “Day in the Life: End of Maternity Leave and Back to Work”
  1. The first day back is truly the worst but now that that’s behind you and you survived , it just gets better and better. Think our babies are literally a few days apart and I went back at 16 weeks. So I have two weeks on you there. But my routine is eerily similar yet different with a five year old to manage as well. Your day in the life posts make me want to write out mine and I’ll do that soon. Oh and I also wanted to say your dad coming over to manage baby while you start work is amazing and exactly what our family did for our first born five years ago It was a chain of support – my mom,my dad, my mom again , my fil, my sil, my mil, my sis, my mom , my mil !! No two people came together .My mom made three trips from India that first year of our baby’s life. Phew ! All this and we had a Desi nanny as well for half the day! Together we got through the first year ! It takes a village indeed. We are doing things a little differently this time around . Anyway hang in there and know you are doing an amazing job as a working mom !

    1. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU! Your comment made me smile!

      It really does take a village. More than I realized. We’re so lucky to have family that’s willing to help however they can! Not sure what I would do without them.

      I’m sure your days are very full as well…hope there’s some fun mixed in there too!

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