Can you spot yourself?
Yay! You’re having a baby. Your job threw you a party. Your coworkers said they’d miss you. They all can’t wait to meet your bundle of joy and hear all about your life as a mom … once you come back to work. You’re coming back, right?
You said yes—although perhaps, you might have crossed your fingers behind your back thinking, “We’ll see about that.” Or maybe you squealed earnestly that you couldn’t wait to get back to your best work buds. How could you survive without them? How could you survive without being in your work element?
Whoever you are on the spectrum of moms taking maternity leave, you’ll probably find yourself in one of these well-known types.
1. The Desperate Coworker:
You feel left out as you watch your coworkers post happy hour selfies on social media. You wonder, “Is that an inside joke about the delivery guy?” You call, text and comment, desperately trying to be included at work …. So much so, your coworkers have referred to you as the nagging younger sister.
You’re doing all of this with a baby on your boob or in your arms, staring at your post-partum body that you don’t even recognize, wondering to yourself if you’re losing your marbles.
It’s ok. They didn’t lace the apple juice at the hospital. You’re going a little crazy at home. No judging, girl!
2. The Evader:
Your coworkers came to visit. They ooh and ahh over your new babe, and when they ask you if you’re coming back, you say, “Yeah, I’ll be back … just figuring out the details.” And when they text to say they can’t wait for you to join them again at Friday trivia hour after work, you reply with vague smiley face emojis. Sure, you miss them—but can you really be a working mom? You just don't know.
Because back at the mom cave, you’re knee-deep in diapers and serious fatigue. The idea of going back to work makes you anxious but also, a little relieved. You're a little lonely at home, and don't want to admit it. At the same time, you really hated Friday trivia hour and wouldn't mind staying home with this cute little bundle you call yours, if only you could find the perfect daycare … but you don't love anywhere you visit. You're even avoiding their phone calls. You're stuck in the middle of motherhood and work and not sure about either—and it stinks.
3. The Fugitive:
Ever since you waved goodbye on your last day of work before maternity leave, no one has heard “Boo” from you. Sure, some of your coworkers saw your baby’s arrival photos on social media, but they’re beginning to wonder if you left town.
The idea of going back to work now and handling both your mom and work duties gives you a full-fledged panic attack. You’re spending late nights up with that baby googling “work from home jobs.” In fact, you’re considering pimping out your partner just so you can avoid going back to work—ever. All you need to fully escape that rigid 9 to 5 is a flexible plan B, to keep your spouse from running away and keep yourself sane at the same time.
4. The Never Left Them:
You organized your own baby shower at work. You told everyone to continue to email you questions, and you called everyone the day your maternity leave started to check on your replacement. You then visited the office at least three times a week until the baby was born.
The day your baby arrived, you were overcome with joy—until the next day when you realized that while your baby is the best, you forget to check your work email. Once you realize this, you are determined to go into the office ASAP. Maternity leave, schmaternity leave.
5. The Temporary Slacker:
You’re torn. You love your baby to bits, but at the same time, you miss work a little bit. Mostly, you just miss the days in which you didn’t leak like a bad faucet or smell like formula. You know you’re going back to work and that’s fine, but people need to lower their expectations because you’ve got a lot on your plate. You might show up to work in yoga pants or perhaps, your pajamas—including your slippers. You might leave a little early.
In a few months you’ll be back on your game, but in the meantime, screw it—the baby is here, and that’s what counts!
Written by Laura Lifshitz for Working Mother and legally licensed through the Matcha publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.