I am a child protection social worker, and was still very green in my job when I left to have a baby. I had only been doing it for 16 months and I still felt like I was learning something new everyday. Someone told me once that it takes about 3 years to feel like you really have it under your belt and yet another person told me that the average "lifespan" of a child protection social worker is 18 months... so while I was nearing the end of the average lifespan when I left, I didn't feel like I was ready to pack it in. Now, after being off for 14 months I am afraid I won't know how to do my job, I am hoping it comes back to me quickly. Many things have changed while I was away, people have come and gone, new team leaders, new managers, it will almost be like starting a new job.
I worry about my little man and how he will adjust but kids always fare better than their parents don't they? They are so resilient and strong, we could learn a thing or two from children... who just roll with whatever is happening. I don't think we do our children any favors by protecting them from changes, afterall change is the only for sure thing in life, right? It's best they get to know change early because if they don't, they won't have the skills needed to deal with it when it does happen. I feel sad that I will miss things, he changes so quickly and everyday he does something new and I don't want to miss anything... and selfishly, I want to be the first person to witness the new things being his mom and all. I know this is unrealistic... but it's how I feel.
Once I work through these emotions, which I keep having to do over and over and probably will take some time to get used to being back at work and the transition from being a stay at home mom to full time working mom. The part that makes me feel good about going back early is that Daddy will be home with him during the days during the most crucial time of transition, the first couple weeks to a month. Then he will transition to Granny and a friend who will sit for us two days a week. I think in the long run, he will learn how to adjust quickly and be well rounded because of it. That's always a good skill to have.
Some things that also help me is to think about; the 20-45 minute drive to and from work by myself to listen to my music as loud as I want, being able to talk to adults for long periods of time without interruptions, taking breaks when I need them, being able to eat... slowly and enjoy it, running errands on my breaks without worrying about packing a diaper bag... haha... seriously? Who I am kidding, I'm a social worker! LOL! Being a social worker can be tough to do any of those things above but taking care of yourself if an important aspect of the job so I do try hard to slow down, take breaks, enjoy the company of my coworkers and get out of the building when needed. Other important positives that I remind myself of are being able to learn and practice culture and traditions again, supporting others be the best parents they can be, visiting families and all the cute little kiddies and working with community to ensure children are happy and safe :) I do love my job and I am excited to go back. The best part will be coming home and seeing my own family and appreciating them for who they are.
I am sure many moms go through all of these emotions when returning to work and work through them in their own way. I know I will miss being home and life will get a whole lot busier but it will all be worth it I am sure. Wish me luck!