Goodbye, Maternity Leave. How I’ll Miss You So.

It’s 12:50pm on a weekday and I’m extra-relishing the quiet minutes while my three-year-old is in school and the twins are napping. Why? Today is officially my last day of maternity leave before I go back to the working world. So long, walks around the block on a weekday morning. See you later, eating lunch on the floor while shaking a rattle with the babies. Goodbye, my special time with the two of you and hanging out all day.

Goodbye, maternity leave. How I'll miss you so.Before I sound too depressing, I do want to mention that I’m also excited to go back to work. I’ll actually get to wear anything other than yoga pants and flip flops and—gasp!—brush my hair. It’ll be fun seeing coworkers and immersing myself in the office setting. And I won’t lug my over-sized double stroller on a daily basis. Yay for going to work!

Still… It’s ironic babies start getting easier to care for right when you go back to work. The twins have now gotten their routine down pat, they take ridiculously long naps three times a day, and they smile and laugh so willingly—total cure for a tiring day.

During my maternity leave, I learned a couple of things:

  • I really can do anything. In the beginning, I never thought I could take care of newborn twins and a three-year-old at the same time, but somehow I did. Sometimes literally for the entire day—from breakfast to bedtime—like when my husband was out of town. Talk about working round the clock.
  • With time so limited (and parents outnumbered!), I became more organized, thinking three steps ahead and running through the what-ifs. I’m a master lunch-packer and can picture everything the babies need for their bath and bedtimes.
  • I also learned some serious patience, not just with the twins but with my equally attention-deserving preschooler too. I battled with something I never thought I’d have to: controlling my temper, and learned not to take my frustrations out on my kids. Ever.
  • Children’s growth, however inevitable, can sometimes be a parent’s greatest sorrow. Because even though I was out for half the year, I can’t believe this is the last day of my maternity leave. How are my babies already five months old when they were just coming home with us wearing those newborn clothes and sleeping in tiny bassinets? Any time the day starts feeling long because some baby won’t stop crying or my three-year-old had yet another accident, I remember how irrevocable these moments are.

Now here I am yet again, going back to work and saying goodbye to maternity leave and hello to work, possibly for the last time. I don’t know when I’ll ever have several months to stay home with my kids again.

So thank you, maternity leave, for giving me a chance to spend so much time with the kiddos. I’ll miss our outings, our play times, our naps while the babies nap, and walking my son home from preschool. I’ll remember worrying how on earth I’ll ever get through the next few months to finally wondering where they had all just gone.

And of course, thank you to my two babies for making these moments some of the most challenging yet rewarding chapters of my life. I admit, I wasn’t too thrilled when I learned I was having twins, what with pregnancy complications and the challenging newborn days. But now… now I know why they say that twins are a double blessing. To have the both of you, I would go through it all over again, no doubt.

How did you feel when you returned to work and ended maternity leave?

Nina

Nina is a working mom to three boys—a five-year-old and toddler twins. She blogs about parenting at Sleeping Should Be Easy, where she writes everything she's learning about being mom and all its joys and challenges. She also covers topics like how kids learn and play, family life, being a working mom and life with twins. Download her free ebook, "Time Management Strategies for the Overwhelmed Mom" for more tips.

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  1. says

    When I went back to work after maternity leave it was exciting but bittersweet as well. In Ontario we are given a full year off so after being off for all that time it was hard to get back into the swing of things. It was also so wonderful to spend an entire year with my son without the worries or stresses of work.

      • says

        That was fast! I live in Toronto so like Shannon, I was off for over a year. And I also found it extremely difficult to go back to my pre-baby work schedule because being with Madeline 24/7 for that long, it’s almost a cruel teaser to get you completely adjusted to life at home, then just when you think you have your routine figured out, it’s time to get used to a new one. I don’t know if this is better or worse than the amount of mat leave time allowed in the US, lol, pros and cons to both, I guess!

  2. says

    My doctor only okayed me for three weeks of maternity leave. My husband and my inlaws raised my baby. I thought about him all day at work and worried about him. My husband and my inalws raised my baby until a year later my husband got a job—–only problem was we had to move from our hometown. But that turned into a good thing.My doctor only okayed me for three weeks of paid maternity leave. My husband lost his job, so I had to go back to work. I did not want to leave my three month old. I wanted to be a stay at home mom, but we could not afford it.I missed my baby so much.

  3. says

    How fast did that whizz by????
    Good luck with assimilating back in with the human race. You’ll miss those comfy pants!
    Oh, and maybe the kids a little bit.

  4. says

    OMG, once again you have me weeping into my laundry basket. What a sweet tribute to maternity leave! I never thought of it as the longest period you’ll ever get with your kids. That’s really a beautiful way to think of it…I still have one more year till Greta goes to school and now I’ll look st it that way too. Thanks for sharing and have fun brushing your hair! :)

  5. says

    I remain in deep awe of you for handling the challenges of the last several months so gracefully. I wish I was nearly as cool, calm, and collected when I was first juggling my three. Here’s hoping the transition back to work went well and that you’re finding new ways to appreciate both work and home now that you’re back in the saddle.
    Kristen @ Motherese recently posted..Mama Said Knock You Out?My Profile

  6. says

    I was a contractor so I will have to go back to a new job. With my first, I intended to take a year off but after 8.5 months the job market was really good and a job came up and most importantly a child care placement.

    In Australia 50% of child care is rebated by the government which encourages a lot of the working mothers to go back as it makes child care affordable.
    Sass and Spice recently posted..NewbornsMy Profile