Everyone talks about the nesting phase of pregnancy, those fateful weeks leading up to the arrival of a baby where you have a sometimes overwhelming urge to clean and organize your home. Whether it is putting the final touches on a nursery, re-arranging your living room or scrubbing floors and baseboards, nesting is common towards the end of pregnancy. And let’s not forget the emotional side of nesting, if your poor husband puts the change table in the wrong corner of the nursery, or doesn't have the car seat buckled in weeks is advance, he may never live it down. Anxiety is running at an all time high.
Everyone is prepared that the weeks leading up to a baby's arrival will be stressful and a little chaotic in most circumstances, but what about the weeks leading up to the return to work? The day when you have to get up and put on nice clothes, figure out a hair style that isn’t the mom bun, and leave your baby in someone else’s hands for 7-10 hours.
As my own return to work has crept up on me, I am painfully aware on this second nesting phase. I am looking around my messy house, wondering how the heck I will keep it clean when I’m working if I can’t manage to keep it clean while I’m at home. I see the window sills that need to have the lady bugs cleaned out, the pictures I haven’t hung (and all the ones I haven’t ordered), the pumped milk that doesn’t exist, or the growth chart that is still a work in progress.
Having such a long to do list is stressful. It reminds me of how many days I have chosen to nap instead of clean while I’ve been at home. It reminds me of how unprepared I am for my husband to take over the parenting duties while I go to work every day. Although he is more than capable of taking care of the baby on his own (and he will probably be better at it than I am), there is still the overwhelming urge to get at least some of the cooking and the cleaning ‘out of the way' so he doesn’t have to worry about it.
Logically, I know that no amount of prep work will make the transition easier, and no matter what I do my house will remain a mess for the next few years. Trying to reason with my logical side right now is almost as productive as reasoning with a woman at the end of pregnancy, it is likely a wasted effort.
As I count down the final hours until my first day back to work, tell me, how did you cope with the rollercoaster of emotions at the end of your maternity leave?