My Maternity Leave Is Over… And I’m Not Going Back To Work

My Maternity Leave is Over... and I'm not going back to work. Who am I

Today marks the day I’d normally be headed back to work. My maternity leave of 12 weeks is over. Everything is different this time around since I’m not going back to my full-time corporate event planning job.

Who am I now? A stay-at-home mom? A non-working mom? A work-from-home mom who runs a blog and raises her babies? It’s still hard for me to identify myself in any other way than a working mom, as I’ve been in the workforce for over a decade and went back to work after having my first baby three years ago.

Thinking about how I felt this day after my first maternity leave ended, I was filled with so many emotions. I was headed back to work but my role had changed. I was no longer just an event planner. I was a working mom. (A label that I find funny since you hardly hear anyone identify themselves as a working dad.) I felt different. I felt worried. I felt anxious. I was leaving my baby to be cared for by someone other than myself and I was splitting my time between motherhood and working. I had spent hours pumping to build up my supply in preparation of returning to work. I scoured articles about pumping at work and storing breast milk safely. Luckily, my mom was able to watch my newborn baby for the first few months, so that made the transition a little easier, but it was still hard nonetheless. No matter how much I prepared myself for returning to work, nothing could help me from feeling the a rush of mixed emotions the day my maternity leave ended.

Three years later, I am at this same juncture as my maternity leave comes to an end the second time around. Yet, this time I’m not going back to work. How do I feel this time around? A bundle of mixed emotions just like the first time. I feel different. I feel worried. I feel anxious. I’m not leaving my baby to go back to work, but I’m leaving my job, my co-workers, part of my identity as a working mom. I wonder if I’ll be good at my new role as a stay-at-home mom. There won’t be anyone to tell me about areas I need to improve or things I’m excelling at. No one will hand me a bonus check for a job well done. I won’t be receiving a paycheck to validate the work I’ve put in. How will I know if I’m a good mom? Do I just have to wait and see how my kids turn out 30 years from now to determine if I’ve done my job well?

As I think about all the emotions I’m feeling this time around, I realize they are the same feelings I felt the first time around. Different. Worried. Anxious… Yet, I also feel excited, hopeful, grateful, and a sense of peace that I’m making the right choice for myself and my family. I’ve put A LOT of thought into this decision. I don’t take it lightly. 

Thinking about today, the day my 12 weeks of maternity leave ends and the day I’m not going back to work, I realize something. No matter what type of mom I am I will always feel a mix of emotions because I am just that… a mom. I will always feel all the feels because I have children who I love unconditionally. And I will always worry and be concerned that I’m making the right choices for them, spending enough time with them, and raising them to be good humans.

Yet with all these fears and doubts come great love and life. An unconditional love for my babies and family. I find comfort and confidence knowing that no matter what else I’m doing in life, whether it’s working, or staying home, or working from home, or anything else, I will always strive to do my best and appreciate these fleeting moments. I don’t need to fit into a certain role or categorized identity to feel self-worth. So I’m going to forget about all the other mom labels and just simply be a mom. I’m excited and eager to walk a new path in life. It’s another chapter in my story and it’s going to be a page-turner, especially with two little ones keeping me busy!  

Would love to hear from all you mamas and how you felt as your maternity leave came to an end. Leave me a note! 🙂  And make sure to check out my post when I first announced our big family news here

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My Maternity Leave Is Over... And I'm Not Going Back To Work. Who Am I Now?

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15 thoughts on “My Maternity Leave Is Over… And I’m Not Going Back To Work

  1. Going back to work from maternity leave was so hard for me! I missed my baby so much. And I still do. He is almost 7 months old (I’ve been back for 3 months) and it really hasn’t gotten easier. I still miss him so much every day and wish I was at home with him! You’re so lucky you get to stay home with your babies. Good luck in your new adventure!

    1. I feel you mama! I did it with my first and it was hard. You’ve gotta do what’s best for your family whether it’s working or staying home! I wish you luck in your working mama role!

  2. How exciting for you. I pray for the day i can be a stay at home mom. I love this blog. It’s so personally and nice to connect with someone with the same views on motherhood. Can’t wait to hear more on this new chapter of this life you are starting.

  3. You’ll never regret this decision. This last time around was the first I’ve had to go back to work and it’s something I struggle with daily. She’s been there almost 8 months. Many positives being with great caregivers. But, it’s not me, and I miss her and her 3 year old sister.

  4. I love this. I don’t have kiddos yet but I guess I just assumed it would be less stressful if you got to stay at home. Either way, being a momma and taking care of your kids can make you feel ALL the emotions!

  5. I love this. We are ready to start trying for a third very soon. I’m making it a goal to not return to work after our third child is born – hopefully the blog I started 5 months ago can eventually replace my income! Great encouragement!

  6. Hi Sarah,

    I loved how you mentioned that no-one says they’re a working dad. That is so true. I remember when my aunt was visiting one day and my husband put our son in the high chair for lunch, my aunt goes, “He’s such a good dad.” I was like, yeah he is…wait, I do that every day, am I a good mom?!” Anywhoo, I’m did go back after my second one. I’m not sure I’m cut out for being a sahm, but I do have the dream!

    1. Or when people say “dad’s babysitting” like it’s a unique situation for Dad to watch the kids alone! Luckily, my husband and I have a good parenting partnership and don’t view life like that 🙂 I don’t know if I’m cut out for this job either, but I’m always up for a challenge and feel very lucky to spend this time with my kiddos. They are growing so fast! Thanks for reading and taking time to comment!

  7. I love this post! I’m a “working mom” (I agree that title is ridiculous). After 7 months back at work leaving the little guy is still as tough as ever. I don’t think there’s a perfect balance but I do think the world would be a better place if more dads found the decision to leave their little ones to go to work every day to be as anxiety-inducing as so many moms do. Best of luck on your new adventure!

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