A Letter to My Mom Friend On Returning to Work

Silhouette of a Woman

Good morning, beautiful. Today’s the day. You’re probably starting your morning to the sound of your old friend, the alarm clock, rather than relying on your baby’s cries to wake you.

I’ve been there, mama. And there’s so much I want to say. I want to encourage you, fill up your cup, and make sure you know you’re not alone. But before I overload the conversation with things I wish someone had said to me, let’s start here… how are you doing?

How are you feeling about the transition back to work? Because there are a million thoughts and feelings you might have and all of them yes, all of them are completely valid.

To the mama who’s relieved that maternity leave is over:

Hey there #bossbabe! Wow how tough was being a stay-at-home mom? You know that saying “I’ve met working moms and I’ve met SAHMs and I’ve yet to meet a mom who didn’t work?” Well, we 100% get it now!

I bet you’re excited to drive to the office, enjoy a warm cup of coffee, talk to adults, and fall in love with your work again. Soak it all up, mama!

Rest easy knowing that you did your due diligence picking out a childcare provider. If you want to call 3 times a day to check in, that’s totally fine! And if you don’t feel that’s necessary, please don’t fret and wonder if you should have that desire. You’re not cold self-care and alone time are essential to being a good mom.

If there’s one piece of advice I can give you today, it’s this: give yourself grace.

The thing they didn’t tell us about returning to work is that you’re not always returning to the same job in the same environment as the same person. Odds are that at least one element of the equation has changed. So it may feel like your first day at a brand new job.

Remember the last time you started a new role? It took time to catch up to speed on the projects. To feel like you were making contributions. To learn all the acronyms they threw around. That may happen again today! Please don’t be alarmed by this. Just know it’s okay to take time to ramp back up. 

You also have a 24/7 job you didn’t have before motherhood. Which means you may need to leave at 4:30 to make daycare pickup. Or take a pumping break in the middle of a team meeting. Or skip the Wednesday happy hour. That’s okay too. 

Here’s the secret you’ll soon learn. You have so many amplified, undiscovered talents as a mother. Multitasking. Empathy. Prioritization. Don’t gauge your success against who you used to be in the workplace. Because I promise, this new person has a whole new skill set to contribute. You’ll be making waves in no time.

To the mama who wishes she could stay at home:

Hello my dear friend. I know it hurts. Like, physically hurts to drop your sweet babe off in the mornings. But know this: what you are doing is an act of love. 

As a co- or sole provider for your home, you’re investing in a future for your family.

You don’t have to be tough at work. It’s okay if you need to cry. It’s okay to talk to your coworkers about it. It’s really okay you’re human.

What you are doing is hard. But know that as your children grow up and watch the sacrifices you’re making for them, they’ll see your love. And they’ll learn that they can do hard things, too.

Please find some comfort in things that remind you of the service you are doing for your baby. Maybe it’s pumping and carving out time to provide breastmilk. Maybe it’s setting aside fifteen minutes of your lunch break to schedule the next doctor’s visit. Or listening to audiobooks on that parenting technique you were curious about during your commute.

And maybe it doesn’t seem feasible right now. But if you want to be a full-time stay-at-home mom, then love can find a way. I’m here to support you if you want to bounce ideas around or talk through a potential game plan to get there. And if and when the time comes to step away from work, I’m in full support of your decision.

In the meantime, I hope you see yourself through the eyes of your loving babe. The eyes that light up when you walk in the room and already think you’re super woman.

To the mama who is struggling with medical challenges: 

Maybe your pregnancy ended in a loss. Maybe your little one is struggling to thrive. Maybe you have postpartum depression. Mama: these are especially hard things.

Returning to work and leaving your personal life at the door is very challenging. I hope you have a work environment that celebrates authenticity and encourages you to be candid to the extent you want to be.

But I also want to urge you to explore your options. Your brain might be in survival mode that’s normal. And with that mindset you might go back to work sooner than you need to because you think it’s a necessity. Pause and take a moment to consider if you can take more time.

Talk to your supervisor or HR department. Google your scenario. Review the local laws. 

Expect empathy and understanding from others, and you’ll often receive that positive energy in return.

I am always here for you. I don’t always know what you need, so please feel free to tell me.

Mama, I love you. I think you’re incredible. And your babe thinks you’re the whole world. Please remember how strong, powerful, and amazing you are.

I’m always just a text, phone call, or drive away. Please reach out anytime you need me. And if you need more than just another mama commiserating with you, here are some resources I’ve grown to love:

  • Returnity Project: Brings together women who are raising families and building careers.
  • Motherly: Inspiration, empowerment, and advice for #momlife.
  • Working Mother: Work-life balance tips for moms
  • Facebook Groups: Search social for communities of mothers with similar experiences — from working, to coping with medical challenges, cosleeping, and beyond — there’s a group to help you.
  • Postpartum Support International: An organization that raises awareness about emotional changes women experience during pregnancy and postpartum. Help is just a call or text away.

Reveal your strength and beauty in motherhood. Becoming Mama creates artfully crafted fashions that transition from bump to breastfeeding.

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