Happy New Year!
I hope you all enjoyed a joyous holiday season filled with family, friends, lots of laughter, good food, and too much wine.
Many people create goals or resolutions at the start of each year. I’ve never really been one to get into making new year resolutions so unlike most bloggers, I don’t have any resolutions to share. However, I do have dreams and aspirations for this little blog of mine [I’m still here too] and one of those ideas is to inspire others in any way that I can. Whether it be through fashion, home décor, or sharing my experience as a new mama, I hope to connect with a community of like-minded creatives and spread a little more positivity throughout the world.
One of my favorite topics to talk about as of late is how life has changed (for the better!) as a new mama. One topic that has been on my heart for the last couple of weeks is maternity leave. For those of you unfamiliar, I have been working for the past five years at a local non-profit that provides services to individuals with autism. I oversee the marketing, which in non-profit language translates into all the traditional marketing, social media, graphic design, and public relations. I love the work I do and the mission of the organization.
That being said, I also love being a mama! I’m due to return to work next week and I’m completely devastated about having to leave my baby girl. In all honesty I’ve really been struggling with having to leave L (if anyone even asks me about my leave I tend to burst into tears). Although I’ve been fortunate enough to have 12 full weeks off, I feel very strongly that the maternity leave in our country is completely unrealistic. Leaving a newborn after just three months is far too early. A baby changes SO fast and it’s so unfair that a mother (and father) must return to work so quickly and miss out on so many developmental changes. I fully advocate for at least one year of maternity leave for all mothers in order to be able to care for and bond with their baby.
Unfortunately, we don’t have the option for me to be a stay at home mom at this stage in our life. The past few weeks, and this week in particular, I’m having to really find ways to be at peace with going back to work. I’m sure other new mamas have similar feelings about returning to work after spending so many precious moments with their babies, so I’ve compiled a few ways in which I’m coping in the hopes that other new mamas will find ways to feel a little more at peace about having to return to work.
Support System – Having a strong support system has been a game changer for me. I am one that has always worn my feelings on my sleeve and it helps me so much to be able to talk about and voice my insecurities, worries, and fears. I’m so blessed to have such an understanding, patient, and loving husband. He is my rock and if it weren’t for him, I’d be a complete hot mess. [I rocked a Dad bod before being a dad, now I’m a real hunk] It also helps that our families live in the same city as us and have been tremendously helpful these past few months. A few family members will even be helping us out and watching L, and that makes a huge difference in putting my mind at ease!
Yoga – I’ve been practicing yoga for almost three years now. I started yoga as a way to harness my anxiety and it has become a way of life. The mind, body, and spiritual balance is just incredible and I’m grateful for each time I step onto my mat. I was able to continue my practice into the third trimester of my pregnancy. However, it did become increasingly difficult towards the end of pregnancy and it’s taken nine weeks postpartum to finally get back on the mat. I’m making a point to do at least a twenty-minute practice each morning to help center myself and ease my anxiety of returning to work. So far it’s helping and enabling me to think a little more clearly and positively.
Something New – Now this may sound superficial, but one of the ways that is helping me to get back to work is knowing that I have a new outfit and new handbag for the first day. I know this sounds so silly, but having something to look forward to on a day that I know is going to be insanely difficult actually helps spur some excitement. I also printed out a bunch of pictures of L that I’m bringing to the office to hang up all around my desk. It’s the little things that count here people.
Being Present Now – The last way in which I’m trying not to let my anxieties and worry get the best of me is by being present now. With all the social media and distractions nowadays it’s increasingly difficult for people to be present in their own lives. I’m making a point to get off my phone and completely focus on her when she’s awake and ready to play or cuddle. (She’s of course napping as I write this). I’m committed to enjoying every.single.moment with my sweet L. By being completely present, I can put my mind at ease that I’ve done everything humanely possible to make the best of this next week and enjoy all the baby cuddles, smiles, and giggles.
I would love to hear suggestions from all you mamas (and dads!) about how you have transitioned back into work after being on maternity leave. Hopefully some of the ways in which I am coping will inspire some of you and make the transition just a little bit easier.
As always, thanks for stopping by A Dash of Solt!
Shannon [and Rob too!]
p.s. These pictures were taken at Maumee Bay State Park – a local gem of Northwest Ohio with access to Erie Beach (one of my favorite places to take pictures and get my water fix!)
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