Today was a pretty ordinary Monday for most of us. For me, I work from home on Mondays so the morning hustle was a little bit slower. While I started our routine of feed, dress, brush (all the brushing), shoes, I remembered that today was Leanne's first day back to work after Maternity Leave.
I watched the girls eating their breakfast and tried to remember that morning when I went back to work for the first time. Outfits for the week were planned for me and E, overnight oats were in the fridge for a quick breakfast, bottles were prepped, pumping supplies packed and ready to go. I remember making two trips to the car that morning, getting up at the crack of dawn to write notes about her on index cards so her teachers knew her schedule and her favorite things to do. It feels like yesterday and ages ago all at once. The second return was different but the feelings were the same. Don't get me wrong, I love my career and I enjoy what I do, but no amount of preparedness eases the thought of leaving your new baby with someone else for...well, forever.
The good news is that the absolute hardest part is the roller coaster of emotions you'll feel leading up to that day. The last week of leave? Hard. The final "work day" of leave? Impossible. The night before? Touuugh. Drop off is hard, you practically see the hand, foot and mouth disease greeting you at the door of daycare centers. But you know what? Once you're back in your car you're alone. Like, totally alone and although it's sad, maybe it's ok that it also feels kind of good? This is the tipping point when you realize that you CAN do it, and you totally can. There will be good days and bad in the beginning, but I promise once you sit at that desk you'll feel like you never left
The End of Leave shoot is something I started to offer my clients after I had N. Having been through the return to work one time already, I knew what other moms would be feeling. I remembered how upset I was when both girls finally started to show their personalities as I was gearing up for my return. I remember snapping so many bad cell phone images that last week before returning to work, trying to document all our favorite things to do together. I remember looking at our newborn photos and noticing just how much a baby changes from 2 weeks to 3 months. I remember the baby & mama tear-stained cheek selfie I posted on my family photo stream then instantly regretted (yep). I saw a need to bottle all of this up for my clients and so, I did. It's the kind of session that you maybe don't think you need until you have one. I believe in them so much that I offer them free for birth clients and clients who do not get any compensation during leave. For all other inquiries, its price is 1/2 my normal session rate. This is my small way of giving back and it makes me so happy.
The little things are always my favorites during these sessions. The hand-written, no soliciting notes taped to front doors, the playful interactions between mom and baby, the baby accouterments in corners of every room, the sleepy baby, peacefulness. Leanne, thank you so much for inviting me to come document this time for you and sweet baby Eilidh. Welcome to your new role as working mom, you've got this!