All of the time and effort I put into updating my resume and cover letter, and practicing interviewing, had finally come to fruition and I was officially going back to work.
Of course, I had to be super mom and prepare my children for this huge transition.
This meant hours of research (ok, Pinterest) and reading tons of articles and posts about issues children may have. There were child development articles, posts on freezer meals, recommendations to schedule dates with your children, and way too many “worst case scenarios” for my comfort.
As many of us moms do, I read all of this and created the perfect plan for returning to work with the least amount of disruption to my children as possible.
We had a freezer full of meals that I could pop in the crock pot before I left for work in the morning.
A carefully orchestrated schedule that included dates with my children, when to clean and what, game time and reading time each night, and all of the other things that I thought every perfect working mom took care of.
We practiced the new schedule of after school care, met our child care staff, and read books about mommy going back to work. I had the best plan EVER to make sure this went smoothly for my children.
REALITY CHECK! Nothing happened – nothing!
At least as far as my children were concerned. They loved playing after school for a few hours until I picked them up. When I picked them up each night, they were full of stories about new friends and the activities they did together.
There were no temper tantrums, or tears because mommy was at work all day, or even guilt trips about “you never…”
The amazing thing about children is that they are actually quite resilient – much more so than adults.
As long as I was still feeding them (even if it was fast food for the 3rd night in a row), giving them random hugs and kisses, and tucking them into bed at night, they were just fine and dandy, thank you very much.
In fact, kids take their cues from their parents and as long as I was at ease with the transition, they were as well.
What I forgot to plan for was what I needed in order to navigate the changes in my life.
Before returning to work, I was able to cook most meals from scratch, I spent 2 hours at the gym most days, my schedule was fairly simple, and I actually had time to do laundry EVERY DAY.
My carefully orchestrated plan did not include time for me to decompress after a day of work and before I pick up the children. It did not take into the consideration that after a day filled with meetings, I may not have the mental energy to engage in any kind of conversation, even with a child.
The wonderful freezer meals that just needed to be popped in the crock pot – well, if I didn’t remember to take them out of the freezer to thaw the night before, we had to rely on something else quick and easy.
And forget reading a whole book before bed – I was usually the one who was nodding off mid-way through the book.
I’ve since come to terms with the fact that home-made meals from scratch are a rare thing in my house. There is no cleaning schedule to follow, nor is there a carefully planned reading list to account for reading levels and including classic literature.
What I do have is children who love to play outside while I quickly toss something together for dinner, a “lived-in” house that is clean enough for friends and family, a new love for recorded chapter books on youtube, and tons of moments filled with laughter and memories.
My children are going to be just fine.