Five Phases of Going Back to Work

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Going back to work. That is the phrase that sends us stay-at-home moms to bed with cold sweats. I became a stay-at-home mom after the birth of my first born, and while I didn’t love every minute of it, I did figure out that being a SAHM was probably one of the best jobs I’ve ever had. I mean, I got to watch my kids grow into these tiny little almost-adults and be a part of their everyday lives in a way I couldn’t have had I been working. Not that working moms miss much…more, the things I didn’t miss will always stick with me. Always. Still. As my kids are pretty much old enough to not need me at home all day, being at home was getting boring. I mean, like super boring. So rather than sitting around the empty house twiddling my thumbs, I decided to (shiver) go back to work.

five phases of going back to work

Five Phases Of Going Back To Work

Denial: What will they do without me?

If I get, like, a real job…my household will fall apart. The kitchen will never be clean again, the laundry won’t get done and the kids will subsist on Cheetos and chocolate milk. And speaking of kids…who will handle shuffling them from one place to the next and get them there on time? Who will make sure they aren’t walking home with the pot heads or being stalked by a pedo?

Get a grip. You aren’t the only parent who’s ever worked. In fact most do and go on to raise happy, well-rounded adults. So let it go and allow Karma to do her thing.

Remember how you used to help the working and otherwise spread-thin moms? Call on your village, or Mommy Mafia, as I like to refer to it, to help out. Other than that, it’s long past time Johnny learned how to load the dishwasher or Janie to sweep a floor. Give the kids more responsibility. You’ll be surprised at what they’re capable of. Your family will survive without you.

Purge: Out with the old, make room for the new

The interview is over and your start date is only days away. Time to take a good look at the old wardrobe.

The first thing I did when I quit my corporate job eleven years ago was purge. I bagged up my suits and had a pantyhose burning party. Wasn’t a bad idea to repeat the ritual in reverse. But as I embarked upon my new employment adventure, I had better sense than to burn my yogas (Athleta ain’t cheap, ya’ll). But was there really not a single shirt in my closet not stained by paint/snot/wine? Or maybe that was someone else’s nose bleed. If you just can’t bear to rid yourself of memories, grab the nearest 12 yr old girl. Offer to pay her in street cred when she’s finally not ashamed to be seen in public with you in your glorious new clothes.

closet nazi

The Honeymoon 

You can’t believe how supportive your family is! You come home to a clean house with all the laundry folded. Then shit hits the fan when your ten year old discovers no one remembered to shop for toilet paper. Since your added income affords golf lessons that now take priority over pretty much everything, the family will settle down and adjust. Grudgingly.

Heels Are For the Young and Stupid

Like any girl, I like cute shoes. Like any vertically challenged girl, the higher the heel the better. Like most people over 35 who’ve led an active life, I have back problems. Get over yourself and learn to love sensible shoes.

It Feels Like You Never Left

Whether you’re returning to your old job or embarking on a brand new adventure, office politics are the same wherever you go. It may take an adjustment period, but after a few weeks you’ll settle into the job like you would a familiar old sweater. Or straight jacket. Whatever the case may be.

All in all, this is going to be an adjustment. Whether you’re going back after just having a baby, or back after your babies are a little grown, things are going to change. And change is scary, yo. But change can also be great. Just remember that taking chances and trying new things will show your kids that they, too, can take chances and try new things. So even if you really would prefer to stay at home in an empty home while the kids go on to live their semi-gown lives, going back to work truly isn’t the worst thing eve. You might even find out you like it…after you’ve bought more comfortable heels, that is.

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