Taking Maternity Leave (of your senses)?

So you're going on maternity leave, are you? As in, you plan on going back to work after having a baby? I congratulate you, on both your inner strength and emotional fortitude! You are proof that women can do anything they put their minds to. Having said that, here's a small suggestion: DON'T DO IT. It may rob you of every last baby-pregnancy-momma-brain cell you still possess!

I'm joking. Or half-joking. I'm not saying go have a baby and then never work again. Unless you can afford to do that, in which case no one would blame you if you quit, because of things like

But most people can't afford to be a stay at home mom these days. Or they don't want to be! However, hypothetically speaking, given the choice sometimes the benefits might outweigh the risks. For teachers especially, this is a consideration.

As someone who came back to a room full of students who had between 1 and 200 substitute teachers while I was gone, I can attest to the difficulty of this situation. Real honesty: it was really freaking hard. Note: this is not a slam on anyone! As a former sub, I do not blame the adults; I know firsthand how complicated classroom dynamics can be when authority shifts. Likewise I do not blame the students. Kids need consistency, and when that doesn't happen, it's kinda like:

To avoid mutiny, one must basically become a master Jedi at classroom management. And this is difficult. Emotionally, I felt absolutely fine upon my return to work last October. But, full disclosure, I ended up having a really hard time mentally. I forgot to bear in mind that things might not go as expected when considering a lack of any of the following:

  • Sleep
  • Experience
  • Hormone regulation
  • Brain cells

So I will share what I wish I had known last year, in the hopes that someone might find it helpful in their professional journey as a new mom:

  1. Adjust your expectations of your performance upon your return. Take it one day at a time and give yourself a break if things don't go as planned.
  2. Reflection is your friend, as always.
  3. Try to heighten your self-awareness and keep any negativity and stress on the other side of the fence.
  4. You are doing your best, and that is ALL you can ever do! (Repeat this mantra to yourself as many times per day as you need to).

My intention is not to scare you, or to assume things won't go absolutely perfectly in your case because maybe they will! I am merely aiming give you some coping mechanisms in case you end up needing them. If you are knocked up and planning to return to work mid-year, I fully support you and have faith in you!

OR (teachers listen up) you could plan your pregnancy so that you give birth at the END of the year! Yes, in order to maximize your positive teaching experiences and also safeguard your sanity, I recommend having a springtime baby. Now, I realize this is not always possible because THINGS HAPPEN.

But why not try and avoid the drama? I recommend using this fertility tool if you want to try and schedule with Mother Nature. It won't be long before we are all having designer cyborg babies via Matrix pods or experiencing immaculate conception or some other manifestation of a terrifying future, and then all worries about the inconvenience of babies+work will be passé.

For now though, there's an app for that. #girltalk

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