Thoughts on Going back to work

Earlier this month, I went back to work at the Montessori school where I taught before James was born.

I actually wrote out a whole post on my thoughts on going back to work a couple of days before I started, and then didn’t post it because the experience was so different from what I had expected.

I am so, so fortunate in that I was able to make the choice to stay home with James for over a year, which was 100% what I wanted to do.  I was actually planning to go back to work last September at the one year mark, but when I met with the head of my school, she could tell that I wasn’t ready.

I will be forever grateful that I got to spend those extra months at home.  I think the combination of James turning one and going back to work at the same time was making me too emotional.  It felt like too much of an ending.  I am super lucky to have a boss who is also a friend and who has been incredibly patient and understanding in working with me to find the right time to return to teaching, and the right schedule for me.

I knew I would be somewhat emotional about saying goodbye to James for the morning, but I was not that worried about him as he’s generally social and I know and trust his teachers.

You guys, it was so much harder than I thought it would be.  To be honest, I probably would have quit after the first two days if i didnt’ know and feel committed to the people I work with.

There were two things that made our first couple of weeks really hard:

1. Nap Transition

SO hard to keep him awake on the drive home so he gets a good nap….

James is used to taking two naps.  He is not one of those super adaptable babies who sleeps anywhere anytime.  He is a good sleeper, but he thrives on a schedule.  His class at school takes one nap, so that has been a big adjustment.

It’s not that they wouldn’t let him take his morning nap at school, more just that there is no way he would settle down to sleep while everyone else is playing.  We’re still working on the nap transition.

This weekend, he took great naps, but both Saturday and Sunday, that included a long nap at 9 AM.  So far, when we try for one mid-day nap, it is super short and then he won’t nap the rest of the day, so that is an ongoing challenge.  This largely explains my lack of blog posts….

2. Ear Infection

James had a minor cold when he started school, but we had just been to the doctor for his checkup and she said it was no big deal, so I wasn’t worried about it.  Well, that turned into an ear infection and he was pretty miserable.

He had never had an ear infection before (and really only ever had one minor cold), and I didn’t realize it right away.  He was acting different / crying more than usual, but I thought it was just because he was over-tired and having a lot of big feelings about the transition.

I still feel super bad about not noticing the ear infection right away, but it also felt like a huge weight was lifted when I realized he was sick.  I had really thought he was acting so miserable because of starting school, and I had never felt so much mom-guilt before.  Ever since he started antibiotics, he is back to his super happy self!

He now gets really excited when I tell him we’re going to school and mention his teachers’ names.  It makes me so happy and relieved that this was the right decision for our family.  Now if we can just get his new nap schedule figured out….any tips on the 2 to 1 nap transition are much appreciated 🙂

On the positive side, I have loved being back in the classroom!  Even more than I thought I would.

I am getting to teach with a great friend whom I really like and respect and am learning so much from her.  We also have a wonderful assistant, who I didn’t know before, but I am loving working with her as well.  It has been really fun to see how much the children have grown and matured in a year and to meet the new little ones.  I am also really looking forward to posting more Montessori-inspired things based on what we’re doing in the classroom.

I’ll be back later this week to share three things that helped change my perspective on this big transition!

How has your January been?

Are you good at handling change?  I am definitely not, I get a lot of anxiety about change and pretty much dread it.

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8 Comments

  1. Wow – what a transitional time for you! That is great that you are finding a balance between two things that you really love. I’m glad to see your posts again. 🙂

    I 100% agree with how you said you handle change – I am the same way. I am trying to be better with it, but anything that pushes me out of my routine typically makes me totally on-edge.

  2. Going back to work is such a hard transition! I spent the first couple days spontaneously crying and texting my mom, who was home with the baby. It got easier though. I am not great with change either, so I’m sure my anxiety made it more stressful. I’m glad you have such supportive colleagues!!

    1. Thank you! They really are the best 🙂 James and I both definitely did some crying the first few days, but this week seems to be going a lot better (fingers crossed…)

  3. Combining a change in schedule with any other change is super hard! You sound like you’ve been managing it pretty well, but I feel for you! Henry didn’t make the 1 nap transition until 20 months, but I know kids who did it at 10 months because that’s what their daycare did. I would recommend trying to keep the same schedule on the weekend, whatever he does during the week at school. Henry used to fall asleep in his lunch which is how I knew he wasn’t ready for the transition to 1 nap LOL. But if James is doing it 5 days a week at school, I’d recommend planning extra activities on the weekends to keep him up for a few weeks and see how he adjusts. Awesome you are enjoying being back in the classroom! What age are you working with?

    1. Thank you for the great advice!! Last weekend we just prioritized sleep – he napped SO much and this week has gone so much better. Starting this weekend though, I think we are going to stick to the one nap schedule because he seems to be adapting now, thank goodness. In hindsight, I wish I had tried to make the switch before we started school. I had kind of planned on it, but with all of the travel we did over the holidays, he was exhausted and seemed to need the morning nap still. I’m teaching 3-6 year olds and loving it! It’s fun to work with a different age group than my child – they say the funniest things lol 🙂

    1. Thank you so much! It really does help so much. I’ve thought a lot about how hard it must be to drop your child off with someone you don’t really know..it’s definitely given me lots of empathy for new parents at our school!

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