New Mom Secret: I Pretended to Be Sad When Maternity Leave Ended

It's hard being a new mom (or even an experienced mom to a new baby) and sometimes we do things we know we shouldn't, despite what all the experts say. But this is a safe place to share your secrets (PM me) -- we'll never tell.

This Week's Secret:


All of my friends lamented going back to work after maternity leave so much that I dreaded the end of that three-month period throughout my entire pregnancy. I thought I would cry and be traumatized the first time I left my daughter with her nanny, but instead I was thrilled. So happy to get out of that house that felt like a prison. I loved getting dressed nice and making money and getting away from my baby all day. I trusted our nanny. I felt so bad about this that I pretended to be sad, even to my husband and friends. After all, what kind of mom is psyched to leave her baby? -- Anonymous

I was a stay-at-home mom for three years when I made the decision to go back to work last April. It wasn't a financial one.

Yes, my full-time employment means my children can go to a top preschool and we can take trips to Amsterdam and Israel and save money, but we could have lived without those things. The real reason I went back is because I wanted to.


Now, I quit my job in the first place because I couldn't imagine going back when my baby was so small, but that was my choice. You feel differently and that's OK.

Even then, I freelanced. I was happy to think of crayons, story hour, and singalongs, but I also needed a creative outlet for myself. It's really, really hard to be a stay-at-home mom and some women can handle it better than others.

It's totally possible to be happy at home with children. I know women who are very happy to do that, but I (and it sounds like you) am not one of them. And that's OK. I don't think anyone should make you feel badly about that.

I suspect we will hear a lot from women freaking out over putting a 3-month-old in daycare (or leaving them with a nanny), but that kind of judgment really only stems from extreme insecurity and a need to justify one's own decisions. Truly happy people who are content with their lives don't feel the need to make others feel bad.

Just remember that and try to be honest about how you feel. If you're happy, that's all that matters.

Do you have any advice for this woman?


Image via Keith Williamson/Flickr

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