How we coped with the end of maternity leave with an 8-week-old baby

Now I've been back at work after my maternity leave for almost two months.  In a way, it's been easier than I had imagined, but it's still hard.  For the first seven weeks I was still on maternity leave and the time flew by pretty quickly.


How We Coped With The End Of Maternity Leave With An 8-Week-Old Baby


Maternity leave in Mexico 


In Mexico, maternity leave lasts for 84 days, usually half of this time is taken before the birth and the other half after.  You can postpone the start of your maternity leave to have more time with your newborn baby and less time before the birth if their are no high risk factors involved and your doctor gives his or her approval.

There is normally no such thing as paternity leave and maternity leave only applies if your employer has registered you with the Seguro Social and is paying contributions based on your paycheck.  If you are paid by the hour or working "informally" (still a pretty common situation here) and so no one is paying Seguro Social contributions for you or taxes, then you are not eligible for maternity leave.  If you are self-employed then the same thing applies.  When I had Emma I was giving private classes on a self-employed basis, so I had no maternity leave at all.  I kept teaching right up until the day before Emma was born!  But I also had no obligation to return to work at a fixed time.

This time round my situation is quite different.  I was planning to postpone the start of my maternity leave in order to have more time with the baby.  In the end, however, I was feeling quite tired, I had a horrible cough that wouldn't go away, I work in a kindergarten with small
children which is not a sitting down job and it was the end of November with cases of
influenza going round the school and I thought it was better not to put myself and the baby
at risk.  My commute to and from work was probably the most tiring part since I don't have
my own transport it involved getting rides with colleagues but also walking a short distance
and taking buses.  I had to leave the house at 6 am in the freezing cold and would get home
around 4 pm sweltering in the afternoon heat.  No wonder I couldn't get rid of the cough!

I started my maternity leave on November 27th, Alexander was born on December 26th and my maternity leave ended on February 19th, when he was still not even two months old.

You can read more about the end of my pregnancy and Alexander's birth story here. 


In Mexico you get a "lactation permit" until your baby is six months old which means you can either arrive at work an hour later or leave an hour earlier.  I chose to leave earlier in the afternoon so at the moment I finish work at 2 pm instead of 3 pm.  It does make a difference.


How We Coped With The End Of Maternity Leave With An 8-Week-Old Baby - Image Shows Baby Sucking His Thumb


The logistics of going back to work when you have a newborn baby


There are free nurseries or childcare centres in Mexico, run by the Seguro Social, which accept very young babies so that their mothers can go back to work after their maternity leave ends.  If you are eligible for Seguro Social healthcare then you also have the right to free childcare.  Generally the quality of these childcare centers is very good, safety regulations are pretty stringent, the children are fed breakfast, a mid-morning snack and lunch and the meals are healthy and nutritious.  This is what I've been told, so it is a good option.  I have colleagues whose children are or were in Seguro Social nurseries and their experience was good.

However, Eduardo felt that Alexander was still too young to go to daycare - only eight weeks old is so little - and didn't want to take this option, at least not yet.  He decided he was going to look after the baby in the mornings while I'm at work.   He has his own business and his work is mostly at weekends; during the week he works from home and can organise his time around looking Alexander's needs, and Emma's too as he has to take her to and from school.

So for the past almost two months, Alexander has been taken care of by his daddy in the mornings and by me in the afternoons.


How We Coped With The End Of Maternity Leave With An 8-Week-Old Baby - Image Shows Baby Lying In Cot Wearing A Superman Bandana Bib


My point of view on leaving my baby to return to work 


I'm lucky that I have Eduardo's support and that he is willing to make the commitment to care for our son and enable me to return to work.  Becoming a stay-at-home mum was not really an option for me anyway, as we need my income too; we would definitely struggle without it.  I do really enjoy my job, I work with little kids who are wonderful and my colleagues are lovely too.  I think it's good for me in many ways to go to work, to be in a demanding but very positive environment.  It helps to boost my self-esteem and provide me with some kind of balance, an opportunity to be in a different place, see and talk to different people, face different challenges.  It's more difficult to be at home all day everyday.

Having said that, it is tiring.  I have to leave the house before 6.30am every day.  The afternoons at home are definitely more demanding and tiring than the mornings at work; the time seems to rush by and I'm trying to fit everything in that needs to be done.  Dinner for everyone, Emma's homework which she needs supervision and help with, feeding, burping, changing Alexander at approximately three-hour intervals (who apparently cries more with me than with his daddy and wants to be held more.  I guess that's understandable.), baths, bedtime routine, a story. Not to mention the washing up, making mine and Emma's school lunches for the next day, running to the shop across the road for indispensable things like milk, bread, fruit or nappies that I've just realized we've run out of.  Don't even mention cleaning the house - that's not going to happen.

Then I feel guilty sometimes that I'm short-changing my baby, that I'm not spending enough time with him.  Maybe he needs more attention, maybe I should do more stimulation-type activities with him.  But then I also feel that Emma also needs more of my attention too, at least a little time to do something together every day; play, read a story, do an activity, or just talk.  It's just a matter of organising my time and priorities better, I guess.


How We Coped With The End Of Maternity Leave With An 8-Week-Old Baby - Image Shows Big Sister With Baby Brother Looking Up At Her From His Bassinet Crib

Big sister's point of view 


Emma just says she misses me when I'm at work but doesn't cry any more.  She's referring to when she used to cry most mornings before kindergarten - that was last year.  She's used to me going out to work as I've been in my current job since she was five months old, but while I was still on maternity leave it was nice to be able to be there in the mornings to get her ready for school and to be there when she got home from school too.


What the future holds


I don't know what we're going to do, but I don't think things will stay the same.  Eduardo also needs to be able to work during weekdays so maybe in a few months time taking Alexander to daycare might be an option.  

And I don't think that's a bad thing at all.  
The extra stimulation and opportunity to "socialise" with other babies would probably be good for his development and help him adapt more easily when he starts preschool.  Emma never went to daycare and had a really hard time in her first year of kindergarten, she cried most mornings and didn't want to go to school.

I think that's the most likely scenario for the near future - I will keep you updated on how our situation changes over the next few months.


How We Coped With The End Of Maternity Leave With An 8-Week-Old Baby - Image Shows Family Selfie Dad, Mum, Big Sister And Baby Brother Sitting At A Restaurant Table


How did/ do/ would you feel about going back to work after maternity leave?  Would you consider daycare for your baby?  

Want to read more?  Here is my last update about baby's first seven weeks.  Look out for baby's four month update coming soon!

I'd love to hear your stories and your opinions on our story.  Please leave a comment and share this post if you enjoyed it.


How We Coped With The End Of Maternity Leave With An 8-Week-Old Baby





6 Comments

  1. It must be so hard. I got two weeks off but at least I knew that when I was at work he was with my wife. Thanks so much for linking up at #KCACOLS. Hope you come back again next time.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Wow I can't imagine how difficult that is going back after 8 weeks! And no paternity leave either?! LOVE the idea of a lactation permit though haha #KCACOLS

    ReplyDelete
  3. Wow. I can't imagine. I know it must be so hard. He is so adorable! I love his hair!! So cute! #KCACOLS

    ReplyDelete
  4. I think there's always something to feel guilty about - if you don't go back to work then it's easy to feel guilty about that too. glad you've figured out how to make things work for you and yours. #kcacols

    ReplyDelete
  5. Lovely to read this update from you, Ruth! Alexander is too cute (as is Emma of course, still)! How brilliant of your husband to put his children first, that's really great to hear. I wouldn't have liked to leave a young baby in the care of others.
    I actually thought it was hard enough when our boy started his first kindergarten, and he was over a year old then. After a few months we took him back out of there, and my hubby stayed at home with him. He then started in a different kindy when he was about 3 years old, and that was a lovely place, with a small group in a home-like environment, very cosy.
    However things go, it seems like life will always be about choosing between compromises, doesn't it? xx #KCACOLS

    ReplyDelete
  6. I went back to work nine weeks after number two was born so I know how you feel - he's gorgeous by the way, congratulations x #KCACOLS

    ReplyDelete