A C-section, 8 weeks of mat leave + a new baby later, I’m back at work

Last week I went back to work. After eight weeks of maternity leave, a C-section and a brand new baby, I had to return to the real world. I had to put away my over-sized sweat pants and ratty t-shirts. I had to get my dress clothes out from the back of the closet. I had to find my makeup and hair dryer. I had to start taking showers regularly. I had to pull it together.

It was intense and I learned A LOT about myself in that first week back:

Going back to work is very emotional

I thought that pregnancy and a C-section were hard. But then I went from spending every waking moment taking care of my tiny baby boy to actually having to take care of and think of me. I definitely shed a tear or two. I worried that I was going back too soon.


But, you know what? It was really nice.

It made me feel like the old me again. The me that sort of had her stuff together and left the house with a bra on. I successfully emerged from the dark hole of new baby survival mode. I was a human again. A functioning human that wore real shoes and outfits that matched.

Exhaustion is real

I missed eight weeks of work. My first day back I had over 400 emails. I spent my first week catching up, responding to emails, taking phone calls, attending meetings and trying to squeeze in a lunch break.

By the time I got home each night I was so exhausted I didn't know which way was up. But then I had to revert back into mom mode and play, snuggle, bathe the babies, read bedtime stories and get everything ready for the next day. By the time both kids were in bed I thought I was going to fall asleep standing up. There was no energy left to even catch up on Project Runway. I was in bed by 9 pm each night.

A few times I sat there and wondered if this is what my new normal will be. Will I always be this exhausted? I don't have the answer to that yet but I'm praying it gets easier week by week.

I shouldn't feel guilty for working full time

My first week back to work was absolutely insane. But I loved it. I enjoyed myself. I talked to people that could actually talk back to me. The truth is, I love to work and I'm good at it. It felt amazing to do something I excel at again. I felt like an adult. I felt like myself again. I know that I might miss lunches with my kids and a field trip or two, but that's okay. I have to do what is best for me sometimes.

I'm kind of amazing

I can juggle being a mom of two little boys and working full time like a freaking champ. It's not easy. But I did it. And I just proved that I can be a mom and an awesome career woman at the same time. You don't have to pick one or the other. Because you know what happened? BOTH of my kids got pink eye on Monday and Tuesday of my first week back. BOTH! Seriously?

But in between sending emails, taking phone calls and attending meetings, I managed to make sure they were both picked up by the sitter, taken to the doctor, got their prescriptions filled, and taken care of until I could pick them up later in the day and give them hugs and kisses while still keeping a safe distance from their swollen, gooey eyes. #MomWin

I am deserving of grace

Moms make mistakes. No one is perfect. Besides sending both my kids to the babysitter with pink eye, I also made other errors.

I forgot to pack a pacifier in the diaper bag for my newborn.

I sat through an hour of a meeting before realizing I had baby poop on my hand.

I fed my toddler expired yogurt.

I wore two different shoes to work one day.

I don't think I had an actual conversation with my husband all week.

I left an important bill in my car for five days instead of mailing it.

I drank so much caffeine to stay awake that I could have picked up a car.

But you know what? We are all still alive. No one got food poisoning or lost an appendage. My husband realized my life had been insane. And I granted myself some grace. Because I deserved it.

What a week. I have come to realize that I really underestimate myself sometimes. I am capable of so much. I can be a mom, a career woman, a housekeeper, a chauffeur and juggle a million other balls.

Don't ever underestimate yourself. Because you are a bad ass too. You can do this. You might think you can't. You can cry. You can cuss. But you can do it. Because you are a mom and moms get it done.

In This Article

    14 Toys that will keep your kids entertained inside *and* outside

    They transition seamlessly for indoor play.

    With Labor day weekend in the rearview and back-to-school in full swing, most parents are fresh out of boxes to check on their "Fun Concierge" hit list. It's also the point of diminishing returns on investing in summer-only toys. So with that in mind, we've rounded up some of our favorite toys that are not only built to last but will easily make the transition from outdoor to indoor play. Even better, they're Montessori-friendly and largely open-ended so your kids can get a ton of use out of them.

    From sunny backyard afternoons to rainy mornings stuck inside, these toys are sure to keep little ones engaged and entertained.

    Meadow ring toss game

    Plan Toys meadow ring toss game

    Besides offering a fantastic opportunity to hone focus, coordination, determination and taking turns, lawn games are just plain fun. Set them up close together for the littles and spread them out when Mom and Dad get in on the action. With their low profile and rope rings, they're great for indoors as well.


    Balance board

    Plan Toys balance board

    Balance boards are a fabulous way to get the wiggles out. This one comes with a rope attachment, making it suitable for even the youngest wigglers. From practicing their balance and building core strength to working on skills that translate to skateboarding and snowboarding, it's a year-round physical activity that's easy to bring inside and use between Zoom classes, too!


    Detective set

    Plan Toys detective setDetective Set

    This set has everything your little detective needs to solve whatever mystery they might encounter: an eye glasses, walkie-talkie, camera, a red lens, a periscope and a bag. Neighborhood watch? Watch out.


    Wooden doll stroller

    Janod wooden doll strollerWooden Doll Stroller

    Take their charges on a stroll around the block with this classic doll stroller. With the same versatility they're used to in their own ride, this heirloom quality carriage allows their doll or stuffy to face them or face the world.


    Sand play set

    Plan Toys sand set

    Whether you're hitting the beach or the backyard sandbox, this adorable wooden sand set is ready for action. Each scoop has an embossed pattern that's perfect for sand stamping. They're also totally suitable for water play in the wild or the bathtub.


    Water play set

    Plan Toys water play set

    Filled with sand or water, this tabletop sized activity set keeps little ones busy, quiet and happy. (A mama's ideal trifecta 😉). It's big enough to satisfy their play needs but not so big it's going to flood your floors if you bring the fun inside on a rainy day.


    Mini golf set

    Plan Toys mini golf set

    Fore! This mini golf set is lawn and living room ready. Set up a backyard competition or incorporate into homeschooling brain breaks that shift focus and build concentration.


    Vintage scooter balance bike

    Janod retro scooter balance bike

    Pedals are so 2010. Balance bikes are the way to go for learning to ride a bike while skipping the training wheels stage altogether. This impossibly cool retro scooter-style is built to cruise the neighborhood or open indoor space as they're learning.


    Wooden rocking pegasus

    plan toys wooden rocking pegasus

    Your little will be ready to take flight on this fun pegasus. It gently rocks back and forth, but doesn't skimp on safety—its winged saddle, footrests and backrest ensure kids won't fall off whether they're rocking inside or outside.


    Croquet set

    Plan Toys croquet set

    The cutest croquet set we've ever seen! With adorable animal face wooden balls and a canvas bag for easy clean up, it's also crafted to stick around awhile. Round after round, it's great for teaching kiddos math and problem-solving skills as well.


    Wooden digital camera

    fathers factory wooden digital camera

    Kids get the chance to assemble the camera on their own then can adventure anywhere to capture the best moments. With two detachable magnetic lenses, four built-in filters and video recorder, your little photographer can tap into their creativity from summertime to the holidays.


    Wooden bulldozer toy

    plan toys wooden bulldozer toy

    Whether they're digging up sand in the backyad or picking up toys inside, kids can get as creative as they want picking up and moving things around. Even better? Its wooden structure means it's not an eye sore to look at wherever your digger drops it.


    Pull-along hippo

    janod toys pull along hippo toy

    There's just something so fun about a classic pull-along toy and we love that they seamlessly transition between indoor and outdoor play. Crafted from solid cherry and beechwood, it's tough enough to endure outdoor spaces your toddler takes it on.


    Baby forest fox ride-on

    janod toys baby fox ride on

    Toddlers will love zooming around on this fox ride-on, and it's a great transition toy into traditional balance bikes. If you take it for a driveway adventure, simply use a damp cloth to wipe down the wheels before bringing back inside.


    We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.


    Sorry, you can’t meet our baby yet

    Thank you for understanding. ❤️

    In just over three weeks, we will become parents. From then on, our hearts will live outside of our bodies. We will finally understand what everyone tells you about bringing a child into the world.

    Lately, the range of emotions and hormones has left me feeling nothing short of my new favorite mom word, "hormotional." I'm sure that's normal though, and something most people start to feel as everything suddenly becomes real.

    Our bags are mostly packed, diaper bag ready, and birth plan in place. Now it's essentially a waiting game. We're finishing up our online childbirth classes which I must say are quite informational and sometimes entertaining. But in between the waiting and the classes, we've had to think about how we're going to handle life after baby's birth.


    I don't mean thinking and planning about the lack of sleep, feeding schedule, or just the overall changes a new baby is going to bring. I'm talking about how we're going to handle excited family members and friends who've waited just as long as we have to meet our child. That sentence sounds so bizarre, right? How we're going to handle family and friends? That sentence shouldn't even have to exist.

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    The second any new parent lays their eyes on their newborn baby, their thoughts probably go to how the baby is going to set the world on fire with their energy, charisma and passion. As the years go by, you may refer to your little one as a firecracker because of their witty and spunky personality, or you may be taken aback (in the best way possible) by how their infectious personality catches onto any room like a flame.

    Perhaps you or your partner has taken on a life of service as a firefighter, and are heavily inspired by the word fire, or maybe it's a word with a different personal meaning that ignites your spirit. The word fire can stand for a lot of things, including warmth, light and exciting. Maybe you see your child as the flame that will continue to carry on your family's legacy. Whatever reason you may want to give your child a name that means fire, it's up to you, and there are dozens of options to make your dreams come true.

    So go ahead and peruse this list for 100 ideas for baby names that mean fire.

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