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Michelle Noehren's picture

Taking care of my new baby girl Lillian for 10 weeks was a great experience, but it only reinforced my desire to go back to my career. I missed adult interaction and using my skills and talents. While I love my daughter more than anything in the world, I also missed the life I had before she was born. I craved normalcy.

I wasn’t sure how I would react going back to work. The night before dropping her off at daycare I barely slept. I had so many conflicting thoughts. Part of me felt bad about going back to my job. I would think about the fact that someone else would get to see her smiles and coos all day and that I’d likely miss many of her milestones. On the other hand, I’d think about all the cool things I do at my job and how much I looked forward to getting back to them. I didn’t know if I would cry every morning that first week back or if I would be OK. I’ve been quite surprised by my reaction.

What hasn’t surprised me is that I miss her all the time and when I’m driving to pick her up I feel like a kid waiting to open her Christmas gifts. I am so excited to see her, hold her and tell her I love her. What did surprise me was that I thought I’d feel more guilt for choosing to go back to work instead of being a stay-at-home mother, but honestly I don’t feel any at this point. What I do feel guilty about is not feeling guilty and that’s a perspective I haven’t heard much about.

So many people told me that it would take at least two weeks to feel better about leaving her in daycare. Many people said I’d cry when I dropped her off for the first time. I think because I heard those things so often I sort of expected to react that way but instead I loved being back at work and didn’t cry at all my first week back. I started to wonder if I was the only one that felt this way. No, no, no – I can’t be the only mother that is happy and guilt-free being back at work. Where are these women? Why don’t we hear about them?

Mothers are judged for every decision we make. If we stay home with our children we are judged. If we go back to our careers we are judged. And if we actually like being working mothers we face the presumption that we don’t like being moms. That couldn’t be farther from the truth. I love being a mom and I love my daughter more than I ever thought I could love someone, but I also don’t mind that someone else is attempting to feed her for an hour and a half at a time. I don’t miss changing poopy diapers all day. And you know what? That doesn’t make me a bad mom. I think that knowing what makes me happy in life and following that path makes me a better mother for my child because I’m happier all around.

I’m excited about my new role as a “working-mother” and wouldn’t have it any other way. Let’s be more honest with each other about our feelings of having both a career and a family. To all my fellow moms who drop their kids off at daycare every morning and don’t feel guilty about it, I say good for you! I completely understand.

How did you react when your child started daycare?

Originally posted on

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