12 weeks {of Maternity Leave}

Rosie is 12 weeks old today, and it also marks the beginning of my 12th week of maternity leave.  I said after Patrick was born (and it worked out that I went back to work right after he turned 12 weeks old) I would never ever take less than 12 weeks of maternity leave.  This is what I'm allowed legally by FMLA, and even if I had to get docked in pay for most of it, I'd still take the full 12 weeks.

Well, as 12 weeks has come (far too quickly, if you ask me!) with my second kiddo, I can most definitely echo that sentiment: 12 weeks (or more!  I'd take TONS MORE if I could get them!  Ha!) is the absolute earliest I will go back to work (in person, not working remotely as I did for the first 6 weeks of my maternity leave) after having a kiddo.  There is no way I was ready to go back to work at 8 weeks (when c-section mamas are officially cleared to return), and only in the past few days have I thought, "Okay, we're in a pretty good routine right now, Rosie is sleeping oh-so-good both at night and for a nap during the day, I could go back to work." 

12 weeks really is the ideal time for me to go back to work.  And next week I will be back at work for 2 weeks getting some tech stuff done and ready for the school year to start, then off for another 2 weeks, then back at it full time the first week in August.

Honestly, I cannot believe how fast these 12 weeks have gone.  I swear, I blinked, and BOOM.  Rosie is 12 weeks old (3 months next week!  WHAT?!!!) and I'm getting ready to go back to work.  It's bittersweet.  I love watching her grow up and learn new things and interact with her big brother, but I also am trying to savor the time I have been fortunate enough to have at home with both her and Patrick and really make as many memories as we can in the time we have together.

I would love to be able to stay home full time with both of these kiddos, but it's not in the financial cards for us right now.  And, truth be told, I do absolutely love my job and what I do with educational technology every day, which is why I feel so torn about going back to work!  I want to go back, because I love what I do, but I also hate the thought of going back because I won't get to spend every minute at home with my burritos anymore and that makes me sad.  GAHHHH!  Why is life so hard sometimes?!

Anyways, I just wanted to put in words for future Alex's sake that 12 weeks off is absolutely ideal.  If you can get more, awesome--but don't ever take less than 12, otherwise you'll regret it.  Until the US catches up to the rest of the world and gives better maternity leave and coverage, I'll be happy and content with the 12 glorious weeks I get off after I have a baby.

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