Third Time is....not the Charm

Spoiler alert: leaving your baby to go back to work after an amazing maternity leave isn't any easier the third time around.  In fact, it may just be a tad harder.  Because not only is this the end of this maternity leave but also the end of my maternity leave forever.  No more babies.  No more coming home from the hospital.  No more day-old baby snuggles.  No more newbornness.  This is it - my life from this point forward.  Rhett is growing and it's time to return to the real world.  So as I did with the other two, I wanted to write him a letter on this emotional day.

Dear Rhett,

Today is my first day back to work after almost 12 incredible weeks with you.  I have been dreading it for weeks.  Rather, since I learned of your existence one year ago next month.  In November, February 21 seemed like it was eons away.  I should have known better.  I wish I could say it gets easier, but it just doesn't.  You are my forever baby and it pains me so much to have to leave you and this special time we've shared.  I know my days back at work are going to fly, but that's part of the reason this is so difficult.  Before I know it, you are going to be six months old, and crawling, and then one, and walking.  If only I could hold onto this stage for a tad bit longer, I would do it in a heartbeat.  

We've shared so many days, just the two of us, and for that I will be forever grateful.  I'm convinced that this maternity leave was my best yet.  It came at the best possible time of year.  I was home for the holidays and got to enjoy that extra holiday magic with a newborn in the house.  But then my maternity leave extended into what seemed to be the first few weeks of spring (it's been a mild February!), and we got to enjoy some time outside and plenty of walks around the neighborhood, as well.  I got to see your first smiles and witness you morph from an itty bitty newborn to a still little, but very interactive, happy baby.  At 2.5 months old, you are the youngest I've ever sent to daycare, but at the same time, these 12 weeks have been a gift and one I am truly thankful for.

Of course, there's a small part of me excited to return to work.  For the first time ever, I'm returning to students I already know...the same ones I left just three months ago...and I know they will be overjoyed to have me back.  I'm sure it will be a very warm welcome on my part, but nothing--I repeat nothing--beats your smiles and the sweet moments we have shared.

When I do get sad about returning, I remind myself that Spring Break is just three short weeks away.  And then summer just nine weeks later.  I live for summer and I can't wait to spend these upcoming summer days with you and your brothers.

After three babies, this may not get any easier, but after three babies, I still don't want to stay home full time.  I know there are moms out there who would die for the opportunity, but I am not one of them.  I get to pretend in the summers and that is just perfect.  On the flip side, you are going to love daycare and your new friends.  Ms. Stephanie is the best and you are going to grow to love her just as she loves you!  And, let's not forget, your big brothers are ecstatic about having you join them!

I have no doubt that you are going to be okay.  And I will, as well, once I adjust.  It's just so hard for me to say goodbye to my maternity leave(s).  Especially this one.  You are our last baby and I am never going to have a time in my life like this again, which makes it all the more painful.  There have been tears...and there will be more, I'm sure, but I've done it twice and I can do it again.

As sad as I am to be closing this chapter of my life, I know we are all going to thrive in this new routine of ours.  My maternity leave has been perfect beyond words, but I also know the best is yet to come!

Love you so much, Rhett Kauffman, and thank you for giving me 12 amazing weeks off!



  1. Awww...I hope today goes ok for you both!

  2. Such an emotional day I am sure! But you have the best attitude... three weeks and then nine weeks... you will be home for summer soon enough!

  3. Thinking of you today! Hope the time passes quickly!

  4. This gives me ALL the feels - because I can relate to it SO MUCH!!!!! Leaving them is seriously the hardest thing I've ever had to do in my life (and I get a little sad every day), but I always try to remind myself that when my kids are older, being a teacher is going to be the best working mom schedule I could ever have. And the BEST PART - as teachers we get a second maternity leave EVERY SUMMER!!!!!!!!!! We are always looking forward to another one.

    Hugs mama, you will be holding your boys before you know it! XO

  5. Bless you lady. That first day is always the hardest. Even if you do cry dont feel guilty. Thinking of you.

  6. It really was harder for me coming back to work this time knowing Maci is my last baby. But I'm also with you on not wanting to stay home full time. It's so, so hard. Enjoy every little snuggle with that sweet baby as soon as you get home today. Thinking of you - hugs!!

  7. Dang it, your spoiler alert should have read: prepare for tears, tissue needed.
    I hope your first day back was as smooth sailing as possible for everyone!

  8. I hope you had a good day back. I'm with you on knowing I couldn't be a stay at home mom.

  9. Such a sweet letter and I found myself nodding alot while reading it. It is so hard knowing all that stuff is over, unlike you though, I just keep living in denial LOL. I wish I had a grasp on the fact that we are done but I just can't come to it, meanwhile my kids are growing before my eyes and I am in the next season without even realizing it was coming. Why can't we just hit a re-set button every once in a while to go back to the times when they were tiny babies! Enjoy being back at work, I know it's nice to have that break!

  10. Oh goodness friend. All the tears over here. This is such a sweet letter to Rhett!
    I'm so happy to hear that your first day back went so well! Just think, in a few short months, you get to be back home with your babies! xo

  11. Oh jeez. So many tears. This is my last pregnancy as well and it will be my last maternity leave and I am already feeling all of the feels.

  12. Cue the waterworks! You're such a great mama and your kids are so lucky to have you! <3

  13. It is so bittersweet to realize that it's the last time. XOXO I hope the transition is going well for you both.