First off, I have to say that living in Canada we are SO LUCKY to be able to take 1 year off of maternity leave and receive a partial income for that year. For mommas in the U.S and other countries that aren't so fortunate, I have no idea how you cope!
Returning to work has been hard! I find the demands of my job and the demands of being a mother (and a wife) so difficult to juggle. Time for myself is very limited and sleep is basically unheard of.
Being a nursing mother returning to work has been easier than I anticipated. About 2 weeks into work I didn't pump on my lunch (I wasn't pumping for milk to feed...but just to comfort as H wouldn't drink BM from a bottle or cup. I ended up donating over 100 oz to a momma in need as it would have gone to waste otherwise. Pretty proud of that considering I struggled with low supply for so long), and I forgot to 'check' the girls to see if they were ok. When I did check, I had a clogged duct. It was brutal! I ended up taking a day off as I came down with a nasty cold too and went to a physio-therapist to receive therapeutic ultrasound on the clog. Luckily it drained and haven't had one since. *knock on wood* I've since given up that pumping session and now I can go the entire day without needing to express. It saddens me some as my supply isn't as plentiful as it once was, but I was assured last night by my LLL leaders that my body/boobs know what they are doing!
Coming home is an interesting endevour. H can be happily playing with her daddy and as soon as I walk in the door, she starts crying and whining until we nurse. The nursing session is a long one and she has a rather long period of cranky/clingyness before she starts playing again. I hate this. I wish she didn't have to make up for lost time. However, we are very fortunate to have an amazing sitter who loves H and H loves going to see her.
Food and cooking and cleaning have been a battle. I hate cooking. I wasn't a very good stay at home wife for the year I was off and didn't prepare meals on a regular basis. Now, it is a struggle. I try to ensure there is meat out each night so that we can do something for dinner. However we are still eating take-out on a regular basis. I wish we were more organized...but that just isn't the case. Many nights it isn't the cooking that is so daunting...but the cleanup.
H has been falling asleep on her own when daddy puts her to sleep. She still isn't sleeping through the entire night, but it has given me a new perspective. It is amazing to have a few hours to myself at night and be able to spend time with hubby. Unfortunately my insomnia has been HORRIFIC. Since returning to work I have had so little sleep and I think its because of the stress of work keeping me awake at night cause many times it isn't the baby.
Overall, we are coping. I wish I had heard more stories from people who returned to work when there babies were a bit older and how they coped. I miss being off SO MUCH. Hubby and I are officially in TTC land once again. I'm trying not to be obsessive - but its hard to not go down that road. Since I'm up for a lot of the night, I'm finding it hard to temp - but I hope to try again next month. Ideally we'd like to be pregnant in May/June. But we are trying now cause it took us awhile the last time around so we figure we wont waste any time! LOL