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15 Things Never to Say to New Moms Back From Maternity Leave

Katie Bugbee on November 19, 2014 12:24 PM

As any working mother can attest: Returning to your job after maternity leave is a huge adjustment. I just got back and live in fear of someone I love saying something dumb.

(Smile and nod, moms. Just smile and nod.) 

And while none of my colleagues have said any of the following (of course not, that’s why I love them!), these are the retorts all new moms would love to say back, if only we could.

What would you add?

  1. That went by so fast! Yup. In a New York (get no sleep, take no shower, something gross is in my hair) minute.

  2. How was your break? Great. Although I wouldn’t call giving birth and then spending 24 hours a day in a fog of feeding burping, swaying, crying and occasionally dozing off -- a “break.”

  3. Things went so smoothly. We barely knew you were gone. Cool. So can I go back on leave for a few extra weeks then?

  4. You’re so lucky – you got soooo much time off! It’s not a paid vacation. Google it. Even Iran has a better maternity leave policy than the US.

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  5. You look exhausted. I actually thought I was holding down “new Mom chic” quite nicely before this little chat.

  6. But I’m sure your daycare is fine. It is. Because I did hours of due diligence making sure it’s a safe, happy place for my kid. Did my MIL talk to you?

  7. There’s that Mommy Brain of yours! Don’t worry—it will come back. And it willtotally remember that you said that.

    Find out How HR Can Help New Parents Transition Back from Parental Leave

  8. I could never leave my kids with a stranger. Good for you. But our nanny is not a stranger. I’ve known her for a few days.

  9. What’s “pumping”?  Tubing, batteries, suction cups on your ta-ta’s—do you want me to keep going?

  10. Now you get to talk to grownups! Trust me, it’s not all it’s cracked up to be.

    Read about the Business Benefits of Paid Leave 

  11. Did you get new clothes? Yes, because I can’t fit into my old ones. Want to see pictures of my adorable pooch?

  12. It’s nice to have a break from being a mom sometimes, huh? Sorry, I was just thinking about the diapers I have to pick up on the way home, whether my baby is handling this transition, and if I remembered to send my oldest in with his permission slip —what was your question again?

  13. You’re almost back to your old size. Are you trying to make me cry?

  14. How could you leave the adorable face every day? Okay. Cryyyyyyingggg.

  15. I have about 15 projects waiting for you. Cool! Hand them over to me -- with a bottle of wine.

As I venture back into the work-life integration swing of things, I want to wish all my fellow working moms out there the best. I’ve done this two times before, and can assure you – it does get better. Home-life craziness settles into a groove and you find your place at work again. But it does take voicing your needs a little more – and a little louder. Good luck! 

Want to learn more about how your company can support new parents returning to work after paternity or maternity leave? Dowload our free ebook on Supporting New Parents at Work. 

Supporting new parents at work