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I have recently gone back to work after a year maternity leave with my son. (Thank you Canadian maternity leave laws!)  Returning to work after children is a whole new world. Forget everything you think you know about being a working adult. (Though that was bound to happen anyway after a year at home with a baby.) I have enjoyed being back at work, but five minutes into my first day back, I realized that I completely forgot how to act like a normal adult. 

Here are just some of the things I forgot how to do normally after my maternity leave:

Eat

At home with my baby I mostly stuffed food into my mouth absently. Then as he got older, I had to eat at the speed of light before he noticed what I was eating and tried to take it. I ate while multi-tasking, I ate while hiding in a closet. I ate scraps off his highchair tray while he clung to my legs. 

Then I got to work and I realized that I had no idea how to eat like a normal human being. I had so many questions! First, how do I use these utensil things? Why is food so hot? Do I have to share any of this? Am I eating too fast? Too slow? Is this bite too big? Oops. Yes, yes it is. Now I have food on my face. Do I wipe it with my sleeve? Oh no, apparently not. Now people are staring. How did I used to do this???

Walk

While at home with my son, I basically had two speeds: “Glacially slow” and “quick, we’re late!”. When I got back to work I realized that most people walk at a speed somewhere in between these two extremes. I however, had forgotten that a middle speed exists. So I find myself walking at toddler speed, realizing this is too slow and then overcompensating by speeding up to a sprint. Wait, how are all these other people walking so naturally? How do they regulate their speed so easily? Is there a YouTube video for this?

Talk to Adults (Those are the big humans, right?)

While at home I mostly had conversations with family or other moms relating to my child. We covered such scintillating topics as nap schedules, poop, kid’s music and starting solid food. I have absolutely no idea what happened in the outside world during this time. Wait, you guys elected who?? 

Anyway, when I rejoined the workforce, I had almost nothing to talk about. What did I used to talk about? I can’t remember! I definitely had conversations. I’m pretty sure that at least a few were about something interesting, but I have no idea what those things were. It’s funny that I spent most of my maternity leave wishing I could talk to adults, but now that is has happened, I’m at a loss for words. 

Dress 

I spent most of my maternity leave wearing leggings. I didn’t have to worry about sizes or buttons or belts. I was comfortable and had full range of motion. It was glorious.

Now, upon returning to work, I am told that leggings are not business casual. What?! I know, I couldn’t believe it either. Also, did you know that there are rules about matching colors and patterns? I had definitely forgotten this part. Apparently I can’t just toss on any item of clothing that appears clean and call it an outfit. Who knew? Not me. I’ve been at home singing about farm animals.

Yes, my friends, the working world is a whole new place once you’ve had a child. Sure, it’s confusing and less comfortable, but at least there are bathroom breaks alone.

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Liz Parker-Cook

Liz is a mother of three children under four and has the dark circles under her eyes to prove it. She is also a high school music teacher, which is much louder than parenting but has much fewer dirty diapers. When she gets any time to herself she writes on her blog: Newbiemomsite.com. She lives in Toronto with her husband, children, and dog. 

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