Like any good child of the ‘90s who’s now a working mom, I often find myself turning the events of my child’s day into Alanis Morissette lyrics: Isn’t it ironic… that you finally fell asleep right as the plane touched down? Isn’t it ironic... that you just spit up all of that milk that I missed a meeting to pump for you?
And my favorite, way back from the horror-filled night before I went back to work after maternity leave: Isn’t it ironic...that sleep training you was harder than labor but it worked (thanks to Daddy’s physically sitting on me to keep me from running in there), only now that you’re officially going seven straight hours in a row, I’m lying in bed. Wide awake. Panicked.
Please, new working mothers of America, if you are heading back to work soon, learn from my mistakes, and from the eternal wisdom that I gleaned (years too late, but oh, well) from the hundreds of moms I interviewed for my new book, The Fifth Trimester: The Working Mom’s Guide to Style, Sanity, and Big Success After Baby. These were CEO moms and police moms, and waitress moms, and lawyer moms, and while I don’t mean to competitive-complain on their behalf, many of these women had it far harder than I did: mere days of leave, clueless bosses, partners who were out of work, no partner at all. And yet: They made it through one of life’s hardest transitions still optimistic enough about overall human evolution to generously share what they’d learned. Behold, your bedtime reading so you sleep better on this, the night before the rest of your life: