Returning to the Classroom after Maternity Leave

Suzanne DaileyBlog, Connect Better, Self Care Better, Survival, Teach Happier


  • Encouragement for any new teacher mom.
  • A letter, some love, and a game plan for returning to work.

It’s that time of the school year where some new mamas are preparing to head back to the classroom after a maternity leave. When I had my daughter, I often thought about the leave, but didn’t think much about the return. It was often a struggle to reconcile leaving my own child to teach other people’s children. It can be a challenging journey for a new mother’s mind and heart to navigate.

If you are trying to find words for someone making a “maternity return” to the classroom, especially after their first baby, I’d like to share a personalized version of some insights that my dear friend Beverly Keegan shared with me 10 years ago, and I still think of them almost every day. I have given this to many teachermama friends and colleagues when they return to the classroom, and I hope they can help you share perspective, empowerment, and even a little bit of joy to your colleague, friend, or sister.

You have total creative rights here – please personalize as you wish and share these words with anyone who needs to hear them. I put one note in each envelope (4 in total) with the headings written on the outside. This was the last one I sent to my friend Amy as she returned after having her daughter Ella.

Thank you for allowing me to honor Bev’s life by sharing her words. Since her passing 5 years ago, it brings me great joy to know her words continue to inspire and comfort others.

With love, fellow Teachermamas,


YOU get to define what this journey means to you and your family. YOU get to choose how this goes. We are mamas now and we can do hard things. Click To Tweet

To be read the night before…

Dear Amy,

Ok, here we are.   The night before you head back to work full time, and I am honored to share with you some words of wisdom that were shared with me before I headed back. These words help me every day, and I hope they help you too.

Amy, it is not going to get harder than this night. Why? Because this is all new. You’ve never done the whole working mom thing before, and sweet Ella hasn’t either. But you have to be brave. And being brave is a choice. Being a brave mama means living through example. You are showing Ella that one day too, she can have it all – go to school, work hard, and have the job of her dreams. Meet someone, fall in love, and have the partner of her dreams, and then have the child of her dreams. You aren’t just telling her she can have it all.

You’re showing her.

And what is more empowering than that?

There will be days you’ll want to stay home, days you’ll want to bury your face in her neck and cry, days you want to apologize for working or wanting to see your girlfriends, or wishing to have alone time with Terry or wanting to just have a little time just to be. Don’t apologize. Do not be sorry for having it all. Instead, tell her you love your work, you love your friends, you love your husband, and you love the life you’ve built for yourself. After all, isn’t that exactly what you want for her one day?

So get some rest and repeat your mantra: Be Kind. Be Brave. Rest. Try Again.

I’m so proud of you,


To be read the Morning of…

Here we are, sister. Day 1. The bad news is this is going to be a rough morning. But the good news? It is never going to get harder than this day. I promise you. So give yourself permission to cry on the way to work. Be brave and know that you are living by example for sweet Ella. Think of it as Amy 2.0. YOU get to define what this journey means to you and your family. YOU get to choose how this goes. We are mamas now and we can do hard things.

2.0! 2.0! 2.0!!!!!

Break In Case of Emergency:


To hang in your Classroom:

(I like to make this a big sign on 11×17 paper)



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Suzanne Dailey is proud member of the Teach Better Family! She is an instructional coach in the Central Bucks School District where she has the honor and joy of working with elementary teachers and students in 15 buildings. Suzanne is Nationally Board Certified, a Fellow of the National Writing Project, and has a Masters Degree in Reading. She is dedicated to nurturing and developing the whole child and teacher. Suzanne lives in Doylestown, Pennsylvania with her husband and two children.