I arrive at the doctor's office five minutes late. It seems that's par for the course when you have a baby. It takes a lot for me to get anywhere. Gone are the days where I can wake up, throw on some clothes, pull my hair in a ponytail, grab a quick bite, brush my teeth, and head out the door in fifteen minutes. Yes, I still throw on some clothes, throw my hair back, grab a bite (if I'm lucky), brush my teeth and head out the door... the difference is it now takes me two hours to do that. And then I still arrive late.

After I check in at the doctor's, I sit on a bench with my son in his car seat in front of me. As my leg lies over his carrier, I rest my head against the wall. My cold hasn't gotten better, but it also hasn't gotten worse, thankfully. I suddenly feel real pressure in my eyes. Before I know it, I somehow realize my mouth is open. I close it and my eyes follow behind. Suddenly, I wake up and grab my phone. Oh my gosh, it's 11:30. When are they calling me back?

I go to the front desk and ask how much longer. The lady tells me they are about to call me back. While I wait for my son's name to be called, I think about it... I must have fallen asleep and that's why I remember my mouth being open. What the heck?! I fell asleep for 40 minutes. Oh my gosh. Really?! Who falls asleep in the doctor's waiting room?

I knew I was tired, I just didn't know how tired I really was. No, I take that back. I am not tired. I'm exhausted. Then it hit me... BOOM! WOW... talk about a light bulb moment. That's why women don't go back to work for three months after having a baby. The child is a bit older, has more of a routine, and they have acclimated to their new situation. They have their days down pat. Six weeks is a joke, five weeks is insane.

Well not me. Five weeks was enough for me. I don't get paid if I don't work. I was originally only going to take off four, and five gave me an extra week. After all, that was four weeks of my being lazy and not doing anything. I'm thought I'd be getting cabin fever by that point. Then at three weeks, I thought I have to go back to work next week? Do I really want to? Maybe I'll just take another week.

So I did... I stayed off work five weeks. And yes, I know I was doing stuff. I was caring for my child. I was adjusting to my new life. I was getting very, very little sleep... so little that I wonder how people who get that little even manage to function. I guess that's why they don't work during that period. It's different... getting very few hours of sleep and sitting around the house all day compared to getting very few hours of sleep and then working for eight hours and somehow managing to stay sane just to do it all again the next day.

I now realize that it would have benefited me to stay out of work a few more weeks. Yes, I wouldn't have gotten paid for those weeks, but somehow my sanity is worth that monetary sacrifice. The thing is if you, my sister, or my best friend would have told me that I should have stayed home another month or even another week, I would have listened but not done it. Some things you just have to find out for yourself... and for me, this is one of them.

Because I thought I can do it. How difficult can it be? The baby is already here. I can go to work after five weeks off. I can be a single mom and work on the amount of sleep I used to get when taking a nap. I don't need anyone's help. I can do it all... and with a smile on my face.

I don't have anything to prove to anyone. I'm not even trying to prove something to myself. I'm not out to say "Look at me. I can do all of this." I went back to work, because I thought Why not? I don't want to keep spending my savings when I'm capable of working. I took enough time off.

But as I've found out in this whole experience (unplanned pregnancy, doing it alone, caring for a child), I don't know what I don't know. Yes, I need help, which has been the most difficult thing for me... Just my saying those four words, "I need your help," has been quite liberating... acknowledging to myself that I can't do it all. And that's perfectly okay. I am only one person doing the absolute best I can, because I won't allow myself to be anything less.

And yes, I'll admit, so maybe I didn't take enough time off. My advice to you--take as much time off as you can. Don't be in a rush to get return to work no matter how much you love your job. Your priority is not work; it's your child. Work will always be there.

Now with my cold and exhaustion it may be catching up to me. But what's done is done. I'm working, now I just have to adjust to it. Find a routine... and not only survive but thrive. I'm superwoman, supermom, wonder woman, and miracle worker all rolled into one. I'm Jessica Freaken Rector, and I can do it. Not that I have to prove that to anyone.

Author's Bio: 

As a single mom and founder of The Single Mom Movement, Jessica Rector knows how you are stressed but know there is more for you. With targeted private coaching, programs, and a school, single moms use her proven strategies to discover their empowered self. Do you feel like no one really understands how you feel? You're not alone. Join the club at http://TheSingleMomMovement.com/community Get FREE videos to Breathe Happiness. Be Fulfilled. Live Empowered! Sign up at http://TheSingleMomMovement.com