Can I tell you guys a secret (promise you won’t judge)?
Going back to work after the birth of my son wasn’t as scary and heart-breaking as I’d imagined it would be.
I must be a monster. 😉
Of course I have emotional days and have dealt with my fair share of challenges, but when I think back to the loneliness and anxiety I felt during my maternity leave, I realize that—even though I don’t have a choice at the moment (our finances dictate that I work)—being a working mom is good for me.
And I think it’s good for Bazooka, too.
Don’t get me wrong—I absolutely cherished those 12 weeks and the bonding and the snuggles and the smiles—but there were times where I felt absolutely trapped in my own home.
I feel like, no matter what a mother chooses (100% stay at home, working part-time, working from home, or full-time climbing the corporate ladder…), there are going to be comparisons, doubt, and that dreaded “g-word,” guilt.
We are judged if we don’t contribute financially, and yet we are looked down upon if we only see our children a few hours a day.
Our kids will fall behind if we are not home to teach them their ABCs and 123s, and yet, if we don’t let them spend some time in daycare, they’ll lack social skills and become too attached and needy.
If we go back to work before our children are in pre-school, we’re being selfish, yet if we do spend 24 hours nurturing and keeping up the home, we somehow have it “too easy.”
We just can’t win—and sadly, a lot of this judgment comes, not from men, but from other mothers!
Do I sometimes wish my circumstances were different, allowing me to choose if I wanted to stay at home or work only part-time? Absolutely. Not having a real choice has been the toughest part of this.
But then sometimes I feel like I’m exactly where I need to be. Although my passion is in writing and sharing with others, I enjoy my job and like to think I’m a valuable asset to the company I’ve been a part of for 8 years! I also think there’s a lot my son can learn from his working mom.
My job provides affordable health insurance for my son and me. It gives me the opportunity to take time for myself and realize how much I cherish the moments I do spend with my son.
My job literally helps to build and transform things (indirectly, but still). And it gives me yet another purpose in this world (not that “mommy” and “wife” aren’t purpose enough).
Yes, there are days I wish I could sleep in (who am I kidding—SAHMs don’t sleep in!) or schedule a mid-day play date. I’d love more time to read to Bazooka and teach him things, and I often wish I could spend hours organizing my home, cooking, hitting the gym, or catching up with a friend over coffee.
And yet I know deep down that play dates and “me time” would be few and far between, and that my real day-to-day would make me anxious and envious of working moms.
Maybe all this thinking out loud is a pep-talk to myself, but I want it to be a message to other moms, too. Keep doing the best you can! You must take care of yourselves in order to take care of your families, and just because the grass may seem greener on the other side, there will always be weeds to pull and leaves to rake before the garden blooms.
No matter what, your child will grow and learn and feel loved. You are smart (even if you’re not currently using your degree!), you are irreplaceable (in all of your roles), and you are exactly what your family needs you to be.
Remember that the next time you’re on the receiving end of a smug comment or feel like you’re all alone in this.
- Everyone—did your mother stay at home with you or work outside the home?
- Moms—do you ever wish your situation was different?
- Moms—what’s the best part about staying home or working?