Tomorrow will officially be a year since my maternity leave ended and I became one of the millions of working moms out there. Ladies of the working moms club, what a life we lead! I’ve really learned so much in this past year, especially how to try to make everything work. It isn’t all sunshine and roses, like this morning when Charlotte was screaming and crying as I was leaving and saying “NO GO NO GO” and my heart broke into a million pieces, but for the most part it really works for our family. I wrote a post a while back that never was published about working, so I thought today would be an appropriate day to share it with the world. Or at least the dozens of you that read my blog.
Making My Job Work
After my generous and well planned five month maternity leave after I had Charlie was coming to a close, the thought of going back to work was the stuff of nightmares. I would lay awake at night in the weeks prior alternating from tossing and turning with sheer terror and anxiety to the urge to vomit across the room Exorcist-style. My eyes would be glued to websites with comments from other moms about going back to work and how it ruined their lives forever. I was certain this would be the end of me. Sure, I had help from my husband, family, and a great babysitter to assist with child care while I was gone for 11 hours a day, but in this time of terror all I could think is that nobody was going to take care of my baby better than I would. I had spent every waking moment with her for her entire life thus far. How could anything matter more than that? Having to go back to work felt like a terrible burden that would never be lifted from my shoulders.
I have now been back at work for ONE YEAR and I swear it by the old gods and the new (who doesn’t love a good Game of Thrones reference, am I right?), my job is my fucking vacation. I absolutely, positively love having a paying job to go to every day. Sure, I have my hard days when leaving her fills me with guilt for not being there for every minute of her young life, but for the most part I am a better mother BECAUSE of my job. I am more organized, more patient, and more present when I am with her because of the hours we are not together. I do not take our time for granted. And when I am away from her I can enjoy little luxuries such as eating my breakfast and lunch without having to tear it into pieces with my hands to feed a little mouth. Do you know how wonderful it is to eat a piece of meat with a fork and a knife and not be ripping it to shreds with your fingers like an animal because your tiny human is screaming for a bite RIGHT THIS MINUTE? My job affords me these luxuries and I will take each small victory as they come.
I work because I need to work financially, but I also need to work for my own happiness. I am lucky enough to have plenty of wonderful people taking care of Char while I am away that I can focus at work and not worry about whether or not she’s happy or missing me. There are certainly times I dream of quitting and spending my days frolicking in the park or taking naps with my little one, but all it takes is one rainy day in which I am stuck in the house with a baby who refuses to nap and won’t eat any of the meat I’ve torn apart with my fingers to make me long for Monday morning and the sanctuary of the office.
No matter what your situation as a mom is, it’s important that it works for you. If you work full time and you hate it, I can understand that. If you stay at home all day and you think I’m crazy for loving my Monday through Friday 9-5, I can understand that too. The only thing that matters to me is that I’ve found what works for me and my family and I’m happy with my decisions. Now if only I can stop tearing up meat with my fingers, life would be perfect.
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