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When I first became pregnant, there was no doubt in my mind that I would be returning to Corporate America after the birth of my child. I have always liked being independent and making my own money. There’s a sense of security for me, making my own money and being able to buy what I want, when I want. There’s also the added bonus of additional income so that my family and I can be more comfortable.
As I continued in my pregnancy, and soon to be motherhood, I began having some doubt about this strong-minded mentality I had about returning to work. I saw fierce, independent women all around me leaving their well-paying jobs to stay home full time with their little one. I thought, am I missing some instinct that new mothers get that urges them to stay home full time? Would this instinct kick in once my child comes?
Fast forward to the birth of my beautiful daughter. She is such a joy, and truly heaven sent. With that said, “they” definitely don’t prepare you for the true struggles of motherhood (something we can dive into later) outside of the newborn itself.
Returning To Work
As planned, I returned to work after the birth of my daughter. To my surprise, my job was very flexible with me and my transition back to work. I came back a month early from maternity leave, and was able to work full time (part remote, part in-office), for the first 6 months back. As time went on, I spent more and more time in the office.
At first, it was great. We had to still elicit and eventually hire help, as it is impossible to work remote and care for a child by yourself. (If you’ve figured this out, write a book and sell it for millions; I’ll buy it.) As the months went on, I found myself torn. I had strong feelings of happiness going in to the office and being “baby free” for the day; honestly it was a mental vacation, and on some days it still is. At the same time, I felt that I should have been more sad or upset leaving my baby with someone else to be cared for.
My daughter is now 14 months old and I work full time, 5 days a week, in the office and I can honestly say I think it helps me stay sane. I look at those close to me who have decided to stay home full time and I think that there is no way I could do that job. I am in awe of these women and think they truly deserve a medal (all of us mothers do). It seems like such an emotional and mental toll. Again, is something wrong with me? Am I missing that “mom gene” that was perhaps supposed to kick in when my child was conceived? If not, for sure by the time she arrived, right?
Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love spending my early mornings with my daughter, and enjoy the last couple of hours in the day with her before she goes to bed. Do I get home sometimes happy to see her, but yearning for her bedtime to come? Absolutely. Are there some days where I want her to stay up later because it feels like I didn’t get nearly enough time with her, and then I feel really sad and spend time contemplating my choice to return to work full time? Again, absolutely.
Find Your Why
Being a working mom is hard. It drives me insane while keeping me sane. The jury is still out on what truly is best. There are arguments from all sides, and ultimately it will be what is best for you, your mental state, your child, and your family. If you are struggling emotionally and/or physically being away from your child full time, maybe you need to cut it back. If you are pulling your hair out being at home all the time, wondering when your life stopped being your own and became all about your kid, then it might be time to pick up another outlet you can focus part of your time on.
Regardless of what you do professionally, and how much time you spend doing it, remember the reasons you have made the choice that you have. For me, it’s mental sanity. I love my daughter, but at this point in my life, being home and dedicated to her 100% of the time was just not in the cards for me. I am thankful I have a job I can do and enjoy (for the most part – no job is stressfree) and a husband who supports me making the conscious decision to return to work.
Did I mention I’m pregnant with number 2? Yeah. We will see how everything goes once number 2 is here, but for now my thought is I’ll be returning to Corporate America yet again, and I will still be a bad ass mom to my daughters.