As parents have been gearing up for the return of school and navigating the new landscape of education as we know it, I have been gearing up for my own return. That is, my return to work after having a baby.
Before my son was born, I naively believed that I would want to return to work quickly and would not be affected by the time away from him. But since his arrival, getting back to the “normal me” has been hard. Really hard.
After having my son, I was deep in the thralls of baby land and I loved it. Simple acts like feeding him, bathing him, and doing his laundry were so fulfilling! But after a few months of being a stay-at-home mom, I was at a crossroads. I was finding so much fulfillment with my son, but I also yearned to be doing something for me. I found myself missing a little piece of the person I was before baby.
After a lot of thinking and conversation with my husband, I decided to go back to work. Since I work for myself, I have been able to create the schedule I want and limit my time away from baby, but that doesn’t make it any easier. I’m back in the groove, and it feels great personally, but there is also a tremendous amount of guilt.
While at my first meeting with a client, my husband texted me a photo of my son’s bloody mouth. He had fallen and bit his lip. The mom guilt was REAL in that moment. I should have been there! I could have comforted him! Or a worse thought… I could have prevented it!
I’ve had so much back and forth in my mind about what is the “right” thing to do. I have so many mixed feelings about returning to work. I worry working moms will judge me for “just” staying at home. I worry stay-at-home moms will judge me for “selfishly” going back to work. I love what I do. And, truthfully, I enjoy the time I get to be away from my family and step into the person I remember myself to be. And sometimes I don’t feel guilty…which makes me feel guilty. It’s a super fun never-ending loop!
I’ve ultimately decided to embrace my work time. It makes me feel good which, in turn, makes me a better mom. I’ve redefined my work life and what success means to me. And sometimes, I opt for a day of a little less productivity to work from home with my little guy.
The transition back to work hasn’t been easy, but it is definitely one I’m glad I made.