Going back to work after maternity leave can be both a blessing and a curse. On one hand, you get to use the bathroom by yourself. *squeek!* On the other hand, your nap times are no more, at least for five days a week. *yawn*
In two days, I’ll be a working mother again and I’m ready.
The first time I went back to work, I knew it had to happen. While I worried about her transition to day care, my daughter was an incredibly busy girl and desperately needed to be around other kids. She demanded constant stimulation, and by the end of my 50-week maternity leave, I had just run out of gas. I craved grown-up conversation, emails, meetings, even the quiet music I played at my desk. The satisfaction of productivity, the beginnings and ends of projects; these were things that my stay-at-at-home-mom life didn’t necessarily offer.
Now that this maternity leave is over, going back this time around is a little different. What’s concerning me now is the new normal; the new financial constraints, the earlier and much busier mornings, the later and much shorter evenings. With the kids at two different care providers, things could go twelve shades of crazy. And as much as I can prepare for myself for it, I won’t really know how things will be until I just jump in.
But there is one thing I know about returning to work, and it makes me feel better when I’m worrying about my kids and how they’ll manage the transition:
I’m a good stay-at-home-mom, but I’m an even better working mom.
Both the fierce love I have for my children, and my professional drive are nurtured when I’m working. I can escape the inevitable office frustrations by playing hide and seek or peek-a-boo with my kids. I can elude the chaos of the house by basking in bathroom privacy or in a whole 8 hours without hearing the word “Mommy!”
Being a working mom isn’t about discounting the joys I experienced during maternity leave, nor is it about advancing my career for my own personal goals.
It’s about balance. For myself and for my family.
Are you a stay-at-home-mom? A working mom? How do you manage balance in your life?