Working; something that has become normalized and accepted in society. Working while being a mom is a totally different ballgame. Going back to work after maternity leave is indescribable, but I will try my best.
Maternity leave during a global pandemic was different and although we had to learn a new normal and adjust to said normal, bottom line was I was still able to be home with my baby. No one could take that away. Enter a return to work. Now, these are emotions I didn’t think were possible to have. In a way I was excited to return to work, have some adult conversation, go back to my responsibilities at work and maybe turn off mothering for a few hours during the day. Although I was feeling excited, I was also met with anxious and sad emotions. I was going to be leaving my baby for 8+ hours, while at work and someone else was going to witness everything while I was behind a screen. Boy did this take a toll. I cried the first day I had to leave him. Obviously, I was a wreck, I didn’t want to leave him. He was a happy camper, didn’t realize anything had changed for him (which now I can appreciate) but in the moment that added to me being upset. The entire first day I was distracted, I couldn’t concentrate on anything work related because all I kept thinking about was whether or not my son was okay, missing me or needing me. Was I a bad mom for going back to work? What would happen if he needed me, how could I get to him quick enough? All these questions and more were running through my head. I knew I couldn’t even breach the subject to quit my job with my husband. I needed to work. We needed me to work. So, I knew I was going to have to snap out of this quickly. I was going down a rabbit hole I didn’t know if I could get out of if I kept travelling downwards. Speaking to other mom friends (thank god for those) I quickly realized every mother had the same reaction to going back to work, it was totally normal. There wasn’t anything to be ashamed of or stressed about, every mom had the same feeling of nervousness leaving their child and contemplated whether or not they were good mothers too. As crazy as it sounds, this gave me some comfort, knowing every mom asked themselves the same question. Every day I would text and call to check in on my son, probably every hour. It is what I needed to feel comfortable that I was gone and away from him. At the end of each day, I left work on time. This was a term I didn’t know existed prior to having my son. I was always that person that did 14-hour days, came with the territory of my position. But now that I was a mom, my son came first. The hours I had after work with him before bed time were going to be the most cherished hours and work wasn’t going to interfere with those. Once I started to appreciate the time I did get to have with my son, and appreciated the fact that he was well taken care of during the day when he wasn’t with me, I began to feel a sense of peace. I started to learn this was another part of my journey as a mom, learning to do these hard things, and doing them for my family. Being a mom is the most selfless job and very little thanks comes from it. But when you take a minute to look at everything you can accomplish as a mom, and how strong you were to go back to work and trust someone else with your child, it is something to be proud of. You are giving your child space to learn and experience different things and learn that you, their mom, will always come back for them.