Friday, February 27, 2015

{Going Back To Work}

{Photo from my first day back at work & Elodie's first day at daycare!}

It’s hard to believe I’ve been back at work a touch longer than I was away on maternity leave. The way I feel about being a working mother now versus when I first came back to work is night and day.

Going into maternity leave, I wasn’t really sure how I would feel about being home full-time with my little one. I’m an extremely social person, I love to chat and be around people, but do find that I need my alone time at the end of the day to recharge. Part of me thought that I might not even like being home all day every day as I might go stir crazy, or always intend to get out and do things, but never muster the energy to get out of my PJs and actually do so.

To my surprise, I really thrived on maternity leave. I got into my own little routine, and found myself almost being too social at times (I was really lucky and was on maternity leave at the same time as a lot of great friends. It was one of my absolute favorite summers of my life!). I got into the swing of being a stay-at-home mama, and found true happiness and joy in keeping our home in order, cleaning, cooking and hanging with my bebe. For the record, Corey never expected me to do anything but care for Elodie and would never give me grief if he came home to a disastrous house (which, let’s be honest, happened probably a lot!), it just made me happier to be in a clean house! Anyway, point is, I really liked being on maternity leave.

Fast forward just about five months and it was time for me to go back to work. I’m not going to sugarcoat it, there were lots and lots of tears (most came the night before going back and in the immediate weeks thereafter). It all just felt silly. I had a baby, only to leave her with someone else 8+ hours a day? And I’d hardly get any time to hang out with her at night as we have a pretty yucky commute and she has an early bedtime. I went from spending every waking moment with Elodie to spending mere hours, sometimes minutes, home with her each day. It killed me.

To make matters worse, Elodie did not take to daycare well. I often got reports that she was sad and fussy all day, and cried a lot. This coming from a baby who seriously never cried at home. It broke my heart. She was clearly unhappy.  

There were definitely moments I had irrational thoughts about leaving my job to stay home with Elodie. I thought long and hard about the role I wanted my career to play in my life, and in our children’s lives. I went back and forth. What job could be more important than being a mother? What would Elodie think of me if I didn’t work? Would she respect me? Would she resent me?

There’s no doubt that both options would be rewarding and difficult in their own ways. I have SO much respect for stay-at-home mothers. Honestly, that’s a way harder job than what I do day-to-day! And working mothers have it hard – they spend their days away from their littles. Even if working mothers love their jobs, they can often feel torn between their two roles. There really is no perfect solution for this dilemma, and it is incredibly personal.

Luckily I didn’t make any brash decisions in those early weeks back. I found my groove at work again and as soon as Elodie started crawling at six months, she became a much happier baby at daycare. Now, six months into daycare, Elodie is thriving – she adores her teachers and has so much fun playing with her baby friends and all the awesome toys they have in her classroom. I miss her like crazy all day, but I’m lucky that my company has daycare on-site, so if I’m really having withdrawals (um, every day!) I can pop in and say hello. It’s proven to be a really good balance for us all. 

So if you’re a new mama already dreading going back to work, an expectant woman wondering how she’s going to navigate the waters of being a working mother, or anyone who’s given any thought to how on earth she’ll balance a career, marriage and motherhood, I hope sharing my experience with you has helped. We’re all bound to choose different paths, but just know that with time, you’ll figure it all out and it will all be okay (even when it REALLY feels like it won’t be)! Good luck :)