I never thought I’d be back at work full-time.
Before Ian and I got married the consensus was that when we finally did decide to start a family that when the baby was born I would be a stay at home mom. We were so naive.
While it’s great that some moms get to stay home with their kids, the reality is that for the majority of us staying home isn’t an option. Things are just not like they were fifty years ago.
After Harley was born we once again discussed the chances of me being a stay-at-home-mom and the end result of that discussion was this: no matter how much we hated to admit, there was absolutely no chance we could afford for me to stay home with our little guy. I was going to have to go back to work part-time.
Sure, it was hard to get used to the idea of being a working mom at first! I grew up in a house where my dad worked and my mom stayed home with my sister and I. It was what I always imagined my life would be like and until we were faced with reality my mind was dead-set that that’s what was going to happen.
It took quite a few months to come to terms with the fact that I would be a working mom and the day I handed in my notice that I would be returning to work was rough. Little did I know it was about to get a whole lot tougher.
When Ian first began to complain that his neck was getting worse we were still sure that I would only be going back to work part-time. If he missed a couple days here and there we could make it work, but it wasn’t until the pain became so unbearable that he couldn’t last even an hour at work that we began to see what needed to happen.
That weekend I went into work, sat down with my boss and explained that our situation had changed and I would need to come back to work full-time (or at least as close to full-time as she could give me). That had got to be one of the hardest conversations of my life.
All of a sudden I went from being away from my son only three days a week and still being his primary caregiver to having to go back five days a week and relinquishing that role to my husband.
Don’t get me wrong, the thought of my two special men bonding more and more every day thrilled me, but I’d spent an entire year with him, watching him grow and develop into this smart, energetic, affectionate little boy and the thought of not spending my days with him tore me apart inside.
The first day back was tough. I cried three times that morning and nearly threw up before leaving the house.
But, once I got there it really didn’t seem all that bad at all. Harley would either be with my parents or my husband each day I was working so I knew he was in good hands. I think the anticipation of going back was worse than actually being back and that feeling has been so freeing!
Sure, there were moments when I would stop and wonder how things were going at home. Was Harley eating well? Was he taking his naps without fighting them? Was he crying for me? What was he doing?
Just one phone call home reassured me that everything was okay and that Harley was having a great time!
Sometimes the idea of going into work still gets to me, but then I stop and remember: if I wasn’t working we wouldn’t be able to pay our rent, buy groceries or buy the basics that Harley needs. I would be stressed out and miserable all the time over whether or not the bills would get paid.
Maybe some day I’ll get to stay home with my family and do what I love – writing! But, until then, I’ll just have to remember the reasons why being a working mom isn’t so bad after all:
- It’s a FREE workout: this mama, unfortunately, can’t afford a gym membership right about now so being at work has be on my feet all day, bending, kneeling, lifting, walking and squatting all day long, which ties into my next point.
- It keeps me hydrated: with all that physical activity I’m doing throughout the day I go through TONS of water! I constantly sip my water bottle and before I know it I’ve filled it up three or four times!
- I get to socialize with adults: as much as I love the nonsensical conversations I get to have with my one-year-old, sometimes it’s nice to have a conversation that goes both ways…and where I don’t have to use baby-talk.
- I get a break: I absolutely LOVE being a mom, but let’s face it, it’s exhausting. Yes, it’s very hard working all day and then coming home and helping with the baby, but I get to be out of the house and be my own person for a change.
- Money: I may not make a lot, but it sure is a lot more than I would be making by not working or only working part-time.
- Harley and Ian get to bond: I know that when it was just me home with Harley Ian felt like he missed out on a lot and by him being home and me working it gives them a chance to bond and grow closer, which I’ve already seen a lot of!
- Peace of mind: now that I’m bringing in an income I don’t have to worry as much about the bills or rent getting paid. I’m sure there’ll still be months where it’s a challenge to make ends meet, but our situation will greatly improve by me working and I will feel more at ease.
I know it can be a hard decision, ladies, and it’s not everyone’s first choice. But, there are some benefits to going back to work, as hard it may seem sometimes. Hang in there!