It is officially 2017, a brand new year, a fresh start and of course the end of the road for my maternity leave.
After 5 months at home with my new son, this week was my first week back to the grind of a 9 to 5 (or 8 to 4:30 in my case) and I hate it.
Don’t get me wrong, I do like my job but I hate that I have to get up every morning and say goodbye to my baby when we were just now really getting to know each other. I hate that I have to miss some of his firsts and that I only really get to spend about 4 hours of awake time per day with him.
I know some women think that they could find a perfect balance between family and career, but as someone with both, at some point one of those things will begin to suffer.
Think about it. As a career woman, how often do you check your work emails or messages while you are at home “spending time with your kids”? You are supposed to be focusing on their awesome dance moves that they are ecstatic to show you but your head is buried in your work phone or your mind is on the big meeting/presentation that you have tomorrow.
These seemingly small actions can actually have big consequences for your family. These actions shape the way in which you are viewed by your children. Yes, depending on their ages, they may think of you as a strong, successful, hard working mother. But they also think of you as always being too busy to play dinosaurs or have a tea party or watch their favorite movie with them for the millionth time.
On the other hand, if you are someone who puts your family above work, you probably have missed important meetings or work opportunities because your child’s recital is on the same night. Or maybe you have been late for work or had to run away from work early because of a child related emergency on more occasions than your boss is happy with. As a mother, your children probably think of you as the ever present mother who they can always count on. But what does your boss think of you?
Now maybe some people can find that perfect balance and can be both the ever present mother and the hard hitting executive, but it is difficult and honestly, I am not sure that I want to be both.
During those 5 months at home, I enjoyed being a stay at home mother. I enjoyed having my family as my main priority and being so fully engaged in my sons’ lives. Taking my eldest to school, picking him up after school and hearing the play by play of his day. Spending about 2 hours in the morning with my newborn just listening to music, dancing, giggling, bonding.
Being there for every school related event without worrying about the reports that are due by the end of the day.
I loved it!
But the reality of the situation is that I have to work. My family depends on the income that I bring in and financially there is no room for me to be a stay at home mother at the moment. So, until that reality changes I just have to be the best working mother I can be.