If they gave out badges to moms like they do to Girl Scouts, I would have just received a new one. The “I left my sick toddler at home crying for me while I went to work” one. But unlike a Girl Scout, I’m not thrilled with the situation, in fact it is tearing me up inside.
I started working again in August after taking 3 years off to get pregnant and stay at home with my daughter. Having that time with her was an amazing experience and I’m so grateful I had that opportunity. But as my daughter grew older and more independent, I started to feel the pull to return to work. I loved sitting on the floor and engaging with her, but I yearned to use the talents, skills & abilities I had gained from all my years in the workforce. Not to mention that our household was in need of the boost from a regular paycheck!
The past 6 months have been filled with a lot of ups and downs. I love my job, I find it extremely fulfilling and challenging. I’m lucky enough to work for a great boss who also has a young daughter, which means she understands the struggle to balance work and home life. Yet I’m constantly second-guessing my decision to work outside the home.
Everyday I pick my daughter up and ask about her day. Her response is always “not so good mama, I only want you”. Those words get to me like a hand squeezing my heart. And then the debate starts in my head: “How long will she want me like this, shouldn’t I stay home with her while she still needs me? Is this doing lasting damage? But I love working! And being happy makes me a better mom! And we need the money! But my kid needs me more.” And on and on it goes
I see how much better my life has become since I went back to work. I have more confidence and it feels so great to use those work-related “muscles” again. Our finances are healthier, so we feel a lot less stress and have money for the extra things in life that matter to us. We’ve gone from surviving to thriving.
But then there are the drawbacks – life seems to have sped up and time wooshes by at warp speed. It has become a constant juggling act of household chores, family time and work. There isn’t a lot left over for personal time or catching up with friends. Days seem to take on a bit of a “lather, rinse and repeat” kind of feeling. We’re making it work in the best way we can. Here’s to teamwork!
I still take as much time as I can to sit on the floor with my daughter (let the dirty dishes pile up in the sink!) and Saturdays are our day to spend alone together. It has been a big change, but on the whole I think it has been a change for the better. I’m conscious of the fact that I’m my daughter’s primary female role model. I want to show her as many sides of being a woman as I can, so that in future she can have the confidence to choose whichever path suits her.
But those words “I only want you mama” still tug at my heartstrings and the debate starts in my head all over again. I don’t know what the right answer is, so for now we just take it day by day.
On a lighter note, the one fun thing for me about going back to work is getting dressed to go to the office every day. Our office is fairly casual, but I do enjoy the opportunity to strut my style a bit. I recently teamed up with one of my favourite online retailers, Hey Gorgeous! to do a photo shoot and interview for their blog. Here are some of my favourite looks!
Jacket by Anna Scholz | Dress by Carmakoma from Hey Gorgeous | Bag by Mulberry | Boots by Nine West