For as long as I could remember, way before I had Avery, before I was married, likely before I even met Mike! I was sure that I was going to work until I had children and then that would be it for me - I would be a “stay-at-home mom.” Heck, even when I got pregnant with Avery this was still my goal. As much as I went on to love every moment I was home with Avery from day 1 to day 365, I quickly learned (probably around day 182) that I was not meant to stay at home. I was missing a very large component of what made me, me! This is the first time in my life that I made the realization that I like to work (words I thought I’d never say) but I guess when you have a love and passion for what you do then this makes sense.
This being said, going back to work and not spending my days with Aves (after 9 months of literally being attached and then a year of being together every day) was NOT EASY! I had so many mixed feelings and learned so much by going back and the decision I made definitely isn’t right for everyone, but it was right for me.
I had the luxury of a slow transition, starting with daycare 1 day a week then slowly grew to 2, then 3 and then (and still now) 4 days a week. I aim to keep Fridays as a “mommy & me day” and we both look forward to it every week.
These are my 5 truest truths about returning to work:
- MOM GUILT IS REAL - so this is something that I always heard about but never really understood. For me, it is best described as this awful pit in your stomach when you really want to do something for yourself but your emotions, fear of judgement, peers, society and your mom brain make you feel as though you shouldn’t. FYI - this isn’t something that goes away! I have been back at work for almost 2 years and I still have a couple mornings a month that drop-off doesn’t go smoothly and I think “what if I’m not doing the right thing, they’re only little for such a short time.” But I get in my car because my career is important to me and the run and hug I get when I pick her up is everything!
- MISSED MOMENTS - this goes hand and hand with the mom guilt. I was always so worried about missing the moments and the milestones that come with growing up. Avery started daycare at 11 months old so I was concerned I would miss her first steps (which thankfully I didn’t) but the reality is that I got lucky there. You will miss some moments but one of my favourite times of the day now is her telling me what she did and learned today and being so excited to share it with me. It gives her some independence and the ability to share moments with me through her eyes.
- SPECIAL TIME - as I mentioned above, I keep Avery home on Fridays for a day just the two of us. We take our time getting out of bed, stay in our pj’s till noon if we want, run errands etc. and share time together with no distractions. This time is so special and since I haven’t had her most of the week we are both 100% focused on each other. Being apart through the week gives us time to miss each other and make the moments we do have that much more special.
- OPINIONS - everyone will have their own opinions on how you should parent - what to do, products to use, how to discipline, what to teach etc. but to be honest most focus on what you’re doing wrong and not what you are doing right. How you parent is your choice - take the opinions you want and don’t stress about the rest!
- ROLE MODEL - I like to think that I am a mom who yes, returned to work and uses a daycare centre but I am leading by example for my daughter that in life you can have more that one passion. You can be a great mom and a boss! If you have a passion in life, nothing should get in the way - there is a balance you just have to find it. Whether your passion includes your career, a hobby or being a mom, being happy and doing what you love comes through in who you are and that is a valuable trait to show and teach!