Back to Work… But What About Baby?

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Early in my pregnancy, I had no doubt in my mind that my life wouldn’t change much. I couldn’t see why I would have to slow down, why I wouldn’t be able to continue working or traveling the country for grooming competitions.

I could just bring the baby with me, right? Wrong.

I totally underestimated how much change I was going to experience in a very short amount of time.

I planned to take three months off, so I would have plenty of time to adjust to my new life as a mom and bond with my beautiful new daughter.

Back to Work… But What About Baby?

About a month and a half in, I went crazy listening to crying and the constant repetition of feeding, changing, burping, and bouncing over and over again.

As much as social media and society tell you that it’s best to stay with the baby as long as possible and that being a stay-at-home-mom is best, it isn’t for everyone.

I’m here to tell you that it’s OKAY if you can’t handle being a stay-at-home-mom. I also want to tell you that it won’t hurt your relationship with your baby at all to be a working mom, so try not to feel too guilty.

Here’s a little backstory.

I am a workaholic.

I will work 12-hour days, seven days a week. My time is best spent earning money.

I don’t value money more than my family or friends, but if I have free time, it’s going to be spent making money. I work as a dog groomer – usually about 10-hour days, five days a week.

On the weekends, I was working nine- to 10-hour shifts at a horse barn, I drove for Uber, I walked dogs on Wag, I dog sat with Rover – literally, I was always trying to make money.

At least one weekend a month, I am traveling for grooming competitions.

I am allergic to being static; I have to move. I crave something to do almost every hour I am awake.

Heck, I would even go to work at the grooming salon when I was on maternity leave helping with reception work and light cleaning or whatever I could do because I hated sitting still. A working mom was what I wanted to be, but I had so much guilt.

My personality made it really hard for me to just sit with the baby day in and day out during my maternity leave. I adore my daughter; she is my entire world.

So at first, I felt terrible that I wanted to get out of the house and go to work.

I felt like I was abandoning her and that I was going to miss out on her whole life because I was working. She would hit all of her milestones with someone else, and I would be at work.

My Instagram feed seemed like it was filled to the brim with stories about moms who decided to quit their life to stay at home because it was wrong to part with your baby.

It got to the point that I was getting depressed and told myself I was a terrible mother. I convinced myself that she would forget who I was because I wasn’t there as much as I was in the beginning.

Going Back to Work After Leave

In October, I worked a couple of days so that I could ease myself into it and so that Lennox could get used to the new babysitter. In reality, this was more to help me cope than her.

She loved daycare and always seemed happy to go from the start. That first couple of days at work felt soooooo nice.

Grooming makes me who I am, and going months without doing something you love can really depress you. It was exactly the relief I needed from caring for my daughter, but at the end of the day, I was MORE than ready to pick up my sweet seed.

It was in my first full week back at work that something just clicked. Immediately, I knew that I was supposed to be a working mom and that it was okay.

Lennox is thrilled to see me when I come home. I’ve gotten to witness her roll over for the first time, and I really get to spend a lot of time with her.

You know how you work yourself up over something and expect it to be horrible, but in reality, it isn’t nearly as bad? I did that. What I didn’t realize was that going back to work was my “me time.”

Grooming is my passion, so being able to spend time doing what I love helps me to center myself and stay positive so I can be the best mom to Lennox that I possibly can be.

It is so important to take care of yourself when you are a new mom. Take that shower, take some time to read a book, hell, take a nap!

The laundry isn’t going anywhere, the house can be a little dirty. The most important thing is to take care of yourself and your sweet little baby.

I am proud that my daughter will grow up with a mom who is happy and pursuing her dreams so that she will see that as normal.

Her dad needed love, too.

When I’m working, Lennox goes to daycare two days and is home with her dad three days.

I think this has really helped her and her dad bond, because he gets time alone with her (and without me being the overbearing mom that I am). He gets to troubleshoot on his own, and they are able to make their own routine.

If I had decided to be a stay-at-home mom, he would be working more and wouldn’t have that opportunity to bond with Lennox, and I am so grateful that he is able to.

It’s Okay to Stay at Home

On the other hand, I want to acknowledge that it’s also okay if you don’t like being a working mom.

Some people have the type of personality that makes them an awesome stay-at-home mother, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. I wish that I had the patience, creativity, and strength it takes to do that.

My dream is to show my daughter that she can be anything and everything she wants to be. She doesn’t have to stop being herself because she has responsibilities.

If you’re a stay-at-home mom, you can teach your children endless life lessons of patience, love, and nurturing. Being a working mom or a stay-at-home mom doesn’t mean you can’t accomplish the same goals and instill the same values in your children, it just means you’re going about it in a different way.

The biggest lesson I am learning as a new mom is that you have to find what works for you. No one can tell you what is best for you or your child; you have to make that decision.

Guilt and being hard on myself was the only thing that made me feel like my decisions weren’t the “right” ones.

Take a step back and ask yourself, “Am I happy? Is my baby happy? Am I doing what I think I need to do to give my child the best life possible?”

If you answered yes to all of those questions, then carry on, momma, you’ve got this. If you answered no, then take another step back and try to identify what is preventing you and your child from being happy and see if there are any changes you can make.

Bonuses for Working Moms

On a less serious note, going back to work has some great advantages. For instance, you get to have conversations with adults again.

And who doesn’t love the cash flow? My co-workers are extremely tired of me because I rarely stop talking.

It is so nice to have conversations with someone who can speak full sentences. I can even put in my headphones and listen to adult music or podcasts instead of cartoons.

Having a two-person income in the home really helps to lower my stress level. The finances aren’t as tight. We used to go to dinner and the movies every Tuesday, but while I wasn’t working we had to stop.

We are able to start going out together again, which is helpful for our relationship post-baby. All of these things go back to what I was saying earlier about taking care of yourself.

You have to give yourself a break from stress.

Baby is Still Happy

Since I’ve started working full-time again, I haven’t noticed any negative changes in my baby. At least none that are related to me working. (She is teething. Fun!)

She gets to be with one of her parents five days of the week. She only goes to daycare twice a week, and she loves it.

I found her a little in-home daycare, so I know she is safe and having a great time. My friend runs it and sends me pictures during the day.

If anything, I think she has really benefited from some time away from mom and dad. She is learning to meet new people, and it will help her be confident as she grows up.

One piece of advice my sister gave me was to take Lennox to daycare on my day off. That way I can catch up on housework and run errands so that I don’t feel as overwhelmed.

Knowing I have a day that I can just bust out chores allows me to focus the time I do have with my daughter making up for being away.

I definitely believe that it will get easier to be a working mom the older Lennox gets. She will make friends and want to go and play.

I should specify: I mean easier emotionally, because I won’t feel bad about leaving her. She will be excited to go to school and visit with friends.

I’m anticipating that it will get hectic and a little stressful as she starts after-school activities and sports.

Let me know in the comments below how it went for you returning to work!

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