To stay home with the kids or to work outside the home – it’s an issue that every mom has to address at some point or another. While many women choose to stay home and take care of their kids, statistics show that more than half are deciding to work outside the home.
Most will agree that simply being a mom is a full time job, so being a mom AND working – for whatever reason (financial, personal goals, need to get out of the house) – can be daunting and/or overwhelming.
As a mother of two girls, I will soon be returning to my office job following a year of maternity leave. Follow “Back to Work”, a series of articles dedicated to the good, the bad, and everything in between for a mom returning to work.
Part 1: Already Time
Profites-en – it is French for take advantage, live in the moment or treasure the small stuff – and it is what my co-workers said to me as I waddled around the office, closing my files and preparing to leave on maternity leave – a year ago.
A year ago? Really?
That means that my leave is officially coming to an end and my baby – my second baby – is going to be one. It means that I’m going to have to figure out how to juggle work on top of everything else; that I will not see my girls as much; that I will have to be more organized and that I will not have as much time to blog or to experiment in my kitchen; that our renovations will get put on hold and that I will be wishing there were more hours in a day!
I am struck by my immediate need to say something about how quickly time goes by.
“Wow, time flies!”
I’m struck by how bizarre TIME is… how usually it seems like I am chasing after it and wondering where it went. Yet, sometimes it’s as if it stands still and lingers or… it goes by too slowly for my liking and so I wish it away, looking forward to the next big project or moment.
I remember feeling like I wished away some of my earliest moments with Layla (my first baby) as I tried to figure out motherhood and nursing and worked towards getting a good night’s sleep. With regret, I promised that I would not do that the second time around. And I did not. This past year, my little Meaghan’s first, was a beautiful and special time in my life. Some moments passed too quickly, some just fast enough, and some are a sleepless blur in my mind. But as much as I possibly could, I made sure to appreciate and treasure those moments and I made the most of my time off work.
Work… when I think back to my final days in the office and the end of my last pregnancy, it seems far away. I can barely remember what it felt like to be that big; that pregnant. The tight skin, the sore hips, the labored breathing, the baby taking up so much room I thought I was going to pop (…okay, so I guess I can remember a little if I try…). And yet, all it takes is a quick visit to the office and I swear it is as though I never left! While the files may be different and the gossip seems a little juicier – the nature of the job remains for the most part unchanged and there are a lot of familiar faces smiling as they say “Can’t wait to have you back”.
They cannot wait…? What about me? Am I ready? If you had asked me a few months ago, I would have gone into a panic. Thinking about it now – I am ready (though there is a part of me that wishes the answer was no, as if I want to feel guilty). Opting to work or stay home is a very personal decision and it is not black or white. From where I am standing, there are benefits to each so I am on the fence. That is probably why I have arranged to do both… part-time.
Call it a cop out or call me a genius (I have learned that most people have opinions about such things!) but the idea of going back to work a few days a week is much less overwhelming and really kind of exciting. Yes, it will be challenging. Yes, I will miss my girls. But I will also have an excuse to wear nice clothes, interact with adults and stimulate parts of my brain that I am beginning think are possibly missing.
Stay tuned to find out how it actually goes down when the first day comes… and goes.