So many of us women make the choice to enter the world of motherhood and when we do, are inundated with anecdotes, stories and advice from others about the wonderful experiences you will share with your child. But the stories go quiet when the time comes to reenter the workforce. So here is my story.
First, a little background about me. I have always loved working and got my first job at 12, my second at 14, and my third at 16. I worked all throughout high school and only stopped because I decided to continue my studies away from home. Go to work early, stay late, work though lunches –– that’s normal ……..isn’t it? Throughout college and early adulthood, I continued this trend, including at my current position at VON. Now you might think from this that I live to work but that is certainly not the case. I have been blessed with wonderful jobs that I enjoy. (Oh, in case you are wondering, I’m an EA.)
Then I had a baby and took a year maternity leave. I’ve been back at work about two months now. Although everyone says returning to work is a traumatic, heart-destroying, devastating event that you never truly overcome, this wasn’t the case for me (notably since I have excellent day care). It was certainly sad and filled with mixed emotions, but it was a welcome change from staying at home.
I found that the challenge of returning to work after a baby is trying to manage the anxiety and guilt that come with it. All mothers will inevitably have guilt/remorse for leaving their child with a stranger, but no one mentions the guilt you feel towards your employer. Not having the ‘luxury’ of staying late or coming in early to finish an important project because you need to pick your child up from daycare. Not being able to work from home until your little one has gone to sleep, not to mention the overwhelming guilt of taking a day off when your child is sick. Why doesn’t anyone let you know this? The worst of it is that the guilt turns into anxiety. Worrying that there is not enough time in the day to accomplish what you need to, anxiety that you cannot work at the same level as you once did or are not as available as you once were. Can I maintain the standard of work I once was able to?
All I know is that this is an ongoing struggle and I’m doing everything to not let it get the best of me. Every day is better than the one before. I just keep on trucking; something is bound to click soon.
To be continued…….