On my commute to work the other day, freshly showered with makeup on, listening to my favorite playlist, sipping my delicious coffee, I had a realization: I was actually happy to be on my way to work. I almost felt guilty at the thought. Shouldn’t I want to spend every single second with my sweet baby boy?
When I was nearing the end of my maternity leave, I was absolutely inconsolable knowing that I would be leaving my little one in someone else’s care. I was desperate to find a way to stay at home with him, willing to do almost anything to make it work. I irrationally begged my husband to let me quit my job, even though I knew it didn’t make sense financially. I was ready to sell my car, move to a smaller house, make a deal with the devil—whatever it took. As a brand new mama, I couldn’t come to terms with the idea of leaving my precious new baby with someone else for so many hours of the week. After looking at our budget over and over again, I was finally convinced that it was not the time for me to quit my job—we just couldn’t afford it. I cried many tears as I geared up to get back into the workforce.
It was a tough transition for sure—finding a new routine, missing my sweet boy, pumping breast milk at work. But now, I’m glad it happened. After a couple of months of being back at work, I was able to scale down to part time—working 20 hours a week. This has turned out to be the perfect balance. I’m able to spend a lot more time with my little man. And surprisingly, I really enjoy getting to go to work, too.
Don’t get me wrong! I love spending time with my little 9-month-old more than anything in the world. He is the sweetest, most precious thing. But he’s also becoming a little rambunctious and still doesn’t hold up his end of the conversation very well. I love being his mama, and I wouldn’t change my new life for anything. … But it’s sometimes nice to be able to turn my radio all the way up driving to work, and drink my coffee without a little person trying to knock it out of my hands, to have on something other than yoga pants and put some makeup on. It’s refreshing to have adult conversations a couple days out of the week. I find fulfillment in my job, I enjoy being a nurse and caring for my patients.
I do wish we had more paid leave in the United States—I do think that mamas need to be able to be at home with their newborns. I’m so blessed that I was able to have three months at home with mine; that’s more than many are able to have. But I also wish the old me could have known what was coming. I wish I would have known that someday soon I would feel better about going back to work, that it would be OK. It might have made the transition a little easier.
So for all you new mamas who are dealing with what I dealt with, I hope it makes it a little easier on you knowing that you might actually enjoy a your time at work someday, even though it’s hard to believe.