June 22, 2012

The Working Mom Conflict*

This Friday, Lucas will be three months old.

Three months!!

How did that happen??

His three month "birthday" [or whatever you want to call it] also means that I'll have finished three weeks back at work. I took a full 12 weeks of maternity leave, going out on my due date, but with Lucas being two weeks late [and me being in the hospital for one of those two weeks] I headed back to work a little earlier than I wanted to.

I'm not going to lie and say that the transition has been easy. In fact, it's been really fucking hard. We got lucky when it came to our daycare situation, in that a very good friend of ours, back in December [and right before we started the search of our own] OFFERED to watch Lucas for us. She had a background in early childhood development, loved kids, has a nine-month old of her own and was offering to watch our baby when the time came. It literally fell into our lap, and we would have been stupid to say no. So we worked out the details, came to an agreement, and let the countdown begin.

And because she is so amazing and is somebody we trust completely, I do not wory about him during the day. I know he is in wonderful hands, learning wonderful things. Her own child is pretty great, and a true testament to what kind of mom she is. Of course I am thrilled that she is the one watching Lucas for us while I'm at work.

But it's not the same.

In fact, most days it sucks. And what runs through my head on a daily basis is a million different things, all leaving me conflicted and confused about my choices.

I worked hard for my education. Paid my way through college and grad school. Up until getting married, even a couple years past the "I do's" children were never on my mind. It wasn't a priority. What WAS important to me was my career. I wanted to succeed. I wanted to do great things. And, to this day, I love my field and the work that I do on a daily basis. When the time came to start a family, going back to work after having a baby was not even a question. OF COURSE it would happen. Because I'm not paying back $80,000 of student loans just to sit at home. But I also enjoy feeling accomplished. Like I have contributed something to the world. I know there are many ways to do this without having a "job" but this was the route I decided to take.

I had the option of staying home after baby came. M and I sat down and had that talk. In fact, he brought it up. It wasn't anything that I had ever considered, but he wanted me to know that if I chose to stay home with baby, then I could do so. Things would be tight, but we could easily make it work! I listened to his proposal, and appreciated the fact that he thought this might be something I was considering [but would never bring up] but what it came down to was a few things. I loved working, and I loved the lifestyle my paycheck allowed us to have. We are a military family, and before we know it there will be a time when we pack up and

1 comment:

Stevie said...

You hit the nail right on the head, mama. All of the emotions...I went through the same. And I think many mamas do. There's no easy answer. I know when I first went back, I was MISERABLE. I felt guilty that I couldn't be with her, and guilty that I wasn't fully engaged at work. But as time went on, it got easier.

My mom had a great point...she said that even if daycare gets to see the actual firsts (and sometimes they did, which would crush me, but they always were careful to document everything for us) that we'd still get to see the firsts on our time, and so they were still special. It helped a little.

I know I wished at first that I could be a full time SAHM, permanently. But now, two years down the road, I actually don't wish for that. I like what my job does for me, and it's okay that I like that. Do I miss her? Yes. Every day. But has she learned so much and developed so well because of daycare and all the socialization? In large part, yes. Neither position is easy...whether at home or working. But it doesn't diminish the love we have for our kids, and we can only do the best that we can do.

Your little man will NEVER prefer anyone over you. You are the mama. You are the one who fixes everything, the one who gives the best snuggles, and the one who loves him more than anyone ever could. The love he's experiencing outside the home will only enrich his life, and at the center of it all will ALWAYS be mama and daddy.

Hugs, mama. It's a tough spot, and you're doing great.