It’s already been six months that I have returned to the working world, merging my full time mom status with professional full time in an office status. The “working mama” role has been a challenge for me in a lot of ways. It was hard to be at working missing my kids so much. Then, it was hard to admit to myself the days I was happy to be at work, because I was enjoying working. Balancing schedules with my husband makes sick days a challenge and dinner is always a question.
When I was headed back to the office, a fellow mama friend gave me the advice of, “Tell yourself to give it a year, promise yourself to not evaluate it until six months, commit to three months, enjoy the thrill of the newness of the first month and expect to cry the first week.”
It was good advice. The first month was fabulous! Newness and lunches out, new people, going to meetings, quiet time, an office to look out at cloudy skies with my coffee in hand. The second and third months were rough! I was down in the depths of heartbreaking, my spirits so low. I almost quit weekly. I woke up with a weight in my heart and dread in my stomach. I was angry and sad and guilt ridden and stressed out. I gained four pounds. The fourth month was similar though it became routine and I gained another three pounds. The fifth month I took on a new event planning project, a task I love! The guilt continued because I felt bad for enjoying work. I felt bad for wanting to go to work because I liked what I was doing. I was angry that I felt bad. So, yes, still rough, but at least I was happier at work. I felt a little more energetic and really excited to see my kids every day. I struggle with accepting what the commitment of working full time meant in terms of limitations. I don’t blog as often, practice yoga in a studio as often, family phone calls and getting together with friends is less often and more scheduled. These changes were hard for me, even though I couldn’t admit it.
Then, one morning, I woke up and found myself at my sixth month anniversary. And despite the long days, the heartbreaking mornings, the weary nights, the tears and the wine, it felt like it had flown by that morning. I was astonished it had been six months. It felt like I had reached the top of really big hill. And so I thought, what now?
After some serious self talk, I finally came to a decision (which thrilled my husband because he was ready to get off the roller coaster ride of my return to work). I’m enjoying work more than I’m not enjoying work. I want to be there more than I don’t want to be there. And I’m not ready to quit. And that I’m not sure this is my full and complete re-entry to the working world. I may need or want another year off to experience raising my kids full time before they begin school and their own lives.
But, for the next six months, I’m sticking around the chaos of frantic mornings, crazed rush hour drives home to see my kids, texting childcare in middle of day just to see what my little ones are doing. It’s a gamble and I worry about making the wrong decision for myself, my kids and my family. So I remind myself of my grandmother’s advice, “You make the best of it.” And I retain the right to change my mind.
And maybe drink a glass of wine… 🙂