Today I wanted to share how I’ve been dealing with my return back into the workforce. It’s a topic I’ve grappled with sharing because of all my negative feelings with where I work and what I do but I thought it might be a therapeutic exercise for me to release the negativity instead of having this constant discussion with the person in my head. I’ve also come to realize that there are a lot of readers that are experiencing the same feelings of mommy guilt that I’ve been suffering since returning back to work nearly two weeks ago.
During my maternity leave I came to realize I’m not stay at home mom material (although I commend the women that take on that duty honorably). While I hate my job I like to work and need that time away from my home. I like to interact with people my age and missed the constant hustle and bustle of an office. Don’t get me wrong, I love Remy and have come to appreciate that being a parent is one of the most fulfilling jobs I’ve ever had to tackle but I’m not going to deny the fact that I like to get dressed in the morning (in non-yoga pants attire) and put on my ‘work hat’. I’m not going to lie, I’ve been the most unproductive employee EVER, constantly scrolling through my photos and tearing up with each swipe of the finger but mentally I think I needed to return back to work for my sanity.
Through these last couple of days I’ve mentally built a list of the pros and cons of returning back to work. Some of the pros include:
- Talk radio! I didn’t realize how much I enjoy listening to the local radio station and laughing at their ridiculous stories, not to mention listening to music most of the day at my cubical. I forget how much music calms my soul.
- Having a legitimate reason to get ready for the day. I missed the fun that comes with putting an outfit together that is not baby friendly, applying makeup, and curling my hair. People underestimate the power of a complete look that doesn’t include gym shorts and a pony tail.
- Eating an actual lunch. It was a rare event when I was able to eat lunch without holding Remy in my other arm. Heck, it’s nice to be back to my lunch hour in the cafeteria with a good book!
- It’s nice to make money again and not just contribute to the bills but get back to building my savings account. With an unpaid maternity leave we were cutting it really close and this was causing me a bit of anxiety.
However while I missed those aspects of my pre-mommy life, I can’t help but reminisce on those cherished moments with Miss Remy and so my cons list is as follows:
- I am constantly afraid that she’ll forget about me. I feel like every workday I’m away from her, she’s forgetting who her mommy is. While I know these first years are ones’ she won’t remember, I’m still afraid she’ll forget all that we experienced those first 3 months. For example, we play this game I call Monster Face. Everytime I say monster face I make this monster noise and she then opens her mouth like a monster ready to eat something. It’s basically the cutest thing you’ll ever see. Will there come a day when she has no clue what I’m talking about?
- The relentless mommy guilt. That endless feeling that I’m not spending enough time with my child, that there is someone else looking after her, and the worry that nothing I do is ever enough. I doubt myself and my abilities as a parent every day.
- I fear whether or not my decision to return to work was the right one. Unfortunately we need to incomes to support our family so I had no choice on whether or not I had to return to work but it doesn’t mean I don’t think about it. Was my return to the workforce the right thing to do? Should we sacrifice the extra needed income and find a way to make it work so that I can care for Remy myself?
- I physically crave for Remy’s warmth, for her smiles, and for her cries. The anguish I feel as a result from being away from her all day literally makes me sick. And then I wonder if she craves that same warmth that is no longer constantly offered to her. That thought alone brings tears to my eyes.
In an ideal world I would take the first year of Remy’s life to be a SAHM. To be her primary caregiver, her teacher, to be her everything. Choices are made every day and I’m sure I’m not alone with these feelings. While I am happy to be at work for the ‘break’ I still yearn for those first few months of non-stop Remy time. I’m sure my thoughts and feelings are extremely contradictory but I’m allowed to be confused right now, I am new at this.