what’s it like to be a working mom?

dear world,

when i first went back to work after V came home, lots of people asked me how i was doing. other moms i work with shared their stories about what it was like for them to return to work. my mom told me about how every time she had to leave us when we were small she would cry, which was not particularly helpful at the time. then we just sort of stopped talking about it.

last week, i found myself in a conversation with someone about 10 years my junior. approaching graduation this spring, she’s thinking about all the possibilities available to her in the working world and she asked me what it was like to go to work everyday and have a small child at the same time. i was completely unprepared for the question.

V was born about 10 weeks early and stayed in the NICU for 6 weeks. i worked while she was in the hospital and took my leave after she came home. i preferred to take maternity leave when i could be with V rather than choosing to sit, unable to care for her, by her bedside. we stayed home together for about 2 months. (i used some leave to visit her.)

the first day back to work was the worst. imagine spending all your time focused on one tiny person, 24 hours a day for months on end, then just turning her over to the care of someone else. i trusted our caregiver and she thrived. the more we did it, the easier it got. now she’s goes to a wonderful center, loves her teachers and can’t wait for me to drop her off in the mornings.

but if i could stay home with her i would. i think that’s the balance i’ve had to strike. in order to give her what she needs, i work outside the home. i spend all the time i can with her outside of work and am fortunate enough to work somewhere that understands the necessity of leaving for a sick kid. i also believe in the work that i do.  it offers me an outlet for creative thinking and tackling of challenges. i think i might wilt without the opportunity to solve problems and think about issues beyond myself.




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