I was lucky enough to spend the first year of my daughter’s life with her at home. We spent almost every second together. Now it is time to go back to work, but I was not prepared for all the emotions that came with it.
Staying at Home
When my maternity leave ended, I was not ready to go back to work. I was still learning the basics of motherhood and honestly did not trust anyone else with my baby. This is normal for the first baby, so I am told. I remember thinking, how do moms go back to work after only 3 months?! Some moms have even less time. I felt so blessed to not worry about that transition when Arya was so young.
When Arya was 6 months old, I was not ready to go back to work. I was working remotely and part time, which felt like enough. Arya was going through so many firsts at this point. The thought of missing any of it was unbearable. There were many moments, however, it probably would have been beneficial for us to be apart more. By 6 months the longest time spent apart was 8 hours once. Even when I left her with family, I would feel so guilty and become anxious to get back to her.
When a year hit, I was not ready to go back to work. At a year she is still just a baby. There are still so many firsts that are yet to happen. I’ve come to realize there will always be firsts and I can’t be there for all of them. After a year of being inseparable, we both need to learn how to thrive apart from each other.
The truth is, I will never be ready to go back to work. But, trying to be the perfect mom and wife, consequently I neglected myself. Before being a mom, I had so many goals for myself and my career. Just because I’m a mom doesn’t mean those goals have changed. If anything they are more important now. Because now I have this little girl who is watching everything I do. I want to live by example and be the best role model for her. This means waking up every morning and putting my best foot forward. I do not want to leave her ever, but it is time for me to go back to work.
I just started my new job. This is an exciting, but emotional, new chapter for our family. Starting work on a Wednesday instead of a Monday was a life saver for me. Wednesday morning was full of tears as I left the house. By Friday, Arya was laughing as I walked out the door. Although, I was crying on my way to work, for the third day in a row. I called my mom each day and she reminded me, “This is harder for you than her.” It was true. Arya spent her days with her Auntie Kayla, her Gigi, and her daddy. They sent me videos and pictures proving she was having a great time.
My brain was fried after work this week, but having adult conversation on topics in my field of interest is refreshing. Working is part of what makes me, me. Although, nothing is better than walking in the door at 5:30pm to my daughter’s beautiful face. Now my mornings, evenings, and weekends are filled with extra snuggles and quality time.
I can only hope it gets easier. Maybe the day will come I won’t cry the whole way to work. Hopefully, us being apart will help her independence. Change can be hard, but I think this change will be good.