I come from an insanely long line of stay-at-home moms. My mom stayed home, her mom stayed home and I can almost guarantee that all the cute little Italian ladies back in Europe stayed home too.
So when I broke the mold by deciding not only to go back to work but forfeit my last few months of mat leave to go back EARLY, I thought people’s heads were going to explode. Cue the guilt.
But a few things fell into place that I just couldn’t ignore:
– I got offered an amazing opportunity at a great company
– I found a daycare provider that I LOVED and she was about to fill her last remaining spot
– Ollie started being more active and was SUPER bored at home but I couldn’t muster up the energy to do a million things with him all day
We took the plunge. And to my surprise it was the BEST thing that could have happened for my family. So for all you moms that are back at work or going back to work soon I want to say you got this. And I want to say this loud and proud: I DON’T FEEL GUILTY. If anything I feel guilty for not feeling guilty. Because I LOVE being back at work and it has made me a better mom. Here’s how:
My patience bucket is full. When I stayed home all day my fuse was insanely short. There’s something about the groundhog day of motherhood (eat, clean, play, poop, sleep, repeat x a million) that is insanely draining. So when that tiny human also decides to be a total whiny monster all day it robs you of every last ounce of patience you had left. It meant that Ollie didn’t always get the best of me- he got tired, cranky, moody mom right back. Now that I’m at work and have had some time away during the day, I have WAY more patience to deal with his needs and mood swings. I actually look forward to the extra snuggles because it means he still needs me.
I’m in control of my life again. And that makes me happy. I think one of the biggest shocks when I became a mom was how much I wasn’t in the driver’s seat of my own life anymore. Everything I did revolved around nursing schedules, nap schedules, whether my son allowed me to leave the room without a meltdown that day, his mood that day, and whether he decided he would sleep more than 4 hours overnight. I couldn’t just do what I wanted anymore. Now, I can drink a hot coffee, eat and pee in peace whenever I want! Maybe even have a meal at a restaurant with coworkers over lunch or go to the gym. It’s a beautiful thing. And guess what? All this new-found freedom makes me a happier person that looks forward to nights and weekends with my family. I have the energy to get out and do things with my son. I soak up all the little moments. I get through the hard days because I know freedom is around the corner.
My son is happy and thriving. I think we need to give ourselves more credit by realizing that we are STILL being active, caring parents when we send our kids to daycare. I didn’t pick just any daycare provider. I wanted to make sure that I picked someone who was nurturing, provided play-based learning opportunities, and made healthy, homemade meals for the kids. Because those are things that are important to ME as a mom. Why don’t we have any guilt when we send our kids off to school to learn and socialize? Why does it have to be any different when we send our kids to daycare? I’m the first to admit that I wasn’t able to provide all the socialization and sensory development that my son needed. Daycare helps fill that void. And I’ve already seen him progress by leaps and bounds because of it.
All in all, it’s been a very positive experience so far. I know this isn’t the reality for everyone (especially those with older children that can communicate their feelings or when the provider isn’t the right fit from the start). And this in no way is meant to take away from the value of SAHMs. I just want to offer a different perspective and say we are all doing an amazing job no matter what we choose do to for our families. Keep on keepin’ on ladies! I’ll be here sippin’ on freshly brewed coffee 😉