Being a new mom is hard, I think we can all agree on that. Throw in a move across the country while pregnant to a city where you know pretty much no one, start a new, demanding job, and things can be downright brutal. It hasn’t been an easy first six months.
Big life changes can be hard. Starting a new job while pregnant is hard. Going into early labor when you have been at said new job for just a little over a month, harder. Going back to work after just 5 short weeks and having to relearn everything quickly on a sleep deprived, emotion fueled roller coaster – shitty. No other word to describe the feelings I felt in those first few months trying to navigate both motherhood and a new job.
I went back and forth on whether I even wanted to work. Should I be a stay at home mom? Or quit my job for a less demanding one? Work part time? Could my family afford that? So many sleepless nights, not always caused by the baby, but by my emotions of mom guilt and feeling torn about, well, everything. I weighed all my options. Reading every article, blog and book I could get my hands on about work after baby. Applying to at least a dozen other jobs that I thought would be “easier”. I debated doing something entirely different than what I had built my career on the last 10 + years. Ready to give it all up if it meant I would be a better mom, or what I thought would make me a better mom.
I fell into a funk, feeling like a bit of mom-poster both at work and at home. When I was at work, I would think constantly about my babe. Was she ok? Did she need me? Were her needs being met? When I was at home, I would worry about all the work I needed to do. All the deadlines coming up. Worried about being judged for missing days whenever baby T got sick (and babies in daycare get sick A LOT!). Worried that others noticed my foggy brain or my feelings of not really wanting to be there. And, being new, I thought I still needed to prove my worth.
I have two masters, I have a wealth of experience! Yet, I didn’t feel adequate anymore. I felt like a failure. And, all I wanted to do was be home for my baby girl! Be the best mom I could be!
The first couple of months leaving baby T at daycare were gut wrenchingly painful for me. I cried on the way to work, I cried at work and I cried randomly thinking I was failing her by putting her in the care of someone else. She was in daycare with awesome teachers, but they weren’t me. They couldn’t love and take care of her like I do. I was supposed to take care of her. I am her mom!
Now just over six months into motherhood, I am learning to be ok with not being perfect. I am learning to be ok with other people taking care of my baby while I work. It isn’t easy and I still struggle every day, but we are making it work for us.
The push and pull of it all is still there. I can’t say the guilt is gone or the feeling of not being the best. But, I am learning to be the best I can. I know that for me, I need to work outside the home. It’s not for everyone, but it somehow keeps me sane. Even if it makes me crazy at times, too.
I am learning just how lucky I have it. My boss lets me work from home and never judges when I ask for a day off. My co-workers have been supportive and understanding. I am learning that being a working mom doesn’t make me a bad mom at all! I may not be able to do everything I want, but I am making the most of it and learning that I don’t have to be perfect at everything. And, I just keep trying to be as good as I can be.
In the end, I know I am so incredibly blessed! I have a happy, healthy baby. My husband is great not only to me, but a great father to baby T. I get to watch my little one grow up, explore, and learn. I get to be her momma and that makes this all so very much worth it! Even if I still don’t know what the hell I am doing…