My thoughts on being a working mom and how I balance it all (or at least try to)!
This post has taken a long time to even think about writing. I am not someone who shares a lot, but I am trying to open up more and more. What is the point of having a blog about my life if you don’t really know me?! So, here it goes. Working mom. Those are two words I would have never thought would describe me. Not in the traditional sense, at least.
Growing up, my mom stayed home with my sister and me. My mom and dad own their own businesses, so my mom was able to work at home and take care of us. Honestly, I thought that is what all moms did (I know, my little child brain had no concept of real life). I literally never had a baby sitter, and didn’t understand that not everyone got to see their mom when they got home from school. Clearly, I had no idea how fortunate I was.
When I got pregnant with Lincoln, I didn’t imagine my life would be any different. I wanted to stay home with my child and raise him. I love spending time with him and learning more about him every day. Having only been at my new (and wonderful) job a few months before I got pregnant, my husband urged me to at least try going back to work. I compromised and said I would try. Financially, it is the right decision for our family, but I still don’t like it. Although I do want to be able to give Lincoln whatever he needs in life, and that always requires money.
Little known fact: I am really stubborn and will find any way to get what I want, and I was determined to get my way in this. During my 12-week maternity leave, I was filled with constant anxiety about returning to work and just couldn’t imagine life that way. Spending hours away from my child was not something I could mentally cope with. I’m pretty sure I cried every. single. day. just thinking about it.
I was so angry I had to go back to work so soon. If you compare America to other countries in terms of maternity leave, our standards are basically barbaric. I was only given six paid weeks of leave (my husband also got six weeks of paid leave) and I took an additional six weeks using my own paid time off and unpaid time off. Again, I realize this is generally more than other people receive, but our standards are so low we don’t even realize how horrible that is. I’m pretty sure in some states you can’t take puppies away from their mothers until after eight weeks.
Also, we found out right before I had to go back to work that Lincoln would need physical therapy twice a week for the next few months. He was born with torticollis, which basically means he has a tight neck muscle that causes him to only position his head one way. And because of his head positioning, he has developed plagiocephaly, and he will need a cranial band to reshape his little head. I’ll be writing more about our experience with this soon.
So, Lincoln needs physical therapy and I needed flexibility with going back to work, which I didn’t even want to do. All of this coupled with the fact that I was experiencing (and am still dealing with) anxiety after giving birth felt completely overwhelming. Leaving Lincoln in the care of any one else on this planet made me want to throw up. No one knows him like I do, and what if something happens? I need to be there to make sure he is the happiest and healthiest he can be. I didn’t want anyone else taking him to physical therapy or doctor’s appointments. I’m his mom and I need to be there. These are the thoughts that battled (and continue to battle) in my head every second I’m away from him while I’m at work.
After speaking with my bosses at work, I was able to work out a flexible schedule that allows me to be home with Lincoln much more and present at every single one of his physical therapy sessions. Without their empathy and understanding, I wouldn’t have been mentally able to go back to work. I probably would have just refused. Granted, I’m still not ready to be back, but this flexible schedule and understanding made it a tiny bit better.
On top of being a mom, wife, sister, daughter, and employee, I also have this blog. Having this as a creative outlet has helped me keep my sanity. While I wish this was my full time hustle, for now it is still my side gig. Until then, I plan to hustle until my goals are accomplished.
Being a mom has been one of the most rewarding, challenging, emotional, *every single feeling under the sun* experience of my life. Trying to be everything all at once has made me appreciate my mom and all the moms I know in a whole new way. Basically, I’m still trying to find the balance, but I’m not sure there is one. I’m pretty sure something is going to have to give eventually, but until then, I’ll just keep taking each day/hour/minute as it comes. Because that’s all moms really can do! If you’re a mom, how do you manage it all?! I’ll take any advice and tips I can get!
Photography by Paige Winn Photo