The things I didn't know about being a working mom. - Behind the Camera and Dreaming

The things I didn't know about being a working mom.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

I've been writing this post on and off for about two weeks, maybe a little longer. Then after J having another couple of tear filled mornings, I decided to revisit it while sitting down for lunch.

Two years ago this week, I returned to work, when Jonah was exactly two months old. At the time, I really wasn't looking forward to going back, dreading it actually, but there was no way out of it. I'd gone through the money I'd saved when I left my previous job and reached the limit on any credit card spending. It had to be done. I'd always planned on going back, but my experience surprised me. It was much harder than I expected. Everyone said things like "it'll get better" "he'll be fine" "he'll adjust, you'll adjust" and many other things that I also told myself, but in my personal experience those things didn't exactly happen. 

I had never considered not working when I became a mom. My parents both worked, most of my friends parents worked, it was just how it was and is, but the minute I was asked to leave MY baby (even with one of the people I trust most in the world - my mom) everyday for 9+ hours while I went and spend my time with other people it was a shock to my system.

I didn't break down the first day or really even the first week.

It was after pumping and pumping in my cold small office in an attempt to keep my son breast fed instead of actually holding and breast feeding my son and then giving up at four months old. It was after he wouldn't nurse at night, because he was bottle fed during the day. It was when I realized I was overly tired when I finally got to see him after a long day and when he started crying in the mornings because he wanted me to hold him and I was in a rush to get out the door. I just didn't know there would be so many little things that would add up in my mind and heart to this big thing - keeping me from being the best mom I can be for him.

Two years later here I am still breaking down when he says in the sweetest voice I know "I want you to stay with me".


I just didn't know I would feel this way.

I didn't know that even worse than him begging me to stay is spending all morning in a battle with him and then by the time we get home at night, it's time for another because we have so much to accomplish to get to bedtime. I know this is a phase, and he is going through a particularly tantrumy period but sometimes I feel like I'm missing out on the good parts.

I didn't know I would have such a desire to be the one to teach his letters and numbers and colors. I didn't know I'd be jealous of the time others get to spend with him. I didn't know, that at least once a week, in the battle to get to work or get home, I'd wind up with my feelings hurt.

I didn't know I'd come to resent my job and the fact that I need to work.
I didn't know I'd consider almost every day how I could do something else that didn't require me to be stuck all day away from him.
I didn't know I'd put extra pressure on my husband to make it all better.
I didn't know that I'd lay awake at night trying to figure out how I'll manage the future and all the "extras" when he starts school and t-ball or whatever he chooses.
I didn't know that I'd have overwhelming anxiety during a storm or when the news is dark and I just want to be near him.
I just didn't know.

All of these things, two years later, and it doesn't feel "better" and I don't feel "adjusted". Some days frankly it feels worse than the first day I had to leave him.





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1 comments

  1. I can see how it would become more difficult to drop him off at 2yrs. vs. 2-months. You KNOW him now and he is a person with feelings and passion (rather than just an eating heartbeat).

    Why is there not a PERFECT balance for moms? I was home for 6 years and I completely WASTED that time – wishing I was working. With my whole being I regretted staying home. I was "wasting my life" teaching letters and numbers. (I can't even believe I'm saying that...but those were honest daily emotions.)

    The point is...it's torture whatever way you go. Only you can make that balance for yourself and it takes an endless amount of soul searching to be at peace with balancing work and kiddos. I am working 30 hrs/week now and couldn't be happier with my new "normal."

    The thing is...one day things will change...might be 4 years from now...but change will come and for a second you'll think, "This was what I needed all along." But then you'll stop yourself and NEVER wish the past were different and you'll take the present as more of a gift.

    Hang in there. It's a bumpy ride for your heart. Jonah will thrive regardless – you are fabulous.

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