After 3 months of exhausting but extremely rewarding maternity leave, I have returned to work this week. Just like that the new mom life that I just became adjusted to collided with my old work life with full force. And like most collisions, there were adrenaline infused emotions of regret, loss, and guilt. Regret for not preparing better for a balance between my career and family… Loss for my bonding moments with my precious tiny boy… Guilt for not being there for the child I brought into this world… And at the same time, these adrenaline fueled emotions were also full of excitement for new challenges in my career, happiness to see my coworkers again, and relief to have adult conversations without yelling over a screaming child.
As I walk the halls of work, my coworkers smile at me and welcome me back. I return the smile and hold back the tears while they innocently ask me questions about my new baby. I show them pictures of my little everything, and inevitably they ask if I’m adjusting ok to being back at work. I’ve been asked some form of this question so many times that I have settled on a generic answer, “Yes, I am sad to be away from my son, but I am ready to get back into the swing of things here.”
When I return back to my mom life in the evenings, the tears come. The struggles that were felt when we first brought the tiny human home from the hospital returns as we try to figure out how to adjust to this new schedule. Feeding and sleeping become battles that are eventually won but not without a little loss of sanity.
The pull of my heart from one extreme to the other has been such a shock to me. The sensation of feeling so many different emotions at once is something hard to describe. I believe that’s why us moms develop these quick generic answers to questions about the delicate balance between work and home. The truth is not only difficult to explain, but it’s also guaranteed to make most people uncomfortable. So we respond politely, then do our best to bury the pain that we are feeling so we can let the joy that we are also feeling shine.
That is my truth. Now that it is the weekend, I can reflect on this milestone I just crossed and feel good about the decisions I have made. I feel pride for facing the challenge head-on… I feel respect for all the women that have faced it before me… I feel trust that my baby is getting exactly what he needs… And I feel faith that I can indeed find a balance that will let me have it all.
In the comments below, let others know your truth. What were some ways you adjusted when your mom life came in contact with your work life?
Until next time,