As some of you know, a few months ago I returned to full time work. If I can give one piece of advice to women planning to return to work, it would be this: don’t move to a new country, start your kids in a new daycare AND return to the work in the same month. What seemed like pure dumb luck – being able to move and start work and daycare right away, was actually more dumb than anything else.
I took on too much, too soon and it nearly broke me.
Phew, it feels good to admit that out loud.
Returning to full time work is a big ass decision. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Even if you don’t turn the rest of your life upside down at the same time, returning to work is still a daunting undertaking.
It was insane and overwhelming and the absolute best decision I ever made.
So with all of that in mind, I’ll now share what it was really like to return to work after having kids.
My first few months were a mixture of pure enjoyment and pure terror. Being in an office, surrounded by adults that did not know or care about my kids, was awesome. I felt reinvented as my pre-baby self. I was just me, not mommy, not wife, not cook, caregiver and chief cleaner. And I will admit, I revelled in it. Sitting in meetings listening to grown-ups talk without interruption felt luxurious. Eating what I wanted, when I wanted, and eating all of it was something I had forgotten was possible.
The terror came when I got home. When was I to do my mommy work? Would we run out of food and clean clothes? Would mould grow up the bathroom walls? I struggled and struggled with the burden of condensing my mommy duties into the 13 hours left in my day. I drowned under a wave of guilt and fear and frustration because I still had to do all of my previous chores and work 40 hours as well.
Those first few months were some of the most stressful of my life. I broke out with zits, had acid reflux, stopped pooping, couldn’t stop pooping. Every week my body found a new way to scream at my that I was doing TOO MUCH!
But I got through it all because I am a mom. I carried a child for 39 weeks…twice. I lost my identity, freedom, and took on an unimaginable responsibility twice and came through to the other side. After that, a few months of stress and misery in order to do something I loved seemed like nothing.
Should you return to work after having a baby? I have no idea. Only you can answer that. But if you really love your job, if you find it to be rewarding, you CAN get through the dark period. You are a mom, you are a superwoman and you can do anything you WANT to do.Trust me, I’m living proof.