Ok fine. My serious thoughts on working as Mommy.
Oh my. This might have a couple parts. I’m going to try to start from the big picture (for me) and then have other posts about specific times in the process.
First, number one. Parenting and the decision to stay at home or not are not one size fits all. (Otherwise there wouldn’t be books on different parenting methods right?) I have read articles about Leaning In, about why staying at home is best, why working is good for your child, why the working mom is the most underrated job, why the stay at home mom is the most underrated job. I want to say there always seems to be a tone of judgment in most of these articles and that tone simply bothers me. Child raising is hard no matter how you dice it. So for us and for our little family, we both work. It’s an incredibly personal decision and no two people seem to approach it the same.
For me, I had post pardem depression that I think lasted for a year. I stubbornly (and stupidly) did not seek help. At the end of my 9 weeks off, my sister watched Sweetpea until 3 months old, then we had a nanny until 6 months and then daycare (the wait list was long).
So maybe something is wrong with me but I derive a lot of pleasure and happiness from working. I spent a lot of my maternity leave worried that I would hate working, feel guilty for leaving Sweetpea, and not be able to pump. For me, and definitely not all ladies, going back to work was a very good event. My boss was exceptionally understanding (I did a week of half days as I recall, he was completely supportive of pumping, random sick days… because daycare will get all of you horribly sick) and my coworkers were exceptionally helpful.
In my opinion, if working is what moves you, more important than “Leaning In” is finding a company that supports working mothers and has awards to support their claims. This shouldn’t be the case but in the two companies I have worked for since my pregnancy, this has proved to be incredibly helpful (they practiced what they preached). Good companies are looking for good workers. Period. I will say if they support my work/life balance needs I will do whatever I need to do (within working hours).
That all being said, it helps ALOT that I trust and like our daycare. Daycare is part of my village as far as I see it. It also helps that Sweetpea is fairly confident and independent. Today she waved goodbye to me in the morning as if to say “OK, I’m good. You can go now. Don’t embarrass me Mom.” I am proud that she feels that secure in her environment. There are days when she doesn’t and so we read a book at daycare or I stay for a quick morning activity. My job allows for flexible start times… You get your work done. (I really think the company culture has to fit you as much as your skill sets fit the company).
I work my day and feel fulfilled in what I am doing and pick her up. Happy parents, happy family. So if staying home or working makes you happy, it is about providing a loving and supportive environment for your child.