On 15th July 2015 a new us was born. Birth of a new us as individuals and as a couple and ofcourse as a family. And just like that suddenly all of life decisions are influenced by just one factor… parent intuition.
You can ask people for their experiences… and hear their stories and yet nothing seems to help you until you feel it in your gut. And your intuitive side tells you, yes I need to do this. And believe me once you have a child your intuition becomes stronger… so your logical and emotional brain can work out the pros and cons all night and then suddenly you will find yourself acting in a way that you hadn’t even considered.
My journey as a working mom was one of those intuition driven decisions. Since the day I conceived, the organised me had a plan. Till when I would work… what kind of maternity package I want… when would I join back… who would help with the baby… etc. And am sure all mommies reading this now would be laughing and going ‘ya right… all the best!’ For the soon to be mommies… don’t be scared! My planning wasn’t an all fail. Having a plan helped… but note to self (or others) always have a plan B and C and if not then remember if the plans don’t work it’s ok… be gentle on yourself, your partner and your child.
So in short plan A didn’t work for me. I had to take my maternity leave earlier than planned as I was put on bed rest. I thought I would have a nanny to help me but couldn’t find anyone good enough. My mother and MIL pitched in with baby care but on most days we had to manage by ourself. But surprisingly the same work (which I was dying to get back to) which drove me… inspired me… seemed to fill me with guilt and exhaustion. My parent intuition told me you aren’t ready! We weren’t ready.
So yes I quit my beloved job, felt like I lost my daily dose of my inner circle of friends, battled with post partum depression but at the same time started writing, spent a lot of time baking but most importantly spent hours being with my child creating memories for myself. Despite all the struggles now It all sounds so happy and romantic but believe me it was not easy. Every day was a new day, and brought with it it’s challenges and successes. No one ever said parenting was easy.
Luckily this story has a happy ending (or middle). I am back at work full time in the same organisation I left. My daughter is all of four. Both my husband and I are doing well professionally and we have a happy healthy home with our child and dog.
Lots of people ask me what it is like to be a working mom. And honestly I don’t know how it is because I don’t know any other way of being a mother. Emotionally my family fills my life with all I need and intellectually my work keeps me ignited. And now we have reached a stage in our parenthood where we both seem to have a routine of work, home and leisure activities.
Is there a work home balance… hmm… I am not sure. I don’t think it can be balanced. Some days one will take more time and energy. But to all working moms or actually working parent(s) I can say it can be done. Be patient. You will have to take it slow. When I took slow at work for child my husband had to take it slow with parenting. So we both compromised. So that’s brings me to my second point. Have a co-parent. The days I whined about being stuck at home he whined about being away from home. So we both made sacrifices. And we also took all decisions together. Me quitting my job and then starting work again was a collective choice so that we could plan our home scene accordingly, also because the days I felt low he was there to hold me. Thirdly do fight for yourself. If something is important for you fight for it. Only you can fight for it and no one else will. When I was ready to go back to work I started with little bits and worked my way up. And sometimes that meant having too much on my plate but I knew I wanted it for myself and no other reason. And vice versa it meant letting go of some things at work too. Never forget, you can’t have it all. In fact you never had it all even before a baby. You need to redefine what you want for yourself. How I measured my success or contributions at work before baby to now has changed drastically. And this holds true for my husband. He once said to me “I can take up a better paying job in a bigger company but that means no family time. It’s not worth it.”
Why you choose to work after a baby is as important why you had a child. Things change… they have to. But you can still have fun and do what you want and be a great parent. And as you gently nurture your child to become healthy, happy and self sufficient, do that for your self and your life (work or home). One baby step at a time… 🙂