When I went back to work after Charlotte was born it was at 2:00am. I dragged myself out of bed and away from my baby to report the news. That was January, 2011. For another year I left my infant each day to go to work. It was hard, but she had great care at a great school. I changed careers a year later in February, 2012 and started at a PR agency. It was a good move for me. I love my coworkers. I love working with clients. I like having my weekends off and not being a slave to the news cycle. Life at a PR agency can be hectic, but rewarding.
For three years I prided myself on being a do-it-all working mother. I was proud of how much my daughter was learning at her school. That made the steep monthly payments more justifiable. I went to all the class events I could. My house was often messy. We could only have playdates on the weekends. I used the hashtag #workingmother. Most of all, we were an insanely busy family, but life was good.
This month I went back to work when Henry was 9 weeks old. We found a great sitter for him with a better price than Charlotte’s daycare. She is a wonderful teacher and caretaker for my baby. She helped soothe the harsh wound of leaving him.
But, this time going back to work was different. Yes, I felt the same stress of having two working parents trying to get a baby out the door and I longed for my children, but it was worse. I was missing it. Missing everything. The first time I went back it was always with the thought in the back of my mind, “Well, I could always stay at home with the next one.” Plus, most of my salary goes to childcare.
I never pictured myself as a stay-at-home mom. Don’t get me wrong, they are fascinating! I would be in my suit on my lunch break and see them in line at Panera or Chipotle. They would be in yoga pants and have their tots in jogging strollers. I would push aside the pacifiers in my purse to get to my wallet. I would see them with their babies and my heart ached for my own. That’s when I would do a quick countdown to the number of hours left in my work day. Except, I knew that likely wouldn’t be the end as I would surely be on the laptop answering emails after bedtime. I would look at these women and wonder, “What do they DO all day?” as my phone buzzed in my pocket with backed up emails.
Well, I’m about to find out what they do all day.
After coming back it hit me like a ton of bricks. I stared at the computer in my office and I knew it wasn’t right. My shoulders were tense and there was a weight on my chest. It was just all wrong. I think I had to go back to work after maternity leave to know that my heart was calling me home.
But, what about my resume? What about the 8 years of my life I poured into a career in TV news, dragging myself into work at all hours of the night and day to keep pushing to be promoted? What about my 2 years at a PR agency, learning so much about the different industries of our clients and offering my news expertise? Would it all be for nothing? I worked hard and I’m proud of what I accomplished.
A fellow working mom said it best, “What’s a year gap in your resume? You wouldn’t be the first mother to do that.” True. I told Greyson, “If I don’t do it now, when would I? When they’re older and don’t want to hang out with their mom?” No, it’s now or never.
So, a week-and-a-half after maternity leave I told them I was leaving. Get this. I swear it’s a freakin’ dream come true, ya’ll. They want me to still work in a freelance/consultant capacity. I’m still an employee. My first gig is in March. Seriously? Is this real life? How awesome is that?! I’m feeling so, so blessed.
We are sad we’ll have to take Charlotte out of her daycare. She has been with those kids since she was 3 months old. Her teachers are wonderful. But, blessings continue as I found a part-time preschool that can take her in March after she finishes her last month at her current daycare in February.
Sometimes everything comes together and all things point to a certain decision. Yeah, it’s still a risk. What if it’s not what I think it will be? How long will I do this? Do I have to use the hashtag #SAHM?
Friday is my last day. Here goes nothing…or something.