work and life and balance and survival.

i wrote this post almost two months ago, as the full weight of going back to work was hitting me. after i wrote this, i became almost paralyzed with the idea of going back and pretty much just turned inward to focus on my little family. it was one of the most emotionally difficult times of my life and it’s the reason that i haven’t been here writing (along with the sheer exhaustion of working and parenting at the same time…it is no joke!). i’m finally starting to see clearly again, and when i came upon this in my drafts, it still rang so true for me that i wanted to share it. these are some of my most honest feelings i’ve ever put into words on the topic of being a mom and working in today’s world. i hope you take them as such.

also, please read to the end for an update on where all of this stands now.

amelia is three months old and i go back to work in a month. i know how lucky i am to get four months with her, and to have a job that allows me that balance with a new little one. but i am just dying inside at the thought of going back. it keeps me up at night.

there are parts of going back to work that i’m really looking forward to. it’ll be nice to have a break every day from the constant diapers and putting down for naps. i can’t wait to see my friends at work again, i’ve missed coffee breaks and jazz salad lunches. using my brain for something other than childhood development will be great.

other than that, i’m really not looking forward to not being with my baby all day every day. i love watching her learn new things, and watching her develop her skills. i’m so afraid i’m going to miss her roll over for the first time, or not be there to hear her babble her first word. i know it’s not for everybody, but i truly enjoy being a mom. it’s fulfilling for me to help my child become  a wonderful person who is intelligent and kind and self-sufficient. and i think i’m the best person to do it. right now, our life does not allow me to stay home…those pesky health benefits are much easier to have through a job than through the individual market.

the one thing that’s keeping me going is that my company is so great about supporting a work/life balance. because there is no way to do it all both places. i don’t care what all these women say about it being possible to be great at work and be the best mom at home. it isn’t possible without a lot of help. without an employer who supports you not only as an employee but also as a parent, there is no way you can do both well. or, more to the point, there is no way you can do either well.

i happen to be one of the lucky ones. i work somewhere that allows me to take a long maternity leave, and gives enough vacation days that i can be with my baby when i need to be. i even have a hope that one day, i’ll be able to have a schedule that allows me to be at home one part of the week, and in the office the other part*. and i truly believe that they will help me do that.

but if it ever comes to the point where i just can’t do it, where i can’t stand to be away from A. for a whole week…we will just find another way. because as much as i like my job, as much as i like the people and being a valuable part of a team there, they will survive without me. and i will survive without them. because jobs are replaceable, but my family is not.

it is as simple as that. i have never been so certain of anything in my life as the importance of allowing yourself to want the kind of life you want, whether that’s working or staying home. it’s about finding the balance you need, and surviving through these crazy adventures of parenthood//adulthood//life.

*as of this posting, i am happy to report that i am now working a 75% schedule, which allows me to be home with amelia two days a week. i could not be more excited to work for such a wonderful company that values me enough to help me do this, and i’m even more excited to spend the majority of my days with my beautiful daughter. happily ever after.   

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