She sat in the doorway as our car pulled away, waving her sweet little hand with a bit of a puzzled look on her face. Tears started to well up in my eyes as I looked over to my husband. I’ve been doing this for over 10 months now, so why do I still get emotional when we say goodbye?
Maybe it’s because I’m wondering what’s going on in her head. Is she thinking – why do mama and dada drop me off here? Where are they going? Why can’t they take me with them? I know a one-year-old most likely doesn’t have these thoughts, but her sweet eyes tell me that’s what she’s thinking and it breaks my heart.
Returning to work part time after maternity leave was very, very difficult for me. Especially the first day. I’m pretty sure I cried at least three times. I still remember stepping out of the elevator and walking down the same hall my pre-mom-self walked down hundreds of times. Everything looked the same, the coffee tasted exactly like it always had and throughout the floor, I could hear the same typing and clicking noises I heard when I left four months prior. If nothing changed, why did it feel so different?
During my first week back, one of my colleagues (who is a mom herself) asked how I was doing. I replied, “Pretty good. Does it get easier?” She replied, “It’s never easy.” At the time I thought that couldn’t be possible, things had to get easier. If they didn’t, how and why do so many women do it? But she was so right. Almost a year into being a working mom it’s never been easy to leave my daughter, and I know there many mamas who feel the same, but we all keep trekking on because we have to. We do it to provide for our family, or to continue growing in our career, or to find an excuse to have some alone time. We keep a brave face to show our children that work/life balance can be achieved and we make it “look easy” at work so our colleagues will be encouraged when they start thinking about having a family. It doesn’t come easy, but we do it.
That’s the thing about motherhood, whether you’re a working mom or a stay-at-home mom, finding balance for yourself will never come easy. There will always be a pull and tug between your personal interests and your child’s interests, it’s just part of being a mom – we can’t have it all. While finding balance is extreme, thrilling and exhausting, bringing that little, or big, person joy is worth all of the emotions we feel.
The next time you’re working through the not-so-easy task of saying goodbye to your child, or trying to find time for yourself, know that you’re being the best mama you can be. Doing your own thing every once and a while is so important and will bring you happiness, and your joy will make your family stronger and set a great example to your children. Always remember that your fierce love for your child will shine through even during the time you’re away from them.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on finding balance between your interests and being a mom. Comment below!