Mom to Brady and Nina
What did you struggle with most about returning to work after having your kids?
Going from knowing what he was doing every single moment of every single day to only getting notifications every so often throughout the day was a very hard transition...one that I struggled with for a long time.
After having my first child, Brady, I was ready to go back to work. As a new mom, I know that's not what I'm supposed to say or feel, but I was SO ready. Ready to get out of the house, ready to do something for myself, ready to get back into a normal routine...ready to just feel like me again. My job is such a big part of who I am - I enjoyed what I was doing and the people I worked with. However, after returning to work, I started to constantly feel pulled in another direction... thinking about Brady, how & what he was doing. Did he eat enough food? Did he nap well? Did he have a BM today? Was he happy? Going from knowing what he was doing every single moment of every single day to only getting notifications every so often throughout the day was a very hard transition...one that I struggled with for a long time. Then, after having my daughter, Nina, it was like all the same feelings times two.
What do you find difficult about being a working parent?
The absolute hardest thing for me as a working mom is finding the right work/life balance. My son is now 5 and my daughter is 1, and I think I'm just NOW starting to find the balance I need... but it's a constant battle. I'm a perfectionist with a Type A personality. I want to do the job right and stay until it's finished. But at work or at home, I couldn't do that anymore. I needed to leave work by 5:15pm in order to pick up from daycare on time, and I needed to leave the house by 7:15am in order to drop off at daycare & get to work by 8:45am.
My husband obviously helped, too, but at the time he had a job that required him to work longer hours, so during the first 3 years of Brady's life, I felt a lot of pressure on my shoulders. I couldn't stay late or go in early to finish what I was doing, so then I started working after Brady was in bed. For a very long time I didn't feel like I was able to give 100% of myself as a mom, wife, friend, daughter or employee. Even though so many people would tell me that I was giving enough, I didn't believe it myself. My family is my number 1 priority, but trying to balance the other priorities outside of that isn't easy. A little over 5 years later after 1 "too smart for his own good"son, 1 "cool as a cucumber except if she's hangry" daughter, 2 houses and 3 job promotions, I'm finally getting to a place where I'm comfortable.
What do you enjoy about being a working parent?
Going to work every day allows me to still be...me.
I love having something that's my own. I enjoy going to work, being challenged and having adult conversations. Having children completely turned my world upside down and I needed to learn how to be a mom while also not losing who I was before anyone called me "Mama". Going to work every day allows me to still be...me.
After being back at work for some time, have your views about career and family changed?
I don't think my views have changed so much as evolved. I never realized how hard it would be. I don't think anyone does until they experience it themselves. I would not be where I am today without the support of my husband, friends & family. It's true what they say - it really does take a village.
Knowing what you know now, what’s one thing you wish you could go back in time and tell yourself as you were preparing to return to work or getting ramped up in your role?
You can't be in control of everything. I can't control what kind of day my kids have while I'm at work. I can't control the amount of work that gets put on my plate. All I can do is manage - do what I can to set my kids up for a successful day and do what I can to set myself up for success. Everything else... it just is what it is.
What form of childcare do you use, and how do you feel about it?
The in home daycare that we used with Brady was amazing. When he first started, he was the only child there. Which at the time I thought was great because he had her full, undivided attention. She wasn't just a babysitter, she was another parent and teacher who helped raise him into the boy he is today - and I will be forever grateful for that. The one downfall was that as Brady got older, we wanted him to have more interaction with kids his own age, which he unfortunately wasn't getting at his daycare, also after moving, it was a much further drive. So, when we had Nina, we decided to switch, but fortunately found another great in home daycare solution. This one had a lot more kids and was closer to home.