When I was pregnant with my daughter, I was working as a regional manager for a health club. I had worked there for 9 years. My plan was to work up until the day I gave birth and to take a 3 month maternity leave. But it is hard for a first time mother to anticipate the roller coaster of emotions, the lack of sleep and the absolute need a newborn has for her mother. As my leave neared I knew there was no way that I would be able to return to work. My daughter needed me. I made the decision not to return to work. We had saved up our money and we were fortunate enough that I was able to do this. That first year was a difficult one, but it was also amazing. I never had to regret missing the first time she rolled over or sat up or took her first steps. I didn’t want to hear about it from somebody else. I wanted to witness it all myself. Mommy screamed, and clapped & smiled watching each of these momentous moments.
As her first birthday approached, money was getting tighter and it was sadly time to re-enter the workforce. A month after she blew out that first candle, mommy head out for her first day of work. I cried the whole drive in. All of my friends assured me that it would get easier. “You will grow to appreciate it”, they said. “You will get used to it”. I have now been a working mother for the exact same time that I was a stay at home mom and guess what… it has not gotten easier.
I love my daughter first thing in the morning. Of course I love her all the time, but when she first wakes up in the morning she is a delight. Truth be told, I miss her in the overnight & she misses me too. When I hear that angelic little voice calling “Maaaaaammmaaaaa.”, my heart melts. When I see the face that goes with that voice, I see love. I get very little time with her in the morning before I have to head off to work, so I try to make every second count. I squeeze in a few moments of hugs, tickles and play, just so that she can remember that mommy is fun & funny and loves her. I worry that she will forget. Then I watch her blow kisses to me from the window as I pull out of the driveway.
This morning was a particularly hard day for me. My daughter was clingier than usual and clung to me like a baby koala climbing up a eucalyptus tree. I told her that I had to go to work. “Noooo Mama!” Ouch, my heart hurts a little. Usually I will have to pull her away no matter how much it I don’t want to, but today I just couldn’t. Today, I was late for work.
I know that it is a lot of work staying at home with your little ones. I remember it well, but sometimes I really wish that my only full time position was mommy.