Picture this with me: You have just given birth to your beautiful baby boy or girl. One month in and you start to feel some sense of normalcy. You've now graduated from one shower every three days to showering at least once a day! Things still feel somewhat chaotic because the baby isn't on a consistent sleep schedule. Which means most days you're extremely tired. By the time month two rolls around, you're still in survival mode, but now you may be thinking about having to return to work (especially if you live in the United States). Depending on your line of work or your financial circumstances, you may not have the opportunity to stay home for the full 12 weeks following the birth of your child. And of course those 12 weeks aren't paid in full *major eye roll*. So while most of us would like to solely focus on caring for our child and adjusting to the many curveballs of transitioning into motherhood, we are having to shift our focus to worrying about job security and expensive childcare.
The anxiety is setting in as we worry about this question: What's it gonna be? Do I stay home and sacrifice my salary or do I return to work and trust that someone else will care for my child in the way I would want them to??? There is the option to work from home and care for your child, but just the thought of doing both of those things full time sounds overwhelming... and trust me it is! I've been there and I'm still doing that. Now that my third maternity leave is coming to an end and I have to transition back to work, one thing has been clear to me: EVERY mother should be paid and given the option to stay home for at least the first year of their child's life. I understand not every mom will choose to stay home because they love their job and may be looking forward to returning to work. However, I still believe that we all should be given this option.
Think about how different our experiences as moms would be if we could utilize the first year of our child's life to really focus on adjusting to this new life change. We would truly be able to take the time we need to learn who this new human is as they learn who we are. We would be able to take time to rediscover ourselves and what's important to us. There are so many moments and experiences we wouldn't have to miss if we didn't have to choose between work and our babies. We would have the opportunity to bond and grow in our new title as mom.
Here's what I'll say to you... momma, if you are struggling right now with the thought of returning back to work, know that you're not alone. I'm not going to tell you that it gets easier, because then I'd be lying. What I will say is, be sure to surround yourself with supportive people who will encourage and lift you up. Connect with other moms and build amazing friendships. Most importantly, seek therapy if you need to in order to take care of your emotional and mental wellbeing. As for now, continue enjoying the time you have with your special little human!