There was never a question during both of my maternity leaves about not going back to work. I love my job. I love my career. I crave the adult interaction. I need the
stress structure of a career outside the home.
My first week back I tried to be that same professional I was 12 weeks earlier. I tried to leave all the mommy stuff at home [well, minus the black bag ;)]. I tried to be ONLY the title on my business card between 8 and 5. Prior to having a family, I didn’t think twice about scheduling an after 5 meeting or the early morning coffee with a client. I was motivated and driven by my career. But now, I am a mom as well. A “career-mom.”
Then one day I set my timer. 34 minutes. I held my sweet baby boy for a total of 34 minutes that day.
That is the moment I went from “career-mom” to “working-mom.” For the first 7+ years of my career, I worked hard at advancing – eagerly accepting additional projects, participating in trainings, conferences, you name it. I couldn’t keep up the pace.
So for the time being, I’m perfectly fine with the title of “working-mom.” I show up to the office. I give full attention and focus to my job. But I have had to pause on looking too far into the future and trying to plan out my career and trying to figure out where I will be in 3, 5 or 10 years.
Not in this stage. Right now, I’m working on becoming the best mom I can be and the best employee in my current role (it’s still challenging and I’m still learning every day). I have had to create my own barriers – some days that means a working lunch at my desk, so I can leave in time for daycare pickup and spend more than 34 minutes with my youngest.
Did I get pushback? Did I get the side-eye? You bet I did. I was pushing back. I was giving myself the side-eye. When I learned to let go, I realized I was surrounded by an amazing village. My husband. My co-workers – especially the other moms in my office (regardless of the stage of motherhood they were in). The list goes on.
I am confident that there will be a time when I go back to being a “career-mom” and fill my calendar with early-morning meetings, work-trips, volunteer for additional responsibilities and after-five drinks again. But let’s be honest, its way too hard to switch bags every day, so for now, my business cards are in my diaper bag.