The Secret Society of Motherhood...
The $H!T no one talks about.
We’re all hip to the notion of having some type of work/life balance. We hear it from our loved ones, our coworkers, and our bosses of its importance, but as a working mom, is there REALLY a work/life balance? I gave birth to my son in May 2021 and returned to work in August 2021. After experiencing the United States UNPAID maternity leave...I have some questions for these lawmakers.
How is this unpaid maternity leave policy even fair to those who have to financially support our families and be a primary caretaker of a NEWBORN. I want to take a wild guess that this law, in particular, was created by men. The financial pressures to return to work and the pressures of taking all the time legally allowed to bond with your new baby is beyond tough. Not only have our bodies went through a physically traumatic birthing process, but mentally are hormones, baby blues, and postpartum depression are all showing their ugly heads. ITS. TEW. MUH. We literally baked a tiny human for months, had them removed from our bodies, took them home after 2-3 days (God willing) and spent the next couple of months not knowing what day it is due to sleep deprivation. We are expected to make a complete physical and mental bounce back and get back to work in 6 to 12 weeks. Sounds doable right?? WRONG. It's the pits and not enough moms speak out about it. We are superhuman but we are also a big part of that word too, HUMAN. WE need more time to recovery. We need more time to bond with our babies who need us in every aspect. We need more time to figure out who's the woman looking back at us when we look in the mirror.
Returning back to work...during a pandemic....while working from home, has been tough. I'm the primary caregiver of my son during the work day and a Team Lead for my job. I've spent most of my professional career being a worker bee. Rising up in the ranks within my chosen profession. Receiving promotion after well deserved promotion. I'm proud of myself. I've made a lot of career advancement in my short amount of time in the professional workforce, but being a working MOM has its own set of new challenges, mom guilt.
Mom guilt is a real thing, that no on talks about. I've spent that last 10 years as a professional, priding myself on always being quick on my feet and on point. Working full time with a baby has really allowed me to shed my character trait of being a perfectionist. I had to give myself grace. I had to be ok with me leading an important meeting and my little baby screaming at the top of his lungs because he's recently found his voice. I had to be ok with scheduling meetings around his feeding and nap time. I had to be ok with conducting meetings with him sleeping in my arms. I gave myself the grace that I deserved. I wrote sticky notes and place them on my work computer to remind myself "you're doing a good job", "you're a great mom", "BREATHE", and "give yourself grace". I constantly have to remind myself I am a mom FIRST. I had to remind myself that I'm a working mom who has the luxury to be with my son everyday during his first year of life. Never having to miss a little or big milestone because he's at day care or with a sitter. I'm grateful for this in so many ways. I HAD to find gratitude to get me through my work days and to be ok with the little hiccups that happen because I'm working from home with a newborn. Leaning on other working moms is another key that helps me through tough days. Those coworkers who randomly chat me "you're doing a good job", gives me some reassurance that I'm still that professionally dynamic woman, working hard and making strides for my company. It's my program director who schedules weekly check-in meetings with me offering her transparent advice about being a working mom that gives me the boost that I need when I feel like I'm the only mom in the world experiencing mom guilt. It's my own mom, at the drop of dime, driving two hours to watch my son, while she's also working remotely, so I could give a 30 minute presentation to my senior leadership because she could tell how stressed I was. I realize that support comes in many different ways. Being a working mom, I have to allow myself to be ok with asking for help and receiving encouragement.
Being a mom has definitely made me reevaluate my future career goals. I've been working since the age of 16. I've been on my career path of upward mobility for the past 10 years. I've reach a six figure salary I've never thought I'd see before the age of 30. Now what?....I'll tell you what, I want to be a mom, uninterrupted. I don't want the constant tug of war of having to split my time and attention between my son and my job. I want to put that same energy I placed into my career for the past 10 years into being a great mother. I'm willing to walk away from my lucrative salary to fulfill this desire. I've found my purpose. I pray to God daily that He allows me to fulfill this desire. It's 113% true that having a child will change your prospective on life and what's important. Money isn't always the motive. Life experiences and being present for your children are. In this season of my life, family and motherhood are my top priorities.
We shall see where God leads me and my career. To be continued....