I spent the day in the office today. Not yet officially back from maternity leave, I went in to lend a hand to the very busy team and to make use of one the “keeping in touch” days I’m allowed during my maternity leave period.
It was nice….
It was nice to dress up and put on heels (unnecessary, but nice nonetheless).
It was nice to use my brain and once again connect to an industry that I love so much.
It was nice to feel needed by the team and to feel that I still have worth within my workplace.
So why do I feel guilty?
My son was at home spending the day with his Grandma who no doubt spoilt him with endless hugs and kisses. He probably had no idea I wasn’t even there. All he knows at this young age is hunger and love and both of those would have been taken care of in abundance. Yet I cant seem to shake that feeling in my stomach that being there makes me less of a mum.
Is it wrong, that only 7 weeks in, I’m ready for stimulation outside of my motherly bubble?
Society is making me feel like it is. I have found myself explaining my choices to complete strangers. Not only about today’s little workplace stint but also about my plans to return to the workforce part-time in August. “That’s not long off from work” people quip, “gosh, are you sure you’ll be ready?” numerous people ask. The truth of the matter is, financially we don’t have a choice. But even if we did, I’d be going back.
It will be with the needs of my son in the forefront of my mind and of course, things will need to adapt, but with or without the financial burden that forces my hand, I’m ready, even now, to get back into the workforce.
Intentional or not, many people have made me feel guilty. Made me question my decisions and my desire to return to work.
According to many, a new mum should be home (apparently for a year). For many, being out of the workforce is a relief and something to be relished. For many, the fact that I am going back to work sooner than most, makes me less of a mum. It’s a judgment that although I am sure is not intentional, has been felt.
Maybe it’s my interpretation, maybe it’s my over sensitivity, maybe it’s just how they feel.
I was never going to be the all-baking, crochet knitting, P&C mum. I love that other women fill those roles; it’s just not me. I’m the mum that will juggle a meeting to make it to school assembly and a schedule a gig around his soccer game. I’m the mum who may have go to work some days but will spend others in PJ’s watching cartoons. I’m the mum who wants it all and isn’t afraid to try for it.
But he will always come first. He will always be my priority, but I can have my work too.
It doesn’t make me less of a mum.