Tomorrow, I go back to work. I’ll get up hours before the sun does, drink some strong coffee, take care of our dogs, feed and hold Nicholas, put on some work appropriate high heels, and head into the office for the 1st time since late September.
Andy & I did talk about me not returning to work after Nicholas was born. We discussed what that would mean for us and the life we’d built and how it would affect Nicholas – both short & long term. I probably spent more time in my post-partum state creating an idyllic picture in my head of being a stay at home mom than Andy did. I had visions of sleeping in with Nicholas (yes, I know you don’t get to sleep in for 30 years after your child is born but, again, hormones were playing a role here folks), and watching all of Nicholas’ 1st’s with my own eyes from the comfort of our home (all the while NOT wearing high heels!).
But, I am going back to work. And, I am excited about it. No, this does not mean I don’t love my child (several folks in my life have told me that’s exactly what going back to work means in recent days – and they, bless their hearts, are idiots). In fact, it means I love my child so very much that I want him to have the best care, the best education, and a rich life full of experiences he’ll never forget. And my career will afford him those opportunities.
I’m also going back to work for me. Is that selfish? To some, maybe. For me, it isn’t. I’m choosing to “lean in”and to continue my career because I can’t forget about me while being mommy. I have worked hard to get where I am and don’t want to stop growing just because Nicholas is. (side note – if you’re a mama who is toying with working after baby is born please read “Lean In” by Sheryl Sandberg- it’s an amazing read regardless of your career choice after baby’s arrival).
Not to mention, I love what I do. And who I do it for. I am blessed to work for a (privately held) family-oriented company. When our lives drastically changed on October 5th, they could’ve pushed me out. But they didn’t. Instead, they supported my entire family never once demanding anything from me.
They prayed for us. They loved us in every way they could from afar. The chairman’s office called me to just check in and see how Nicholas was doing. My boss, a man who knows there isn’t anything God and family can’t get you through, was an amazing support system for both Andy & me. He and his wife continued to pray for us and check in from time to time just to talk and see how life was progressing and to continue to offer to help in anyway they could. Even after we got home and were still unsure of Nicholas’ next steps he allowed me the freedom to navigate an extended maternity leave and come back to work in a manner that was beneficial for my family & for the company.
And, I could write an entire novel on the group of folks I work with in our department. They are simply amazing people who picked up where I had left off – attending meetings for me and takings on responsibilities for me without once complaining. They even helped beyond the walls of our office by distracting me with funny stories about work, making meals for us and even doing yard work in our absence. They have become extended family to us – we know we wouldn’t have made it through all of this unscathed without them. It’s safe to say we love them.
My company invested in me during such a chaotic and scary time and so, I will continue to invest my time and energy into them and the work we do. Will I miss Nicholas? Of course. When I leave him each morning, I know I will leave a good part of my heart and soul with him. But I’m comforted that he is in excellent care – we are sparing no expense on his care these days and I don’t feel guilty about it – not one little bit. I love my child and I love the life we have created for him and will continue to make for him as he grows. As we all grow- together as a family.
So tomorrow, and on the days that follow, please say a little prayer for all 3 of us – that this transition to our new “normal” will be a slow and easy one for us all – that we find humor in the chaos and we remember the mantra “we deserve our own reality show” on those mornings when life doesn’t go like a 50s sitcom or like hallmark would have you believe it should.