Honestly, I never wanted to be a full time stay-at-home mom. Don’t get me wrong – I love my family, and I love the time we spend together – but I wanted something more. I wanted a career. However life as a military spouse can often dictate otherwise.
I sacrificed my needs for the greater good of my family. Then there came a point where we were established and I could begin perusing my desire for something more … so I did. I prayed on it. I talked to my husband about it. And then the perfect opportunity presented itself.
My first initial feeling was excitement, but that was quickly overtaken by anxiety and a laundry list of questions. Who would watch our baby? Should we do in home nanny services or in home child care? How would the kids adjust to a new morning routine? When would I have time to meal plan, exercise and grocery shop? Would I miss my baby’s first steps? The questions went on and on until I almost talked myself out of a great job opportunity.
I was very intentional about my decision to go back to work fulltime and prayed earnestly that if it was not for me that God would keep the doors shut! But they opened and no matter how “ready” I thought I needed to be, I had to do my part and walk through them. We were blessed to find a miracle child care provider – and I call her that because she is. She has not only spoiled our son, but also us … not to mention she’s only a 3-minute drive from our home. It was truly meant to be.
I miss having the opportunity to write and sleep in, while my older children struggled to understand why I was picking them up later than they were used to. But overall everyone transitioned smoothly. I’ve definitely had several days where I had to call in or leave early because my children became ill, but family comes first and are my main obligation. Even as write this piece I am currently home with my children because they have been combating hand, foot and mouth disease for almost a week.
Balancing Your Emotions
Did I cry? That’s always the question everyone asks and wants to know more about. I didn’t cry but I had my moments. It hasn’t been easy, especially on the days my children had field trips and I had to deal with their looks of disappointment. But it has also been a blessing because it has given their Mimi the opportunity to accompany them in my place. What grandparent doesn’t look forward to the chance to spend time with their grands?
Oh and remember how I mentioned I had to stay home from work with my kids because they had hand, foot and mouth disease?? I had only been on the job a week myself! Talk about rethinking my decision, but again I knew this job opportunity had been presented to me for a reason.
Tips on Successfully Returning to Work
Determine When the Time is Right
As a stay-at-home mom of four years, there were often times I considered going back to work … not because its what I desired, but because I didn’t always feel I was contributing what I needed to as wife and mom. Don’t let others influence your decision. If I would have allowed the opinions of others to dictate my decision during this time I would’ve been disappointed. Make sure you take the time to pray, talk to your spouse, and consider your family goals and finances before making the decision on when and why you are choosing to return to work.
Make Sure Your New Employer is Supportive of Families
This is key. As a mom, you can’t predict when your children are going to get sick or a family emergency will occur. Having a supportive and understanding employer relieves the stress of feeling bad for tending to your responsibilities as a parent, and sets clear expectations upfront on what to expect from both parties during a time of need.
Give Yourself Time to Transition
Consider enrolling your child in childcare a week earlier than your start date. This gives you (and your child) the opportunity to get used to a new schedule. It allows you to transition emotionally and get things in order in your home – from cleaning to meal prepping and everything in-between. Also, if you are breastfeeding this gives your body time to adjust to your new schedule. If you plan on pumping at work, you can begin acclimating yourself with what a normal day might look like. And if you are dealing with supply issues, lactation cookies and smoothies are great supplements to help increase your supply.
Carve out Family/Self -Care Time
Going back to work full time will take a huge chuck out of your day. Be sure to prioritize time with your children, husband, and with yourself. Since I’ve been back at work, I consistently work out and have a standing appointment with my fabulous nail technician. This is not just a time for me to get my nails done (which I hardly did prior to now), but a time to relax, let my hair down, and fellowship with other women … all while getting pampered! I also make sure I’m home after work for family dinners and to tuck my kids in, while also spending quality time with my husband once the kids are fast asleep. It’s not always easy to balance it all, but I make it work.
There will be days you feel success. There will also be day you feel defeat. Regardless, remember these moments will never take your SUPER MOM BADGE AWAY and you HAVE NOT FAILED …. YOU ARE JUST FULFILLING THE JOURNEY OF MOTHERHOOD … YOU WIN!