A Love Letter To The Working Mom
There has never been, and will never be, a life change as pivotal for me as becoming a mom. My son popped into this world last September, and I was immediately changed. I went home from the hospital a new person.
This is the best possible thing that could have happened to me, but, as any parent will tell you, it did not come without its challenges. Beyond needing to find my footing with a newborn and husband, and get through wild postpartum hormones, breastfeeding, and big emotions, I had to return to the real world. I had to return to social activities and, perhaps most importantly, I had to come back to work as an entirely new human being.
I had a new order of priorities, a new perspective, and a hell of a lot to learn.
Here is what I would share with any new parent about my experience in my first year as a working mom.
Working Mom Lesson 1: Problems that seemed big before, seem much smaller now
There’s nothing that holds a candle to the pressure of keeping a human being alive when they solely rely on you. That’s not to say that workplace pressures are suddenly unimportant, but my perspective totally shifted when I went back to work after having my baby. I was able to look at a problem and say “Well, this is hard, but I can look at this with a birds-eye-view and know that I’ll find a solution, and it won’t break me.”
With my emotional investments more heavily tied to life outside of work, it made removing my feelings about challenges in the workplace much easier.
Working Mom Lesson 2: Balancing it all is as hard as people tell you
One of the biggest struggles at I’ve had in the last year is feelings of inadequacy. It is damn-near impossible to get it all done when you’re pulled in different directions. And, unfortunately, I can’t be in 2 places at once, which means that managing my time and priorities has been crucial for my success.
I’ll never be able to be perfect, but I am always putting my best foot forward and trying to be a resource for my team, and I’ve come to accept that trying my best is good enough.
Working Mom Lesson 3: Working and interacting with adults makes me a better parent
The three months I spent with my newborn on maternity were magical, and I could have lived in that bubble forever. As hard as returning to work was, being able to interact with adult human beings and have a venture outside of motherhood has given me the energy I need to be present as a mom. There’s no wrong choice when deciding how to approach life after motherhood, but if you are someone who returns to the workforce, it is beneficial to have relationships that keep one foot grounded in life outside of being “mom.”
Working Mom Lesson 4: Having a good team around you makes it all worth it
Not everyone is as lucky as I am to have such a generous team around them (both in service and spirit). Being surrounded by colleagues that are understanding, flexible, and kind has made the first year of being a working mom so much easier than it would be otherwise. And, let’s be honest, kids are crawling/walking germs and destined to pull you away from the office for a litany of illnesses, so having flexibility and understanding in your office is critical.
There is a lot to be said about what life is like after kids, and probably much more to be said about the physical, emotional, and spiritual changes I experienced after having a baby. But, the return to the workplace was a pivotal time in my life, and it’s one that I was not prepared for. I’m not sure it’s something I could have prepared for, but being connected with other working moms has helped me find my way in my “new normal.”
The skillset that comes with motherhood is plentiful and moms deserve to be welcomed into the workforce with open arms, and the understanding that they have wisdom and talent beyond what they’ve ever been credited for.
Moms are the backbone of society and deserve every bit of recognition they get, and then some.
Learn more about being a working parent.
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