Countdown to Work: Emotional Butterflies

The countdown has begun. In 2 weeks, I’ll be going back to work on a part-time basis. After a phone conversation with my new boss earlier this week, I was suddenly hit with a myriad of emotions—like butterflies in my stomach.

LOOKING BACK
Nostalgia & Amazement—Have the months really passed by that fast?? There seemed like a time when I thought each day dragged on (especially during her gassy phase when she had to be constantly burped) and when I absolutely couldn’t see myself as a full-time mom. I was feeling drained and burnt out, and missed the measurable productivity of work. Thankfully that gradually changed as I began to enjoy my new role as a mom.

LOOKING FORWARD
Excitement & Anticipation—I get to go back to work! I’ll be able to pick up and build on those skills that have been left on the back burner. It feels good to be given the chance to use parts of the brain that have been falling into disuse, and hopefully there will be less ‘baby brain’ issues as a result.

Worry & Anxiousness—I had forgotten about this. With a new job comes the stress of having more responsibility, the pressure to perform and meet expectations set by work. Will I be able to do all that is being asked of me? I’ll still need to meet the physical and emotional needs of baby (apart from 2 mornings a week) and handle the chores, on top of meeting the challenges and deadlines at work. Will the house ‘fall apart’? There is also the worry about baby. What if baby gets sick more easily after being in contact with other children at preschool? And I’ll have to give up control of what happens to her there.

Relief—I’ll get an official break (and reason) from baby! And hopefully with baby going to preschool twice a week, there will be someone else devoted to helping her develop new skills and providing new learning experiences. Often because I am so busy trying to take care of house and other chores, I have felt guilty. Guilty that baby is being neglected and I have not been able to spend as much time with her or give her new developmental experiences. I also know the toys at home no longer hold as much excitement or wonder for her anymore. My creativity is now being stretched to the limit trying to create household versions of toys (and I really don’t want to buy out Toys “R” Us).

Uncertainty & Sadness—Will baby change and become more independent (and so less dependent on me? I guess that is a good thing!). I’m also sad, because I won’t be there all the time now, to be able to witness every single of her developmental milestones. It has been so wonderful to watch her grow and catch her showing off a new skill she has mastered at unexpected moments.

How will it all work out? No matter what situation you are in now (stay-at-home mom, working part-time or full-time outside or at home), there doesn’t seem to be a perfect scenario. Some say working part-time is the best arrangement, but I’ve heard another say that as a result you feel you’re not able to give your best to either work or your child(ren). Each situation seems to be filled with its own challenges and blessings. And not that the ‘grass is greener on the other side’ but I think there will always be a part of me wondering if I have made the right decision (even though sometimes it’s a financial necessity) and what it would be like on the other side.

Looking backwards and forwards has made me realize I need to appreciate the ‘now’. Each smile, each giggle, each sweet loving gaze baby directs at me, playing games together, and the close quiet moments shared during breastfeeding. These moments are so precious and will be gone all too quickly. I’ll still be able to do these things, but it’ll be less. One thing is for sure though. Life as I know it now will soon change very quickly, and things will get a lot busier. Ladies, treasure the moments you have now with your little ones!

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