The up side.
I have to say, since going back to work, I feel so much more like myself. But you know, it’s a little hard to talk about. It’s hard to describe how happy I am now that I have a “job” because it seems to imply I wasn’t happy before. The truth is, I was really happy before, too. Bare with me a moment and let me get this off my chest to explain. I was a stay at home mom for 4 1/2 years – longer than I’d ever been in any one job, truth be told. It was absolutely the right decision for our family at the time and I would do it again in a heartbeat. But life changes, luck was on my side and I landed an incredible opportunity earlier than I anticipated. What’s most interesting to me is that I’m pretty convinced it was my pretty awesome experience as a stay at home mom that has made this transition back to work feel so good. See, before having my own children I knew I was “good with kids,” but could count the number of times on one hand that I’d held an infant. Embarrassingly, I’d never even changed a diaper before changing my first born’s! Pre-kids, my forte was with school-age kids and I didn’t know a damn thing about babies. Way back when, as a new stay at home mom with my first child I had a lot to learn. A lot! Talk about on the job training. My “good with kids” skill set wasn’t worth shit in the beginning. So I rolled up my sleeves and got to work. Staying at home for 4 1/2 years was what I like to think of as Mommy College. I learned how to be a mom.
The value of Mommy College pays off regularly now that life is busier, time is more precious and there are two mini-me’s running around. I feel really good about my mommy-self. I have routines, standards, patience. I’m efficient and think a step ahead out of habit now. I have community. I say what I mean and mean what I say. I can make lemonade out of lemons. I always call ahead before going anywhere with kids in tow :) I can whip up a meal in record time. I understand the importance of being present. In fact, it’s possibly the most valuable lesson learned. Having children means I’ve committed myself to planing ahead for many years to come. I’m their big picture thinker. However, in Mommy College it was often the minute details of the day to day grind that mattered most to my children. As a closet Type A personality, living in the moment can take real effort, but spending 15 hours with a young child day after day after day causes one to fully adjust! Now as a working mom, I reflect on the value of being present regularly because our time together is different now.
I guess what I’m trying to say is that embracing my mom-self in Mommy College definitely allowed me to more comfortably explore my work-self over the past year without a lot of guilt, if that makes sense. It’s also helped me keep my priorities in check, which is beaucoup important. I still have so much to learn about being a good parent…and have been tested in some very raw ways lately! But they say life is about balance, and in my experience, it’s absolutely the key to everything. This happy working mom didn’t just happen by accident.