I’ve been back at work since July 10 and I still haven’t figured out how to do both well. I anticipated that I would find it hard to be a good mom while working, but I had no idea the emotions that would accompany my career side. It appears that you can’t ‘win’ on either side.
Before becoming a mom, I was pretty proud of my work abilities. I was good at what I did and loved doing it. Now each day is filled with guilt and self-doubt. I feel guilty leaving at 5pm (even though I’ve put in my eight hours). I feel guilty that I think about A during the day. I question myself on my abilities now: did I forget to do that because I’m not as good as I used to be; does my boss wish I wasn’t coming back and my mat leave replacement was staying? Everyday is plagued with these thoughts. Mother co-workers tell me to stop doubting myself and to just do what I can. But I’ve never just stopped at what I can manage. I’ve always put in the extra time and effort. I was okay with not identifying myself through my career during my maternity leave because I wasn’t working and I had a new medium to identify myself through: I was a mom. Now I seem to be falling short of both.
During my maternity leave, I went to playgroups; I played games with A; I went on outings; I shopped at farmer’s markets and cooked meals. I wasn’t perfect but I felt like I was doing well. I also had time to do things for me. Now I rush to pack a lunch for A in the morning, wondering if daycare questions my food choices. For dinner, I throw something together that isn’t hitting anyone’s top meal choices. And when I do go to the gym I feel guilty that I’m again dropping A off only two hours after I picked her up from daycare. The house is a mess and slowly I’m purchasing my own lunch from a drive-thru more and more.
I’ve only been working for 7 weeks but I feel like I need a week off to catch up and re-group. How do people do this? My hormones are all over the place and I could sleep for days. Clearly as a single mom, choosing not to work is not an option.
I’m hoping slowly I’ll acquire more tips and learn how to manage. My first win was to hire a house cleaner. The first day I came home after she’d cleaned I wanted to cry. My mood jumped and my shoulders felt lighter. My second smart move was to make little containers of meals that A likes for lunch to allow for quick packing in the morning. Next on my list is to pre-prepare the ingredients for meals so I just have to add them together (cut up veggies, cook meat, etc).
Anymore tips out there? I’ll take any. Leave them below.