Sunday, January 6, 2008

A mother's love - for her work

After three weeks off work, I am heading back to the office tomorrow.

And I can hardly wait.

It’s not that I don’t love being with my family. It’s not that I haven’t enjoyed all our time together over the last three weeks: it’s just that I’ve had enough.

I’ve had enough sleeping in. I’ve had enough sitting around and reading the paper. I’ve had enough puttering about the house, making small talk with my husband (who is also home) and marking out my day by meals and naptime.

Castigate me if you will, but I’ve even had enough of being with my darling Graham pretty much day and night.

I need to be busy. I like to have a million things to do.

God help me, I love to work.

Mind you I have a great job. A really great job. My office is just down the street. I can walk (for real!). I work nine to five. I get more than four weeks holidays. My wonderful mother-in-law comes here every Monday to watch Graham and I even come home to eat lunch with him. Tuesday to Friday, Graham goes to a home daycare located just a few streets away and run by a dear family friend. I drop him off at 8:45 a.m. I pick him up at 5:15 p.m.

I don’t know if I would be quite so enthusiastic about working outside the home if I had to commute an hour or more, if I had to put Graham in daycare five days a week or if Canada’s generous maternity leave program didn’t allow me to spend the first year of Graham’s life at home.

But I do know that I don’t feel guilty about my choice to work. Not one little bit. I hear people say they worry about missing their child’s milestones, but I don’t. I don’t worry.

I don’t worry that I’m not spending enough quality time with Graham. I am confident that he is happy and secure. I don’t worry that someone else is raising him. I know that he knows who his mommy is and loves her most of all.

I am fully supportive of women who stay at home full-time. I’m fully supportive of pretty much anything other moms do, because if there’s one thing I‘ve learned since having Graham it’s that all of us, working or not, are doing exactly what we think works best for our family.

I admit that on some level, I may even be a little jealous of stay-at-home parents: I sometimes think I need to work outside the home, because deep down I need to be validated and it is a strong woman or man, indeed, who does not need anyone else to reassure them that they have worth.

But no matter - it is back to work for me tomorrow and I couldn’t be happier about it.

I feel good about myself when I am working. I have my more energy and creativity when I am working. I am more joyful when I am working.

I am a better mother because I am working.

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Barrie said...

It sounds as though you've got it all worked out! Happy First Day Back!

MBA Mommy said...

Right there with you! I'll have to blog a reply at some point, but deep down I think my children are benefitting more by my example of being a working mom(their mom is really smart, motivated, capable, etc.) than they would by me being at home 24-7, where I personally (and no this doesn't go for every mom) would be fun on one level, but grumpy and dissatisfied on the other.

Family Adventure said...

It's always interesting to hear other mothers' take on working in/outside the home. The ideal is clearly to be *happy* with your own situation. Not everyone is that lucky - lots of parents *have* to work outside the home, when they'd rather be home. And some parents feel trapped staying at home. You are very lucky to be so happy with your own circumstances - and that obviously benefits Graham, too. Happy mommy - happy baby.

Hope you have a great day back! :)


petite gourmand said...

good for you to be so happy with your decision to work.
I can totally relate (even though I'm only working part-time freelance)
big daddy jokes about how Monday is the new Friday.
as much as it's nice to have holidays/weekends starts to look pretty nice come Sunday night.
It also helps when you love what your do.
have fun tomorrow and happy new year!

BlondeMomBlog (Jamie) said...

I am right there with you. I work 32 hours a week and 16 of those are from home. I just started this schedule last May and for me it is "ideal." I get to pick up my oldest daughter from kindergarten every day at 3. My youngest is in daycare, but it's only 2 miles from our home. If I need to stay home with them due to illness, it's no big deal to my employer. I know I am really blessed. With my oldest, she went to daycare full time at 13 weeks and it wasn't until I had my second daughter that I cut back.
I often have pangs of mommy guilt because my oldest daughter was in daycare so young. (My youngest didn't start until 11 months because I was able to work from home.)

OK...obviously I needed to let off a little working mom steam! ;)

But I'm with you. I enjoy working, but at times I fantasize about just being home. But after this long holiday break I realize I would go insane.

dawn klinge said...

I'm a stay-at-home mom but I'm completely on board with those who need/want to work outside the home. It's so important to your whole family that you are happy with what you're doing. It sounds like you have a great job.

godaycare said...

Now that you are all working :) it's time to find some daycares. We had our daughter a year and a half ago and learned the hard way that finding daycares is not as simple as getting a taxi ride. All centers were booked for two years in the infant groups.

For that reason we started a small family web business - welcome to Canadian daycare centers with reviews throughout Canada. The site is created so that parents who are seeking care for their children can easily find ample lists of daycare centers to choose from. Furthermore, we encourage all parents to leave daycare reviews to make it a truly useful site for all Canadian families. We also started a child care forum where parents can participate by discussing all kinds of childhood related issues. We would love to see all the readers to visit the site - it's completely FREE.

Good luck everyone!

Rachel said...

and the fact that you realize that you are a better mother because you work makes all the difference.
You are so blessed to have such a wonderful situation!
It would be awful for you and Graham and everyone else involved if you were unhappy or felt pressured.
Glad you're doing so well!
Enjoy going back to work!!

jennwa said...

You have to do what is best for you. It sounds like everyone is happy, so you must be doing the right thing for your family. Have a happy first day back at work.

Amy Urquhart said...

It's all about balance in life, isn't it? Hope you have a great day at work tomorrow, and that there isn't a huge pile o' stuff waiting for you when you get there!


shay said...

Sounds like you're exactly where you're supposed to be.

Happy first day back at work!

Badness Jones said...

As Hubs says, "Happy wife, happy life". You can't be good to anyone else, including your family, unless you're good to yourself and happy with what you're doing.

Gabriella said...

You took the words right out of my mouth! I agree completely. I've been off for 2 weeks and am also looking forward to going back tomorrow.

Suzanne said...

I'm glad you have found the balance that works best for your family. And working down the street from your house! How cool is that? I also believe that a mom who is happy with the choice she has made will be a better mother. I've found a happy medium by working part-time at home (I'm a freelancer). I think I am happier than I was when working full-time and struggling with a long commute and day care, and happier than I would be not working at all.

Enjoy your first day back to work!

Leslie said...

Good for's true, the bottom line is being able to choose what is going to make you happiest which then translates into being the best mom! Those of us that have been lucky enough to have a choice are very fortunate. I am glad you are happy.

Happy first day back.

Karen MEG said...

That is fantastic that you love your work so much! Bonus that you are so close to work, and I'm sure that knowing that Graham is so well looked after and likely having his own grand ole time, learning, playing and developing into his own person at daycare certainly helps.
Having done both (worked fulltime out of the home until G was born and then staying at home for three years now) I can honestly say that there are major bonuses in both situations. If my company hadn't moved out of province, I'd likely be back working fulltime at the office and enjoying it.
The one thing I do miss is the camraderie of work colleagues, and the teamwork aspect, which you don't get working for yourself from home, but it is something I'll no doubt experience again at some point. It sounds like your job is just perfect for you.
I've tagged you for a New Year Challenge, if and/or when you might feel up to it.

a kelly said...

When mommy's happy, everybody's happy. Enjoy you first day back!!
thanks for all your kind comments...
came across my summer post about my visit to Don Mills...

Anonymous said...

As long as you are responsible and love your kids, it doesn't really matter whether you go off to work or you don't. That's the way I see it.

lindsey said...

Yay! Happy first day back tomorrow. I hope you have a good day!

I work outside the home 3 days a week. It is perfect for me right now.

People often make me feel guilty about working, sometimes I don't think they realize I am doing what's best for my family right now.

Laural Dawn said...

I sooo hear you on this.
I feel the same way. I don't always love my job (does anyone?) but 90% of the time I like it, and can't imagine not working.
Yet, I totally get the SAHM thing also.
I also hit the point where I'm kind of itching to get back to work.
By the way, my commute is 45 minutes on the GO train. It would be nice to be a little closer, but really when you're in the routine it's no biggie.

Jennifer @ Fruit of My Hands said...

I'm a SAHM right now, but I can even relate to this post. I have been really fantasizing about getting my masters degree a lot lately. Only 3 more years until I start my program.

Laura said...

I believe that every family and woman needs to make the decision that is right for them...I am always happy when people, like you, my dear, who have found the balance that works for them. Kudos to you!

I am super lucky. It was my goal to be a stay at home mom - and I did that for 3 years and then stumbled on a job that is perfect - I work 4 am to 8 am monday to friday. It works for us - I LOVE my job and it is a super cool job - - but it allows me to be home during the day - which is important for me. It is tiring and not everyone could function with the low amount of sleep I get...but it is a sacrifice I want and can make.

It is awesome when we can find what works for us in this crazy world!


Beck said...

I think what works for every family varies SO much - and for many families, there really is no choice involved at all in whether or not the mother should work. I did a little dance this morning when my older two headed out the door to school....

david mcmahon said...

Great to hear your point of view. I just had two weeks off and just got back to work and that's cool!

Unknown said...

GREAT post! I am right there with you although the US could use a much better family leave program!!
I am a better mom, usually, because I work. I LOVE being home with my kids when we're on vacation or break and they always seem to happen just when I'm ready to be home. But I don't feel whole or something (can't think of the right phrase) if I'm not working.
I think it's great if a mom can and wants to stay home. It's just not for me, right now!
Great post!

Kellan said...

I hope you had a great day back at work - you are lucky to have a job that you love so much. See you soon. Kellan

Anonymous said...

Enjoy your first day back. I agree with being a better mom because of working because that is how I feel. I think my patience is more tolerant than when I am with the kids for long stretches of time. But I must say I am jealous of how easy it appears you have it with how close everything is to one another.. I am not that lucky...
Best of luck to you tomorrow!! ENJOY.

Mandy said...

I so get this. Somedays I am itching to go back to work and just feel useful, hence why I have started my freelance writing. Graham will be just fine because he has a confident mommy who loves him to pieces. Love is all a kid really needs.

ewe are here said...

Congrats on getting back to work. Sounds like a perfect situation.

I, too, support whatever choices families make... I wish more people would instead of slamming others' choices as part of defending their own choices.

Anonymous said...

I am with you on this, and I have to say, my new longer commute is the thing I hate most about being moved to a new branch. It sucks, coming home late for dinner. It's too important and I resent it, so i'm browsing for other branches if it's possible.

Victoria said...

I completely agree. Of course, not everyone has jobs they love or caregivers that are so wonderful (luckily, I have both as well) but supporting everyone in their choices and sacrifices makes us all better as mothers...and has humans.

I like your stuff! =)

Beth Cotell said...

Um, can you please take me with you?

Janice @ Mom On The Run said...

I love my job too, and truthfully am hating maternity leave and can't wait to go back. This is why my toddler starts part-time daycare tomorrow.