One Year In

The last couple of years have been super nostalgic ones for me; I feel like I’m constantly celebrating silly anniversaries.  The day I found out I was pregnant, the day I told my family I was pregnant, the day I found out I was having a girl… My brain is already so full that sometimes I wish that I could shake my head around and some of this stuff would fall out.  But I celebrated one this past week that was actually pretty big.  It was my anniversary of becoming a working mom.  It was the light at the end of the tunnel of a short four months home – except I didn’t know whether the light I was seeing was daylight or a runaway train barreling toward me.

Spoiler alert: I survived it, as we all do, and it wasn’t quite the apocalyptic event that I feared it might be.  It turned out to be the day that life started being normal again.  It was the day life started being super complicated too.  One year in, my thoughts and feelings about being a working mom are everywhere.

I’m happy.  This is what I have always wanted and pictured for myself as a mom.  Where I am today is, in many ways, a dream realized.  Ever since I was a child (with a mom who worked once I was in school), I have always envisioned myself having kids, but I have never wanted to stay at home.  Getting and using my education and pursuing a career have always been really important to me.  Sure, my priorities have changed since my daughter arrived, but I am fulfilling a goal that I set many years ago.  Honestly, that feels great.

I’m grateful.  I could not accomplish this whole working mom gig alone.  The “village” concept is so very real to me.  My parents babysit twice a week, often do overtime, and provide endless emotional support.  My daughter’s daycare teachers allow me to feel safe leaving her in the hands of “strangers.”  My coworkers put up with endless baby pictures and cover for me when I have to scoot out for an early pediatrician appointment.  My friends allow me to vent, endure all my stupid questions, and still invite me to do things!  My involvement in this website and with the other CT Working Moms has kept me sane.

I’m mad.  I’ve been a working mom for one year?!  Didn’t my kid JUST turn one?  This anniversary has sort of driven home for me the fact that my maternity leave was actually pretty short.  I remember thinking and being told as I was planning the term of my leave that I was lucky to be able to take “so much” time.  Four whole months.  I have a friend in Canada who just finished a year long government-supported leave, and my husband has a friend in the Czech Republic who, between her two children, has been on maternity leave for FOUR YEARS and is guaranteed her job back.  I ended up making my four months work, but I can’t help but wonder how my breastfeeding situation and so many other things might have been different if I had more support from my own country in being a new mom.

I’m tired.  Daylight savings, just getting over being sick, cleaning (areas of) my house, bringing work home, dealing with an energetic, needy (and often sick this winter) toddler… You guys know.  It’s exhausting.  It’s overwhelming.  But it’s rewarding and inspiring too.  Even though I often feel like I’m trudging through life, just one foot in front of the other, it’s basically… good.  I’m not gonna go all cliche on you and say, “I wouldn’t have it any other way.”  Sure, there are things I would like to change.  But I like my life as a working mom.  And I LOVE my family.

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