photo by Rachelle Rawlings Photography
When I had my daughters, years ago, I was not working. I did not have to worry about going back to work after maternity leave was over. I did not have to work through all the feelings one goes through when transitioning back to work.
Times have changed.
I am a working mother. It is like having two full time jobs, especially with teenagers and a preteen. So when I took time off work to bond with my newborn son, I was in heaven. It was like a seventeen week vacation. I got to smell my baby and snuggle every day and every night with him. I got to learn his cries, sing the alphabet to him and just love on him all day. I was hanging out with my cat, binge watching all the Netflix shows, and my house was always clean!
Eventually, the time drew near for me to return to work, and a lot of people were asking me if I was ready to leave my newborn son. I sadly answered that I could not bear to leave him. I was hastily trying to think of a side hustle where I could stay home and I played the Lotto hoping to win millions, with no luck.
Turns out, I was wrong.
My first day back to work, I was late, so I did not have time to be sad about leaving my baby. I ran out the door with my shoes in my hand! Additionally, I came back to work during the craziest time…during Summer Programs. We run summer camps, intern programs, and a theatre program, and I am the one behind the scenes of it all. I call the vendors, make the purchases, track down receipts, act as dispatch for parents looking for their children, run errands, and do all the data entry of our largest program. You name it, I do it. And I do it well. I don’t have as much time as I thought I would to FaceTime my baby all day.
Confusion sets in.
You see, when I work, I give 110%. Also as a mother, I give 110%. It’s been two weeks back to work and I have not cried once over leaving my son to go to work. Maybe it is because his dad is with him right now. Maybe I will feel different when we are both working and he has to stay with someone else. I really don’t know.
Sometimes I feel bad. I feel like I should feel more guilty about being a working mom. I find myself asking myself why am I not more sad. I guess that’s just something working moms deal with. We know we have to go back to work eventually.
It’s not so much that I feel guilt for leaving him. What I am afraid of most is: will my son will forget me? Will he forget our A, B, C’s we sing together? Will he forget my smell? Will he love his caretaker more than me? Does that happen? I see it happen on movies and Grey’s Anatomy, so it must happen in real life right?
So no, I do not feel guilty having to be a working mom. I do wonder though…will my baby boy forget me?