I went back to work this week. Well last week really, but my weeks all still roll into one along with my days, and actually… where has 2016 gone? On Tuesday and all week, I had messages of support from friends around the world, on twitter, facebook and every other way people could contact me flood in. Everyone sent me ‘strongs’ – which itself begs the question when did we invent new verbs? – but they sent me those, and wished me well on my first day back to work. They said I’d cry, and that I’d be ok. That it’d be over in no time and I can be back with my baby.
And how was my first day back?
It was freaking awesome.
Mothers everywhere are rolling their eyes (or, perhaps they’re silently nodding to themselves, while avoiding eye contact with anyone else at the risk of being judged). Well judge me all you want. My first day, and first week back at work was amazing. It could have been the heels, the dress and the makeup, (it certainly wasn’t the traffic) but I’m going to pretend I’m a little deeper than that and say it was the coffee.
I didn’t cry (back at it with that Ice Queen label) and I only checked our cameras (yes, we have cameras) twice the whole day (don’t ask me about the rest of the week). The worst part of the day was driving in horrendous traffic. That part about my old life I didn’t miss.
Am I cold? How could I possibly have enjoyed being away from my little girl?
Come come. Lets be real. Its not about enjoying not being with her, but rather – enjoying being me again. I’m not a mother at work. I’m just me. I don’t forget about my baby girl in the same way I don’t forget about my husband while I’m at work. I’m just doing what I’ve done for many years. I work. I do it because I enjoy it (and it pays the bills, except when you’re on unpaid maternity leave, then it doesn’t pay the bills that well. A great idea at the time. At the time).
And so no, my answer is no to all the people who asked me ‘was it hard?’ No. It wasn’t hard to go back to work. I like work and I like working. And mothering is sometimes a damn lot harder than work is. But don’t get me wrong, its not easier to be at work than it is to be at home. They’re both full time (full on) roles. And I think all mothers will agree that if we could be two versions of ourselves, we would be. One that could stay at home, and one that could be at work. One that could be me, for me. And one that could be me, dedicated purely to my girl and my husband. I want to be both but I also want a money tree, and a 36 hour day with at least 12 hours of straight uninterrupted sleep. But we can’t have all that we want so for now we have to be ok with a little bit of balance, and a whole lot of team work. We’re going to do the best we can, to offer Elle the best of us both, while ensuring we both remain true to ourselves.
Raise your eyebrows, and subtly suggest again that I stop working, or talk amongst yourselves about how I love my day job, or how surprised you are that I wanted to be a mom so much, but now I’m working on my career again. My love for my little girl and desire to be the best mom I can doesn’t end because I work. In fact, it amplifies the morals and values that I want to teach her about money, respect and success as a woman, while also making those three hours a day with her (yes, I know its so little) so so important. And yes, the novelty of heels and meetings may wear off and I’m sure I’m in for some challenging days ahead as I try to balance a career and a child, but for now… Damn it feels good in heels.