Thursday, March 22, 2012

For Working Mothers

Going back to work from maternity leave was quite possibly the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do, twice.  After spending twelve weeks bonding with my newborn, how could I hand my child over to a sitter to do the job I really wanted to do?! 

I knew before I had my first child that I would be going back to work.  I knew it would be difficult, but I truly didn’t realize how difficult until the time came.  I wasn’t ready for all of the emotions and questions that came with going back to work:

•    How can a sitter or daycare take care of my child as well as I can?
•    Will my child know that I’m his mommy, or will he prefer to spend time with the sitter?
•    What if I miss all of his “firsts?”
•    What will I be missing out on while I’m at work?

Those first few weeks back to work were unbearable.  As my firstborn got older, I began to realize that he recognized me when I got home.  He would get excited when I walked in the door, and my heart would swell with love.  As time went by, it became obvious to me that he knew exactly who his mommy was, and he loved me very much!

When I went back to work after the birth of my daughter, she refused to take a bottle.  It made my time at work extra difficult knowing that she wasn’t getting any milk while I was away.  With a little age and creativity, she finally agreed to take a bottle, and my time away from her became easier.  Once again, I realized that she, too, recognized me as soon as I walked in the door.

Now that my children are four and 18 months, I have learned to appreciate many things about having them in a daycare setting:

•    The social interaction and friendships formed at such a young age pave the way for their future in school.
•    Occasionally we may miss out on the “firsts,” but there is always the first time for us to see, and it is still so exciting.
•    I am reminded daily that there are many things that I don’t get to see while I’m at work, but it makes for great dinner time discussions as we talk about the day.  Not to mention that we are constantly surprised when our son starts counting and he makes it to 100, or our daughter breaks into a song she has been singing in class. An untrained ear may not be able to understand every word, but the tune is unmistakable.  I’m thankful to WeeSchool at our church where they now both attend and to the sitter they both had as babies for all the lessons.

Do I still wish that I could stay home with my children?  You bet I do.  But, when I start feeling sad or guilty about it, I think of all of the things they have learned that I’m just not sure I would have thought to teach them if I were at home with them.

So, whether you are a working mom or a stay-at-home mom, enjoy every moment you have with your children.  I’m learning it goes by way too fast.   And remember….they will always know who their mommy is!

Julie Swink is a Senior Marketing Specialist for Texas Health Resources and Mom of two.

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