Going out for a cold winter's walk (it wasn't quite -20C on this day).
GUILT. Motherhood has been good to me. In fact, it has been great! It has been challenging but rewarding, full of simple pleasures and abundant joy. But through it all there’s been this lingering bit of guilt that’s around every turn. Every Mom I talk to has the same feeling (and I think most Dad’s do too). It’s just a fact of parenthood that no one tells you about and you don’t fully experience pre-child. It happens because now there is this little person dependent on you and you so desperately don’t want to let them down. So, you feel guilty when you leave them (he shouldn’t be on his own), but then you feel guilty when you stay (how will he ever learn to be independent). You feel guilty if you give them certain things (those silly electronic toys), or if you don’t (he really should be playing freely). You feel guilty if you don’t do certain activities with them (we really should be outside on this glorious day) or when you do (It looked so nice out, how could I not have checked the weather before we left. It has got to be -20C and the wind is howling!). And, you feel guilt if you indulge in a blogging session (even if they’re napping, because you could be spending this time running a load of laundry or getting meals ready or getting some other endless household chore ticked off the to-do list).
“Food, love, career, and mothers, the four major guilt groups.” ~Cathy Guisewite
I had just finished my old job about a week before this photo was taken. So much has changed!
You may be wondering where all of this is coming from…As some of you know (but most of you don’t) I’ll be starting a new job TOMORROW. Finlay is not quite 9 months old. I still have more than 3 months left of paid maternity leave that I could be taking. So why am I taking a job now? Why would I ever want to willing go back early? (Trust me, these are questions I’ve asked myself once or twice). But, it’s the person who has the security of a job to return to after maternity leave that asks these kinds of questions. You see, before Finlay was born, I was working on a short-term contract that ended the day I went into labour. The place I worked for owed me nothing and 2 months after he was born my old part-time, contract position was converted into a full-time, permanent position and I was unable (or really was unwilling) to apply. We also live in a place where people in my career are not exactly in demand….there’s just too much supply. So, as you can imagine, it was about this time that I started to sweat. Not knowing what I would be doing when my precious maternity leave pay expired was something which has plagued me throughout this time off. Many of my friends would say, “Don’t worry about it. Something will come up. Just enjoy the time you have.” Excellent advice, but impossible to follow. While I know you shouldn’t sweat the small stuff, I was! So, there’s another 5 letter word for you….WORRY!
“That’s the secret to life… replace one worry with another.” ~Charles M. Schulz
Little dragons may not be very flexible, but as a Mom, I have to be!
With that in mind, when a good position came up in my field about a month ago that offered flexible hours, the opportunity to work from home and the chance to work part-time, I jumped on it. If this meant I wouldn’t have to worry about where a paycheck was going to be coming from in a few months time and the work looked rewarding (which it does) why wouldn’t I? My husband and I are not big spenders and live within our means, but there was never a question that I’d have to return to work. Like most people, we have debts (mortgages, loans, etc) which need to be paid. We like to live a certain way, which requires two incomes. We have dreams and future aspirations that require money. But aside from the financial aspect of returning to work, I had a rewarding career. While motherhood has been wonderful, I do find myself lacking a certain mental stimulation that I used to receive from my job and from time to time (usually while singing goofy songs, and juggling toys) I find myself missing adult interaction! So while there has never been a question of returning to work after maternity leave, coming back this early wasn’t quite on my radar either. I guess that’s another 5 letter word..ADAPT. If there’s nothing else, I’ve learned from life as a Mom, it’s that change happens, you have to learn to adapt, you have to learn to go with the flow.
“Action and reaction, ebb and flow, trial and error, change – this is the rhythm of living. Out of our over-confidence, fear; out of our fear, clearer vision, fresh hope. And out of hope, progress.” ~Bruce Barton
The Jolly Jumper reminds me that I should, "Leap, and the Net Will Appear." ~John Burrows
I will say this, the job I have lined up has a lot of pros. While it’s in the field of veterinary medicine, it’s doing something I’ve never done before and will be a challenge (I like challenges). I can work from home for a lot of it. For the month of March, Jarrod can help out with the childcare so that we can avoid day care for another month. And even once I do put Finlay in daycare in April it will only be for 2 days a week as I can work around his naps, in the evening and on weekends. Even still, it does feel a bit scary and stressful. I find myself wondering, “Did I do enough for him in the time I had off?” (That damn guilt talking again). And, I find myself thinking of the future. How will I manage doing everything that I did while I was on maternity AND take on a job without burning out?!? I guess that’s the point. I won’t be able to do everything (which makes me think of the saying, “If you try to be good at everything, you will end up succeeding at nothing.” ~Unknown). I can only do what I can do and I will have to rely on others, on childcare providers, on my husband and perhaps on my crock-pot! I will STRIVE to do the best job I can at being a working mother and know that it will come with successes and failures.
The family that I adore!
And so that brings us to the last 5 letter word, ADORE. In order to embrace change and all of the uncertainty that it brings, to embark upon the new challenges and paths in my life, I have to focus on the important things. As I’ve stated in previous posts, the important things aren’t really things at all, they are the people I love; my family, my husband, my child, my friends, and the experiences I have with these wonderful people. Love isn’t a strong enough word to describe the feelings I have for my son, for my husband. I adore them. And so while I may not be around as much to make culinary creations, to keep the house in order, to change diapers and wipe snotty noses, as long as they know I am there for them and I love them, than that is what really matters!
“A mother’s love is instinctual, unconditional, and forever.” ~ Unknown