Shortly after I had my son, the first question every person I came in contact with asked was the same. “When are you going back to work?”
For a while, I questioned myself, too.
When am I going back to work?
Where am I going back to work?
I had every intention of being a stay at home mom for as long as possible. I’d quit my job at an animal shelter, a job I absolutely adored, to be home with my little guy. I figured there would be a point where I would go stir crazy and would want to get out of the house, but I intended to do it on my terms, when we were both ready.
But everyone, and I mean everyone, asked me about my plans on going back to work. Mostly out of curiosity, I’m sure, but it instilled a sense of insecurity within me. Here I was, a month postpartum, wondering why I wasn’t jumping up and down, ready to go to work every day. I could barely think straight from all the postpartum hormones, but why wasn’t I being a productive member of society? Why wasn’t I capable of leaving my newborn son with a sitter? Why wasn’t I making money for our family?
All of these thoughts ran through my head until I eventually broke down and got a part-time job. Was I ready? Maybe not. But it felt like something I needed to do in order to be accepted again. Needless to say, it was a huge flop. The mom guilt was real, but at the end of the day, I knew it wasn’t what I wanted. It was not my path in life.
Even now my son is 2 years old and people still ask me about going back to work. I’m sure they wonder “what I do all day”. In that sense, I would ask them to step in my shoes. To live this hectic, unrelenting lifestyle of a stay at home parent. While I know my partner works so hard to provide financially for us, my job is hard, too. Some days, I want to quit and find a “real” job. But I know that decision would be regretted immediately.
It is my calling to be my with son all day, every day. As a mother, it is the path I have chosen and would choose it all over again. If you don’t think of my day-to-day as a “real job”, you are sadly mistaken. I happen to take care of a tiny human being and guess what? He has become an amazing little guy. I had a huge part in making him awesome, and there is no better feeling of satisfaction with any “real job” out there.