Reflections from my First Year at Work after [an extended] Maternity Leave

Exactly one year ago, I went back to work after being a stay-at-home mom to my two children for three years. I’ve you’ve been with my blog since then, I’m sure you remember how hard that transition was for me. Perhaps, one of the most difficult moments in my motherhood journey.

Every woman is different, and for me, being a stay-at-home mom is where I really excelled. I love(d) being a stay-at-home mom, and knew before my children were born that I wanted to spend as much time at home with them before going back to work. I am lucky to live in a country where the long maternity leave allowed my husband and I to make it sustainable, and I’m so grateful for that.

I will always prefer to be a stay-at-home mom, not everyone will, and that’s OK.

Being a stay-at-home mom will always be the bench mark I compare myself to in terms of the mother that I want to be. It sounds perhaps as a very unattainable goal given that I am currently a full time working mom, but regardless of the factors around you, you can choose the identity that works best for you.

A Season of Change [after 2.5 years as a Stay-at-Home Mom…]

275463c9-0faa-477e-bd86-ed4e948c3bfe

The going-back-to-work transition has NO timeline. It will take as little or as long as it takes. 

I still miss being at home with the kids just as much as I did the first day back at work. I have a wonderful job that allows me flexibility to still spend a lot of time with the kids during the week days, but so much of me still wonders, “when do I get to be a stay at home mom again?”. I haven’t quite found that “balance”, and perhaps it doesn’t exist, but for all intents and purposes, if that “balance” of the full time working mom exists, I haven’t quite found it yet.

Time is the most valuable thing, if I didn’t know that already.

I realize how naive this sounds, but it wasn’t until I went back to work that I realized how much time I had with the kids when I was at home. We used every moment intentionally and as it was supposed to, but still, when you have so much less time, you miss it so much more. Any afternoon I am able to come home early, or the long weekends, regular weekends, holidays, have more value that I can express.

To my Husband: Thank you for the Gift of Time

Self care is more important than ever, for me, for my children, and for my husband.

When life is busier, it is more stressful and tiring. Those three factors make for patient parenting very difficult. There are tantrums I could have controlled better, negotiations that could have been handled with more love, routines that could have been less rushed, the list goes on and on. I need to be nourished (physically and emotionally) in the best way that I can be in order to be the best mother I can be. This applies to stay-at-home and working moms alike, but I found that I was able to keep up better with it when I was at home. So that has been an adjustment, and one that I prioritize a lot because I want my children and husband to know a mother and wife that I am proud of.

Bed time routine is my favorite thing.

As a working mom, our mornings are not as slow as they used to be. We still prioritize having breakfast together, but we know we can’t take all the time we want as we did before. With bed time routine we can. After a full day at work, doing bed time routine with them is a wonderful way to reconnect and end our day with both of our cups full. It’s a chance for me to sing them the songs that were sang to me when I was a child, and those moments are so special .

Words To The Lullabies I Sing To My Children [stories of motherhood and culture]

9108e8a3-3be0-4ab4-96c6-a94307b391c6

Value your work and time, and don’t be afraid to ask for flexibility from your employer – you have nothing to lose. 

The working world is changing, and more and more employers are understanding the necessity for work life balance, especially for mothers, because even though we live in the 21st century, the parenting responsibility primary falls on the mother.  Remote workers are increasing in numbers, and really, as long as you’re doing your job, it doesn’t hurt to ask for flexibility, so ask!

I wrote a blog post called How I have a Happy Stay-at-Home Motherhood and I could rewrite it exactly and it would apply to a working mama. Especially when it comes to routines. It makes the afternoons we spend together at home wonderful as we all know what to expect, and it makes me go to bed at a regular time…which is something I had to get used to again after going back to work. My house is definitely harder to keep tidy and most of the days now, quite frankly it’s a mess ha, so if you can afford a house cleaner once a month, every three months, etc, do it!

As I begin another year back at work , I’m excited for the lessons that come with it, and embrace it all. The time I spend with my children I value with all my heart and watching them grow everyday is wonderful. And I do have to say, the extra income in the home is pretty awesome.

Gabriela xo

Leave a Reply