The Joys of Going Back to Work
I loved being a stay at home mom during my maternity leave. I adored it. Our long walks together, my daughter napping in the stroller while I logged a few miles on the way to the neighborhood coffee bar. Staying home with my daughter those first few months was the absolute best decision I’ve ever made. But so was going back to work.
I remember the first job I ever had. I was 14, a babysitter, staying with some neighborhood kids one Saturday while their mom ran errands. I think that first pay day was all of five dollars. I can recall folding those worn dollar bills into the pocket of my blues jeans and feeling the tiny glow of earning my own way in the world. I was hooked.
Yes, work gives us all financial independence, but it gives me much more than that. Work makes me a more complete person. I thrive on the daily interaction with the smart capable people I get to work with. I am challenged. I brainstorm. I make mistakes, make corrections. And I grow.
Parenting is a big picture, long range assignment. You don’t know if you’ve been a successful parent for decades to come. Work gives me small, achievable “wins”. I get to see the tangible results for my efforts. A successful meeting there. A well received writing assignment here. My self esteem gets a nice boost. I can think “yep, someone values me and my work.”
My career doesn’t solely define me but my career does create a more stimulated, involved human being. But most of all work allows me to be a role model for my daughter. I’m a better mother when I can model hard work for my daughter. She sometimes sees me late at typing away at my computer late into the night, furiously trying to make a deadline. I’d like to hope I’m showing her how to meet deadlines, solve problems. Keep your word.
Taking time off from work to stay home made me realize something essential about myself, yes I HAVE to work but I also LOVE to work.