Faith & Inspiration, Motherhood

Returning To Work After Maternity Leave

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I’ve been having kind of a hard week.  It was definitely one of the hardest weeks since returning to work after maternity leave. But for you to truly understand what that means, let’s hit rewind a moment.

I went back to work after having my daughter in mid-February of this year.  It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my entire life, but in order to make it, my family needed my income.  So here I was, returning to the workplace.  I had a four month old baby girl who I adored.  Being home with her and taking care of her made me ecstatically happy.  And of all the jobs I’ve ever done, I finally felt like this was what I was truly made for.  Taking care of my child, my husband and my home.  I reveled in it.  Plus, after four months away from a high pressure job, I was finally becoming ‘me’ again.

I know not everyone feels that way.  I get it.  In fact, when I went back to work, I realized that a lot of women at the office not only enjoyed working, but felt like they needed it.  So many women were coming up to me telling me that it was going to get better.  Or confiding in me that being a stay at home mother would drive them crazy.  Or, my personal favorite, how working made them a better mother.

That, most definitely wasn’t me.  And I didn’t want to hear any of it.  For the first 2-3 months after I returned to work, I thought my world was ending.

I cried.  A lot.

It wasn’t that I felt guilty.  I knew she was very well taken care of.  I was just sad.  Sad because all I wanted to do was be with my baby.  Help to nurture her and teach her.  Be with her to share the special moments. Rock her to sleep, play with her, take her to story time, the park and the zoo.

Being A Working Mom is Tough

At the same time, lets get real, my job is demanding.  I’m a senior level executive at a large company.  And I was going back to a new position that I knew was going to require a lot of work on my part and, inevitably, include a whole new set of challenges.  I was scared that I wouldn’t have anything left for my little girl when I got home. Especially, after my 1hr+ commute.

I was scared that I wouldn’t have anything left for my little girl when I got home.

All of this brings us to present day.  I’ve had a really hard week at work.  Sure, I feel like I’m managing my schedule…sort of.  And doing a little better with the separation anxiety.  But when I have weeks at work where I struggle, it kind of brings up a lot of the raw emotion of being separated from my little girl.  Being a working mom is just…well…it’s hard.

This week was particularly difficult. I struggled with way too much to do, not enough resources to do it with.  Shrinking budgets.  Really big, and sometimes challenging, personalities.  Lots of last minute requests, that shouldn’t have been so last minute.  And the list goes on.

I know God requires that we do our jobs as if working for Him.  But I’m not going to lie to you, even though I truly do enjoy the work I do, some weeks, that can be down right difficult. Couple that with the fact that my only desire is to be with my daughter, and hard weeks can seem excruciating.

Returning to Work After Maternity Leave

Gaining Perspective On My Return To Work

So as I was driving home the other night, frustrated and tired, stuck in traffic, I saw a dandelion growing in the cracks of the highway.  It was the most perfect little bright yellow, happy-looking weed…sitting among the mix of asphalt, cigarette butts and soda bottles.  Seemingly without care that it really shouldn’t be growing in this piece of concrete jungle, here was this perfect little cheery weed.  And the juxtaposition of it’s simple beauty among the dirty highway shoulder stopped me in my tracks.

Maybe this is what God called us to be like.  Perhaps He wants me to shine a little light on the dark & dirty places I encounter at work.  Or He has kept me here to bring His good news to someone who otherwise never would have heard it.  Maybe it’s to simply be an example of what He has called us to be.  Working for our bosses as if we are working for Him.

Maybe this is what God called us to be like.

God can use anything to give us that wake up call.  That day He used a dandelion to encourage me to be that example to others.  An example of what it looks like to face adversity and still be standing tall and  being cheerful. To be continually “growing like a weed” in all areas of my life.

– Further reading on working for the Lord: Colossians 3

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