Maternity Leave Melancholy: Working Mom Reflections

Work Life Balance

(Photo credit: Nicole Avery)

With 3 months left of my full maternity leave, I wonder to myself, could I ever be a stay at home mom? I’m itchin to get back to work before my leave ends. I love being a busy working mom! Does that make me any less of a mom? Does that make me a bad mom?

Well, this isn’t my first rodeo per se. I’ve been here before, twice, when I had my daughters many moons ago (under much more difficult circumstances as a single mom). Why wouldn’t I now embrace this time off from the daily grind to raise my beautiful son J? It’s not that I don’t embrace it, but I just know that it’s time to go back to work.

My daughters Ki and Ci were in daycare at 6 and 7 months old respectively, they are now 14 and 11 years old! When I had Ki, paid maternity leave was only for a maximum of 6 months. So, not only has it been awhile since I’ve had to deal with diapers, daycare, and teething but I’ve also just had quite a few years with self-sufficient children and a pretty structured daily routine.

There are 3 factors that come in to play:

FACTOR 1: Moolah

Only receiving 55% of my salary is quite the shock to the household finances. We’ve scaled back on a few things to compensate for the drastic decrease in income, however; with a newly built house and daughters in the teen/tween phase, the money we saved on items we have scaled back on is now being used in other areas.

Oh, and let’s not forget that I brought new life into this world, you’d think that alone would be reason enough to have a slightly higher percentage for those on maternity leave! Clothes, diapers, formula etc, it all costs $$$! Manitoba government – do ya hear me? 55% doesn’t cut it and Lord knows I’ve paid enough Employment Insurance premiums in my working life to warrant a higher rate! End of rant.

FACTOR 2: Natalie Time

Having time to myself has been literally impossible since he’s been born. Of course that’s understandable, as his needs come first. I know that during my work day I can take my lunch and go for a drive, read, blog, or even just veg out! Right now, “me” time is somewhat non-existent. I guess I feel like when I go back to work I will have more structure to allow for that. I also know that as he continues to get older, his sisters will be available to help out for more than just my quick showers or grocery shopping once in a while.

I also happen to be highly extroverted and social in my offline life! I thrive on interacting with people, connecting, socializing, networking, it’s all part of who I am as a person and why I love being in Human Resources. It’s what makes me, me! Perhaps I feel like I’ve lost a bit of that Natalie and I need her back!

FACTOR 3: Daycare

Ah, daycare! Not only is it ridiculously hard to find nowadays, it’s also pretty expensive. Again, I go back to when I had the girls, with Ki I had to put her in a home daycare and it was not a great experience. When you pick up your child and the provider tells you “your child is a human vacuum, she just picks up anything off of the floor and eats it!”, or “there wasn’t enough Tylenol in the bottle today”, you know it’s time to make a change. I was on daycare centre lists for almost 2 years and thankfully got Ki (and Ci later on) into Storybook Daycare, the best daycare I’ve known in good ‘ol Transcona. Unfortunately, for my little J, we don’t live in that area anymore so the process to find a daycare started all over again the moment I became pregnant. Looks like we may have a home daycare close by to go to, so I am thankful for that and hopeful that it works out.

I’ve been able to achieve work life balance before, and I know I can again. Maybe one day I’ll snag a 3 or 4 day work week – best of both worlds?!

Now, don’t get me wrong, when I think of my days with my son, I smile, because we enjoy each other! He’s wonderful to watch each day. He enjoys exploring and pulling things apart while I apparently enjoy chasing after him!
This post is in no way a knock against the many moms I know who stay at home and are successful at it or my friends who have experienced miscarriages, difficult pregnancies, adoptions, or even my friends in the United States who don’t get paid maternity leave. Believe me, I am thankful for what I have! This post contains my personal and honest thoughts on MY situation. Blogging is about community, it’s about sharing, and it’s about being able to be who you are. If I didn’t believe in that premise, I wouldn’t be writing this post and Lord knows I wouldn’t be ME!

Am I alone in my thoughts on heading back to work sooner than later? Are you in the same boat? Or maybe you are a stay at home mom and you’d like to share your experience(s)? I wanna hear it all!

Discuss. 😉

 

12 Comments

  1. Susan T.
    December 27, 2013 / 4:44 pm

    I don’t have children myself but my friends do and faced the same decisions as you. They both went back to work after 1 year and it really came down to the need for money. It is so frustrating that stay at home mothers don’t get paid nearly what they are worth!

  2. Marie
    January 26, 2013 / 7:26 am

    OMG the cross roads of any "career oriented" woman…lol. Never in my wildest dreams did I envision myself as a stay at home Mom. I still have a hardtime with it, I get sick of the montony, I do not have a "show home" clean house, I am not a 5 star cook and I can't stay on top of the laundry. I was a single parent, working, going to school and raising a total self reliant child. Fast forward 14 years and it was time to start thinking about returning to work after having my son and after 13 years of working, I was torn. I mean for months when my EI would come in I would start crying cause I felt like I was bologna sandwiches to a gourmet meal. Ultimatly, I made the decision to stay home. This allowed us to finally open our business (which keeps us so busy), and deal with issue that would have/had fallen through the cracks. I have days when I Iook in the closet and see my dress pants and blouses, and here I am in bleached stained clothes and long for the day that I can be around grown ups all day. Every week for the last 3 years, I check on available jobs to see if I still have the skills to get back out there…lol. I know that so many woman would love the option of staying home with their babies, and I realize I am blessed to have the choice….but doesn't mean that I don't miss the otherside of "Marie".

    • January 28, 2013 / 3:45 pm

      So well written! Thank you for sharing! At the end of the day we do our best at motherhood regardless of where we do it.

  3. January 24, 2013 / 6:06 pm

    I'm totally the same! When I went back to work, I wrote a similar post Natalie! Some people can stay at home, I'm not one of them. 🙂 Can't wait until you're back by the way.

    http://www.realtechmom.com/chose-work-kids/

    • January 28, 2013 / 3:43 pm

      It's really great to have other like minded moms state their similar thoughts! Ill be back sooner than you know it, just working on details!

    • January 18, 2013 / 12:56 pm

      Done and done-book it!

  4. Toshya
    January 18, 2013 / 5:06 am

    Girl – you are not alone! I have had moms that pulled their 1st child out of my daycare while on mat leave with #2 with the plan of being a stay-at-home mom only to approach me at the end of the leave asking to come back with both kids in tow! Every family is different; every mom is different. I am a very firm believer that to be a happy fulfilled mom you MUST also be a happy fulfilled person. What fulfills you personally is different for every mom. And that is my 2 cents – for what it's worth. Ciao!

    • January 18, 2013 / 11:03 am

      Awesome response! Yup, I know who I am and what fulfills me – it is possible to have it all, well kinda ;). I know J's new daycare will be great too!

  5. Shirli
    January 17, 2013 / 1:26 pm

    Wow- there are other women like me?? You read my thoughts about mat leave!!

    • January 17, 2013 / 2:34 pm

      Yay I'm not alone!!!

PegCityLovely is all about the convo - let your thoughts be known!