Mom at work: liability or asset
Before I was going on maternity leave, I had a few projects in mind that I would do during my free time.
I would launch an app I’ve had an idea of for a while. I would write a children’s book based on the idea of the magic world and the characters I made up when I was a child. I would dedicate myself to at least one charity project.
The thought that I would not have time or energy for all that has not even crossed my mind. After all, when the baby sleeps, or peacefully plays with its toys, and all the house chores are done, what would stop me from feeding my creative spirit and doing some good for the world?
Needless to say, I’ve done almost none of it. To be fair, I’ve tried, and have even managed a little bit, time to time. But what did I do with my time? It’s hard to tell, even though I feel like I’ve done so much. I also feel like I’ve learned and discovered an immense amount of information, and I was challenged every step of the way.
I’ve learned what it means to love endlessly and unconditionally, and that few other things matter in life, and what it does to you as a human being. What it does to your worldview when you care, how you see people around you, all of whom used to be babies once, cradled and loved. How one mommy is only as strong as her support system, and the community is the key to every baby’s happiness.
Once again, discovering that hard work, even mental and physical exhaustion goes hand in hand with unparalleled experience of self-discovery, confidence, and, ultimately, true happiness.
I’ve acquired some practical skills. I’ve never been this organized my entire life, and I always considered myself a highly organized person. Let’s face it, there is organized, then there is organized — military style. Then there is baby-style.
I learned to be more patient and compassionate, dealing with the tiny’s person’s problems, that can be as silly as baby scared of his own fart. Yet, you show compassion and respect, even if he just spits up on you and pulls your hair.
I learned how to really multitask. I know how to deal with unexpected issues and stay calm in the face of adversity, and how it feels to be fully responsible for someone’s life and wellbeing.
I’ve read 8 books on parenting, baby nutrition, sleep and baby’s’ cognitive development; attended 20+ mom & baby classes, 15+ developmental activities, including swimming and singing. I both remembered and also learned 50+ children songs in 4 languages. I wrote and followed countless posts on social media, e.g. 8 parenting groups on Facebook I joined, on topics ranging from baby’s health, milestones, books, diapers, toys, strollers, “teethers”, behavioral challenges, car seats and so on.
The journey was hard, self-confronting, scary, wonderful, exhilarating, exhausting.
I missed work though… Part of it was the longing for the time I actually knew what I was doing, when people could tell me what they need — not just screaming and kicking, and also give me feedback — again, not just screaming and spitting or turning their little face away.
I missed my job, the experience, intellectual and creative activity, rewards and social network that come with it.
Now, almost 7 months later I’m going back to work — tomorrow, and I find myself having to remind myself why being a mommy is an asset, and not a liability for my company.
I believe that having a family shouldn’t be a career sacrifice for a woman (or a man). I do understand why people find it hard to believe that a mother would care about any kind of business while she has so much to care about at home. However, the little miracles don’t just make you busy and tired. They lift you up, and make you want to be the better version of yourself every day. This includes your professional self. Being able to come home to face unconditional love is empowering and inspiring.