Balancing a Career and a Child is Really Damn Hard
I've never really been what I'd describe as a 'career woman', but my job has always been important to me. I've been working for a software company for five and a half years now, and my job was always my baby. I took great pride in my work, and would regularly put in crazy hours to see the company thrive. Working from home meant that my work and life blurred constantly, and I didn't really know what it meant to 'switch off' from my job.
Then I got pregnant. As I stood with trembling hands looking at the positive pregnancy test, a thousand things raced through my mind. One of those things was "but what about my job?"
In that moment I instinctively knew that things would change. As the months wore on, though, I lost sight of that instinct. When planning my maternity leave, I decided I would return to work when baby was 3 months old. How hard could it be, juggling motherhood and a career?
Hard. Really damn hard is the answer. I've been back at work for 3 months now, and every day it gets harder. I feel differently about my career now, and I feel differently about my place of work. What used to be my reason to wake up in the morning is now time I can't spend with my child.
I work four days a week with one day off to attend our Space group. I cherish those days, where it's just my daughter and I for most of the day. I call it our Girl's Day. We can snuggle in bed in the morning until we're ready to get up, play, sing, spend time outside and then see our friends at Space in the afternoon. I've found myself living for Thursdays.
I've been thinking for weeks about what it is that's changed for me at work, and debating whether I should write this blog post. After all, what if someone from work reads it? Well, hello if you're a colleague, nice to see you here! This is the truth, in all its rawness.
I think I've figured it out, though. It's that my purpose has changed.
Before having my daughter I didn't really have a purpose. I'd float around from flower to flower like a bee, a taste of that, a nibble of this. My purpose would shift, but usually I'd find my worth in my work. Working made me feel valuable - not only to the company but to my household. I'd contribute a respectable salary for my efforts.
That's not my purpose anymore. My purpose now is to be the best mummy I can to my little girl. To show up for her EVERY SINGLE DAY, with joy in my heart. I don't want to be stressed, or tired, or cranky. But it's hard, when you're juggling all the things. It's hard to not let the stresses of the day carry over into the evenings or the weekend. It's hard to put the phone down when someone is asking you something after hours. It's hard to admit that you can't do everything. It's hard to be honest with yourself about why you're finding things so difficult, and why you're ready to hit the pillow at 7pm.
I'm so incredibly grateful to be where I am, but I'm learning that it's okay to struggle. It's okay to find things hard, and to want to talk about it.
Can anyone relate? I hope I'm not alone in feeling this way. If you're feeling the same or have felt the same in the past, I'd love to hear from you.