Maternity Leave Woes

This week my precious baby will turn 6 weeks old.  If I were still in the US I would be getting ready to head back to work, but in France I still have another 10 glorious weeks to enjoy.

There was never a question, however, when either of my kids was born on whether or not I would be going back to work.  I will be returning to work.  (This won't be a post about working mothers vs. stay at home mothers I promise, because I know that SAHM's work their tails off!).

The decision about going back to work was definitely NOT financial since lord only knows half my salary goes to the daycare.  In fact, once Noah starts going to daycare I might just have my paycheck direct deposited into the daycare's account.  The decision was mostly for my sanity.

You see, I adore my children.  They are the most important thing in the world to me - which is why I send them to daycare.  It is truly beneficial to both parties if we do not spend all day together.

At daycare they do fun activities - painting, drawing, socializing, cooking, field trips; at home they do activities like - unrolling the toilet paper, drawing on the furniture, playing with kitchen appliances and the like.

At daycare - they have friends, real friends that they play with and interact with.  At home - they have imaginary friends and the voices inside mommy's head because she's stayed at home too long.

At daycare they learn to speak French, at home they learn the occasional curse word (sad but true).

And in all honesty, I crave that adult interaction that I wouldn't get otherwise.  I love being able to get dressed in the morning and have somewhere to go (even if it is to work).  I love being to have a conversation with adults that does not revolve around nap schedules or toddler bowel movements.

I also see the joy of my son at daycare.  He loves his teachers.  He loves his his "friends".  And they have much cooler toys than we do at home.  He is thriving at daycare, and I don't know if he would be so far advanced if he were at home with me.

I enjoy going to work and being something other than mom (not that being a mom is a bad thing to be).  And the best part, when we get home and I see my son after not having seen him all day, I crave spending time with him.  I want to spend as much time as I can with him before his bedtime.  

The time I spend with him might not be a lot, but he has all of me.  I give him the best quality time, and I give him the best of me!




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25 comments:

Lisa @ Two Bears Farm said...

It's great you enjoy your job! I can get where you're coming from. I quit my full time job when I had the twins, and it was a hard adjustment in the behinning. I got a part time job though, and always enjoyed getting out a couple of mornings a week to teach classes. Unfortunately, the college I was teaching has suffered enrollment issues, so I haven't had a class in about 6 months. But I do miss those moments of work!

Heidi / I'm with Leia said...

Hi sweetie - I know what you mean about having adult conversation but I guess it's much different here in Denmark. Maternity leave here is 46 weeks and we have many groups of other on maternity leave both the kinds that talk about babies and other things. I'm so happy I live in a country that makes it possible to stay at home with my little one for that long although I'm envious of the Swedes that stays at home 1 1/2 year. By the way this is not meant as critic I'm just expressing how I feel. Hope you and Noah is doing well :)

Natalie said...

You gotta do what's best for you and your family. Not everyone is the same...so if you are a good momma (which you are) and your sons are healthy then you are doing a great job!

Michelle said...

It's good that you enjoy your job enough to want to go back! I think that deep down I always just wanted to be a mom, so while I think that one day I'll end up working part-time, for now I'm so glad I get to stay home! I can't imagine going to work and missing things!

Karen Greenberg said...

I totally "get" that. I stayed at home with my girls until the youngest went to Kindergarten. Then I went back to school, got my degree, and am now working as a teacher. I get the best of both worlds. I really couldn't have stayed home longer than I did. I did my best, but I do think my girls missed out on some of the things they would have picked up on at daycare. I DO get satisfaction and a sense of accomplishment from my job, and I'm not afraid to say that!

Liz said...

Good for you! I'm a huge believer in mama needing to do what's best for her. I, too, had a hard time being home 24/7 after Kate was born. I'm not cut out for it.

WeeMason Man's Mom said...

I totally love this post and my reasons for working are basically identical. In a world where there is still so much controversy about working vs stay at home, kudos to you for putting this post out there.

Liz @ A Nut in a Nutshell said...

My sister was the exact same way you are, and she's a fantastic hands-on parent when she's home. It's better for the kids when we choose to do whatever makes us the best possible parents!

MrsB @ crankymonkeys in london said...

I went back to work after 6 months with my 1st but my mind wasn't 100% on it as I had to pump a couple of times during the day. With my 2nd I stayed home for a year and going back with non-leaking boobs was much better :)

ANdie@multiplemama said...

It's a tough decision. And after 4 I'm thinking adult conversation might be a good thing once in a while. And it is really great to love your job!

Helene said...

I have to commend you on recognizing that you're a much better mother and a happier person when you are working outside the home. Some moms dread being at home with their kids all day but feel too guilty to go back to work.

It sounds like you have the best of both worlds!!

Arnebya said...

It is a big decision. And each family has to make the right decision for them. Although I dreaded going back to work each time (and still dread going in each day and none of mine are babies) and craved the adult interaction, I still know it's not for me. But what I love is how each of us writing about our different reasons are so passionate about why we chose the way we did. And it's always interesting to get a glimpse into another mother's brain.

Cam | Bibs and Baubles said...

Great post. I go back and forth about this. A part of me would love to be home with my son all day but I really do like my job and because I've been there so long my co-workers have become like family. Hard to leave at this point.

Shellsea said...

This was a great post. Funny, but meaningful. I totally get the getting dressed to go somewhere. I feel weird when I shower, do my hair, and put on something nice just to stay home and paint or color. I miss going shopping for new outfits. But, I love being home and I love that I can offer it to other moms too. So amazing that you get 16 weeks!! Other commenters mentioned even longer in other countries-wow!

Hungrigyrl said...

Wow, France definitely has some better benefits in that regard. Anyway I can understand why you are anxious to get back to work. Being at home is hard and its not for everyone. I work too, but I was laid off for a year and loooved being at home. I personally feel that working PT would be ideal for me. My current employer lets me work at home on Fridays and that is a huge benefit that I am very thankful for. Especially because my commute is long (40 mins each way average, but there are some really bad days sometimes) so its nice not to drive in that one day a week. I do like adult interaction but I'd rather enjoy that with my friends than the people I work with! LOL

Emmy said...

Wow, that almost made me want to go to work! And yes, we all do have to decide what is best for us and our own families. So nice you still have a lot more time until you have to go back

Elena said...

Six weeks already! I do enjoy working as well - it does definitely help my sanity. I hear you on just depositing your check for daycare!

Kate R said...

It sounds like you've found the right balance for you and your kids. Well done, I don't imagine it's easy keeping everyone happy! There is a lot of talk about the working va SAHM thing that I never really understood. There are so many factors involved. I'm not sure how things will go for me. I suppose I like working but my hours can be pretty terrible so that, even with 24 weeks (!) leave, I think it could be hard going back. We shall see, I guess!

SUPAHMAMA! said...

Great post! Glad you found balance as a Mama that works for both you and your kiddos!

Grumpy Grateful Mom said...

It's nice you know what works for your family. I was just talking to a friend about this. My friend originally felt guilty for having to go back to work. But then when she saw how much her son loved daycare and that she was happier when she worked, her perspective completely changed.

Dumb Mom said...

Part-time was enough for me. I got to get out a little and I had money for cute shoes and lattes. Then I went crazy and decided to work full time from home. Bad, bad idea.

JDaniel4's Mom said...

My sister found this worked best for them too. They are great moms just like you!

Jessica said...

You are making the best decision for you and your family which is all the matters. Good for you.

Susan said...

I so hear you. As a former working mama who now stays home...I gotta say, it is harder to be home. I swear it is. It's tough to entertain a toddler all.day.long and keep sane.
I miss work some days.
Mat leave here in Canada is a full year! And still not enough....sigh.

Kim said...

I feel the same, I miss the kids terribly but I see how good it is for them to socialize and learn from an early age how to cooperate, interact have structure etc. Still it's so hard to begin. Also I can't believe Noah is already six weeks!!!

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