Four years ago I returned back to work after what felt like the shortest three months of maternity leave ever. I was a mess. I cried for weeks leading up to that day. When the day finally came that I became a working mom, I felt like I shattered into a million pieces. I had to leave my baby at home while I went back to my full-time job. I was heartbroken and envied all of the stay at home moms that got to stay at home and cuddle with their babies all day.
I loved my job, I really did. I did years of schooling and at this point I had already worked my way up to a senior-level position in the public relations industry. I was lucky enough to land an amazing job right after college and I was doing exactly what I dreamt of doing. So why did I feel like this?
Mom guilt is very much real, and I was experiencing a very bad case of it. I wanted to spend every moment with my baby, and it broke me to leave her behind every morning. This feeling of guilt, pain and sadness lasted for months. I had forgotten how much I enjoyed my career because I was too busy worrying about my baby when I was away, even though I knew she was in the very best care.
This pattern continued for at least two months. It took time for me to get back into my routine, but once I did, I felt a new sense of determination. I began to realize how much hard work I had already put into my career, and I wanted to keep going to show my daughter that anything is possible if you put your mind to it.
I wish I knew where this “aha” moment came from, but it really just came to me. I started reading articles of working moms who were sharing their stories, filled my Instagram feed with inspiring women, and just began to give it my all again. I worked hard to hit my goals and set high expectations for myself. When I came home, I was able to focus all of my time and energy into my daughter. No distractions. This balance began to fuel me.
Four years later, and now with two kids, I feel my life is more balanced than ever. I’m continuing to work my way up in my career, and this sense of fulfillment has helped me become a better mother. Not only am I able to fulfill my life through my career but I’m also setting an example for my kids. I get home from work every day and I’m able to unplug and really just enjoy my time with them since I know I have already conquered my day.
If I have learned one thing from my experience, it is that it is absolutely okay to grow your family and career at the same time. Why should you have to put one on hold for the other? At the end of each day I feel accomplished on so many levels. I worked hard to put my feelings of guilt and sadness behind me by finding inspiration through other women. At the end of the day, we need to do what feels right. Follow your heart and never take on more than you can handle.