19 Jan Balancing act
I’ve been back at work for two weeks now, after an extended maternity leave of eight months. In these two weeks I can’t count the number of times I’ve been asked “was it difficult to leave your children at home?”, “are you doing ok?”, “don’t you wish you hadn’t come back?”. I’m probably supposed to feel guilty for my answer of “not at all, it’s great to be back!”.
Two years ago, when I returned to work after my son was born, I cried for days and was wracked with guilt each time I was asked a question like that, feeling that he would not be developed in the same way if I wasn’t around, the routine we’d established would be lost and I felt as though I was really letting him down. But he has survived and is a smart little chap who is adored by his Gogo who loves him just as much as I do, who spent time teaching him to count, to sing nursery rhymes and to speak Xhosa. He’s thriving actually and with a lot of input from her.
I feel very blessed to have had the opportunity to stay with both of my children until they were six months old. I loved the slow mornings, the cuddles during afternoon naps and being there for many of the ‘firsts’ of a growing little person. But the truth that I can now finally admit is that I love my job too. I work with a great team of people, I help businesses execute their strategy, I play matchmaker to buyers and sellers. I am energised by that environment and being part of the success stories. The reality is, my time in the office actually makes me a better person, a better mom when I am with my little ones. I think so many working moms are too scared to admit this. I was.
I was afraid to admit that I enjoyed my time away from the nursery rhymes and the bottles. I was scared to admit that I thrive on the routine of a working day, the structure and the pulse. I thought people would judge me and think I’m a lesser mother. But as I’ve grown older and wiser and less afraid to truly acknowledge what makes me happy and what makes me feel good about myself, which ultimately makes me a better mother, I’ve become more confident to create a balance that works for me. I’ve found the courage to have the difficult conversations to ensure that this balance works for all parties. I’ve finally found a combination of the buzz of a corporate environment and the stimulation that it brings, and the very treasured moments of painting dinosaurs with our fingers and playing sing-a-long at Clamber Club.
There are many times when this balance is lost and I question these roles and my real purpose in this world, but for most of the time, this works for me and for the very precious little people I call mine. For this moment and this season, I believe in this balance and have found the courage necessary to keep it.