My "Return to Work" Realization

I remember the dread of returning to work from maternity leave. The tears flowed weeks in advance. The anxiety of the unknown set in. The fear of missing out on all the milestones and firsts surfaced. 

I studied for 20 years to ultimately become an attorney. I have always been motivated and driven. I have prided myself on being a go-getter. The older I got, the more I couldn't understand how my mom gave up her career to stay home with my brother and me. (For my parents, it was a mixture of what made the most financial sense and desire). Sure, I loved having her home but I didn't really get it. How and why had she made such a big sacrifice?

Then, I got pregnant. I gave birth to my baby. I became a mom. And part of me did not want to go back to work (though I did for various reasons). I got it. I finally got it and I understood my mom. (I want to take a break here to formally say I'm sorry for not understanding, Mom.)

When I did return to my job a little over three months after giving birth, I (selfishly) missed being pregnant, mostly because it meant my little one was always with me. As absurd as it might sound, I wanted to be the one to carry him all the time, to spend all day with him, and to not have to miss him. 

Now that I'm better acclimated to being back at the office, I don't miss being pregnant for that reason (as much, anyway). Because his little personality and curiosity is just so amazing ... and though to share him with the outside world is as scary as it is amazing, seeing him grow and develop and flourish and happily interact with others, especially his Dada, is so worth it. 

To be honest, it's a process. It took a bit of time to feel this way and to be okay with returning to my job. There are still days when I feel badly about it. Then, there are those other days, like when he was sick and only wanted me. Or when I heard him say "Mama" for the first time and when I saw him take his first steps. It's as if he waited for me to get home from work to do those things. It's as if he knows that I still want to be present for the all of his moments. That I'm still, and always will be, Mama. 

And in my heart, I know going back to work was a fine decision. I won't miss out. He won't forget me. I will always be Mama.