I threw my brand new scrubs on, put on some makeup, curled my hair and kissed my two boys, ages 4 & 20 months, goodbye and then I headed out the door. But it wasn’t just any normal day. I was no longer a stay-at-home mom. I re-joined the majority of moms and became a working mom again.
I have been a full-time stay-at-home mom for over 3 years now and had been actively pursuing going back to work for about 6 months. I had loved staying home full-time for the first 2 years, but over the last year the urge to go back had gotten stronger and stronger and I knew it was time for a new chapter. I loved being home with my boys. I disliked negotiating all.day.long about meal times and screen time and trying to be a present and decent and fun mom while making sure everything in the house didn’t look like an episode of Hoarders: Kids Toys edition. Homemaking does not come easily to me and the more I tried to keep up with everything, the unhappier I became.
Truthfully? I envied my husband. He worked all day long and then came home and got to be Mr. Fun. I found myself retreating to the bedroom more and more in the evening, desperate for a break from my kids and my house and my life. A fun way to live, right?
After months of praying about what direction to take, I received an email from my old supervisor asking if I was interested in a part-time position that had just opened up. YES. YES. YES!
Except, wait for it: I was 10 weeks pregnant at the time.
They scheduled an informal meeting for a few days later and I went back and forth in my head about what to do. Do I tell them about the pregnancy? Do I not say anything? I talked to some friends who had years of experience in HR and they all said the same thing: “do not mention your pregnancy.” I decided that’s what I was going to do, take the smart route. But the more I talked to my husband about it, the more I didn’t feel okay about it. We decided to pray about the decision together and go with whatever was going to give me the most peace.
The “interview” was going amazingly well, and I was over-the-moon ecstatic at the thought of going back, but then they asked the big question: “Do you have any more questions or anything else you’d like to talk about?” And with a hard swallow, I told them the truth. I conveyed my excitement about the baby AND the job, admitted the less-than-ideal timing of how everything worked out, but promised that I was ready for a new chapter and to return to work even after I had the baby (and a 10-12 week maternity leave because I’m guessing history will repeat itself and I will not be blessed with a great sleeper).
Guess what? They were thankful for my honesty and offered me the position. I think I ate about 20 cookies in celebration (I’m eating for two, people. No judging!)
Nine weeks later I had my first day back and had the best accessory of all, a 19-week baby bump that we now knew was our THIRD boy. I can’t pretend that everyone was all squeals and excitement over the new girl with the very obvious baby bump, but I didn’t let that detract from my excitement. All of the managers obviously knew and have been wonderful in telling me to take breaks and have been very understanding when I tell them at warp speed that I have to RUN to the bathroom because there’s a baby partying directly on my bladder. Right now I’m training full-time on evening shift and that has been harder than anticipated, but I’ve been very grateful for the timing of everything and that this is happening during the second trimester when I have some energy back and I’m not yet waddling. I know plenty of women start new jobs or positions in the first trimester, and I’m pretty sure those women are superheroes. I could barely move off the couch/off the bathroom floor during the first trimester, let alone use my brain and get dressed in anything but sweatpants. I anticipate I’ll move to my regular part-time schedule right around the time that third-trimester starts, which will be perfect and let me get some more quality time with my older boys before their baby brother arrives.
As for our family dynamic? One million percent better. I’m tired, yes, but I miss my boys so much when I’m at work and yet I know they’re having a sensational amount of fun at home with their grandparents or daddy. When I’m home I don’t feel so overwhelmed to be a supermom and do it all and run myself ragged, I know my priority is spending time with my boys and I genuinely want to spend time with them, even when that time is just wrestling on the living room floor. My husband has been my biggest cheerleader and has cheered me on every step of the way, even when he realized that he would have to do solo bedtime duty 5 nights a week. He had me peeing my maternity scrubs with some of the hilarity that occurs when Mom isn’t around and it’s just “MAN TIME”.
Just like with everything, we’re taking this day-by-day and being thankful for the here and the now. Right now I’m glad to feel like “me” again and glad that we’ve found a balance that benefits the entire family.
What about you? Have you gone back to work while pregnant?