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The Return to Work After Baby

Growing up, I always knew I wanted to be a teacher. I remember lining up my stuffed animals as a young girl to “teach” them whatever lesson I had planned. I would read them stories and show them how things worked. I also knew I always wanted to be a mom and had great plans for my future self respective to both of these chosen paths. 

Fast forward 20+ years and I have been successful in both paths of my life that I wanted so badly as a young girl. I have my Master’s in Elementary Education and I’m the mother to two wonderful children. These two paths, however, have not crossed until now.

I was teaching when I discovered I was pregnant with my daughter (now age 3). Baby girl’s due date was mid-April so I knew I wouldn’t return for the end of the school year and planned on taking the year after her birth off under a “leave of absence.” That academic year turned into one more year once we realized we could survive as a single income family with my husband’s job. Then that one more year turned into “Look at that, we’re having another baby!”… and here we are today.

Return to Work

My daughter is almost three and a half and I’ve been a stay-at-home-mom for the duration of her life. Three and a half years didn’t sound like long at first, until I realized that it meant it had been over three years since I had really socialized with other adults in a professional environment, and more than three years since I had stepped for in a classroom to teach, something I loved doing.

Recently, the opportunity presented itself for me to return to work at the school I previously taught at. I turned down the offer and continued on with #momlife. A month or two later, the thoughts of teaching, and the constant regret I felt for turning down that opportunity, couldn’t be ignored any longer. I followed up on the offer and found out that my return was still possible.

I have loved the opportunity to be a stay at home mom and the time I have been able to provide to my babies. I knew I wasn’t ready to give up all of that time and and return to work full time…but I knew I was ready for something. This was an incredibly difficult decision to make, if not the hardest I’ve made, since becoming a parent. As moms, we tend to lose ourselves in our children. It’s easy to immerse ourselves in the hustle of motherhood so much so that we forget who we are and what we loved doing before our sweet babies made an appearance. Working past the guilt of wanting to feel fulfilled in a way other than “mom” was hard, but the consistent thoughts were a sign to me that it was time for me to try something different.

I recently had my first day back at work, as a teacher, and IT WAS AMAZING! My daughter had a small meltdown when I left, but the rest of the day went off without a hitch. Knowing my children are taken care of while I have the opportunity to, once again, pursue something I enjoy, makes for a really wonderful day. Motherhood is so full of transitions: infancy to toddlerhood, new mom to experienced mom, daily showers to dry shampoo, diapers to toilets, and my newest one…stay at home mom to working mom. I’m excited and nervous to learn how to balance this new adventure in life!

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