This past week, I returned to work after my maternity leave. It’s a juggling act, as all moms know, but I love my job and I’m excited to be back at it. With being a working mom fresh on my plate, I thought I’d write down a few thoughts on the subject.
My work schedule has always been unconventional, especially since I have held some form of self-employment since the age of 17. Working for myself took me through college and grad school, allowing me to juggle classes and homework. It also gave me the added income I needed while working part-time for other organizations or retail outlets (at one time, I held down four part-time jobs at the same time, only two of which were self-employment jobs). Most of all, working for myself gave me the satisfaction that I accomplished exactly what I said I would.
Many women are asked why they return to work after having a child. This sentiment comes in many forms and from many motivations. I know women who have to return to work because their family has bills. They want to stay home with their children, but cannot afford to do so. I know women who return to work because it is fulfilling. They have earned their careers. Still other women work part-time, allowing them to perhaps more easily juggle both home and job.
For nearly a decade now, I’ve worked as a writing coach. I primarily work with students, so my life revolves around the school calendar. Having a baby due at the beginning of the school year could have been better timing on the one hand, but because of it, I could take off a whole semester, which gave me four months to spend with my little one.
I’m a fortunate mom. So many women in the U.S. are not privileged to take that much time off for maternity leave. As someone who has taught intercultural communication, I have studied other culture’s perspectives on working mothers. That alone could be its own rant, er, post, but I’ll refrain for today.
Since I am now counted among the ranks of working mothers, my desire to support women in whatever career choice they make is stronger than ever. Women face an uphill battle in the workplace. When they become moms, it gets even harder. So, to all the moms out there – whether you’re a full-time or part-time working-outside-the-home mom, a mom who can work from home, or a mom whose current career is to be a stay-at-home mom – you are among the strongest women your kids will ever know and you’ve got this.