Working in parenthood: The constant juggle, is it really worth it?
Returning to work after kids, it’s inevitable for the majority of mothers in our time. Whether you need the income, you need to retain your job or you just want to return to work – there has never been more mothers returning to the workforce than now.
It is a huge adjustment and it can provoke anxiety amongst many women; ‘does my brain still know how to do this?’ is a thought that arises - especially for those mamas who may have had years off to see their little ones through toddlerhood, to school. Your confidence can take a hit and it can be a helluva rollercoaster!
It’s overwhelming. The thought of everything you must cram into your days already, then throw working on top. How will I achieve it all? How can I still be the best mother to my kids? How will I keep on top of the housework, the shopping, the bill-paying, being a good friend? (cue implosion).
First step… CHILLLLLL. Do not give in to the overwhelm. It will absolutely not help and you will end up ugly-crying in the toilet.
Second step, take each day as it comes, move one foot in front of the other and it will all come together.
If you are questioning yourself, whether you can do it. Let me tell you, you absolutely CAN.
There are so many pros to working that often get overlooked in the overwhelm:
Socialising and relationships. Being social with adults and not talking only about poop, sleep patterns and baby food, is wonderful! (and sometimes those stories slip in there, too)
Getting those synapses firing. When you are at home on maternity leave, the ‘norm’ changes and you get used to thinking about the same things, troubleshooting familiar problems day-in, day-out. Working gets you focusing on different things, reacquainting you with the world outside of parenthood and flexes your brain muscle.
MONEY. You get paid, girlfriend! Enough said.
You have a new appreciation for the time you have with your children and are more proactive in organising activities/trying new things.
The parent support group. The other parents at your workplace, they know what’s up. They are so great to bounce off, debrief and vent to. They know how hard it can be to juggle it all and they always know how to make you feel better.
A pain point that is often talked about is how many mothers feel like the relationship with their children will suffer in their return to work. This can be looked at as a case of quality over quantity. Yes, the physical hours with your children will be reduced but what you can fit into the time you do have with them, is what counts. ‘Absence makes the heart grow fonder’ is truly the case in returning to work as a parent. When you pick your children up from daycare or school, you want to drink up every bit of that moment, you hug them a little tighter, perhaps give them a few (hundred) more kisses and they will feel all that love.
Weekends will inspire you to venture out to make up for lost time during the week. You are more inclined to organise activities, plan catch up's or kill two birds, so to speak and meet up with other friends and their kids, too. Even if you don’t head out, chilling at home will be even more satisfying because you haven’t been able to do this all working week. You can throw a load of laundry on, then read your kids those books they love or build the biggest LEGO tower ever. You can sit on the couch and cuddle them, not lamenting the fact you’ve already watched this Trolls movie more times than you can count. Grocery shopping becomes an activity, something to share together, not a chore.
So, whether you choose to return to work or you have no choice but to work; there are still many positives that can come from working as a mother. It is a juggling act, it can be tricky but it definitely doesn’t mean you won’t still have fun along the way.
Author: Jessie Parker