Recently, I reached my 10th year anniversary at the company where I became a mom, and I can’t help but think how everything has changed for me since I started. Not too long ago I was looking at how excited one of my new coworkers was for a project, and I realized that at some point, I was like her… I still get excited with new projects and I love my job, but as time has progressed, becoming a mom has changed me a lot.
Let’s be honest, when I began this job, I felt like I could conquer the world. I didn’t care if I had to work weekends or extra hours, I just wanted to learn and show others what I could do.
As time has passed, I have received some reality checks. I met some people that directly or indirectly made me realize what was more important, and after four years of working at this company, I became a mom <3.
My first son was born at a moment where my husband and I both received career advancement opportunities and had recently moved to a different city. But kids bring many lessons and the first thing that little one taught us was that plans can change at any moment.
I went to work pregnant until the very last day, knowing that I needed to return to the office 12 weeks after my son was born. I admire those moms that make the decision to stay home, but for me, the decision was always to go back for many different reasons.
I enjoyed each day of the 12 weeks that I had the opportunity to spend with my baby after he was born. I still remember that chilly morning in November. I had to leave my son with his grandma and aunt who took care of him during the day for over eight months. That day marked my life significantly, and to this day I still remember the song that came up on the radio when I got into the car, “We are Young,” by Fun featuring Janelle Monáe. Aside from leaving my baby, I felt like I was really moving because I was carrying my purse, a laptop backpack, a lunch box, and my breastfeeding pump. Driving to the office was OK but driving back felt long.
Before my son was born, I used to say that I was tired, but I realized that having a baby gives us a completely different kind of tiredness. Before having kids, I didn’t have time for anything (or at least that’s what I used to say), so I don’t know where I got all that extra time that kids require.
I started prioritizing more at work, I learned to delegate, and stopped holding on to different things. I can say that I have never neglected my job, I continue to put my heart into it, but it has been in a different way.
I learned to say NO. That was hard, but important. I haven’t always been available on the weekends and I haven’t always been available to stay late, but I realize this is healthy and perfectly okay. I realized that there are other ways I can support my team and other ways to give my best.
The same happens when one of my kids gets sick. There have been important projects that need to wait, but if it is urgent, there is always someone that will take care of it.
And just as our jobs must wait at times, there are also moments when my family must support me while I’m gone. I create digital content for a Hispanic company, and I would never forget when Juan Gabriel died (he was one of the best singers that Mexico has had), and I knew that even though he passed away on a Sunday, the news couldn’t wait any longer and we needed to start creating content soon.
When my second son was born, everything was easier. I knew what to expect, but it was even harder to go back to work leaving him at daycare 12 weeks after he was born. There were not one, but two kids that I needed to get ready and drop off at school on time. I must admit, this routine was hard, and I still get watery eyes thinking about it because as moms, we can feel that we’re running a race against time and we almost never do everything that we need.
As moms, we must let go of a lot of things and learn to prioritize, recognizing that we are not alone. Even for those like me that don’t have more family in town, most of the time we can count on our partner’s support (my respect and admiration for single working moms).
At the beginning, I used to get upset because my husband doesn’t do the same stuff I do with the kids. But then I realized that our sons need him just the way he is and we complement each other as a team.
The teachers at the day care center are also a great support. Besides giving love and protection to my little ones, teachers have also listened to my concerns, given me words of advice, and support me to further and reach my goals.
We have idealized an image of a working mom who can do everything. And I believe you can do everything, just at different moments of time, knowing that there is a bumpy road ahead. Plans can change and there could be a moment where we may need to create a new plan.
As my kids are getting older, I have seen their needs evolve. I have a six-year-old in first grade and a two-year-old boy at daycare. And even though I keep working as I always have, I know that the circumstances could lead me to something different, like working half time or even being at a stay-at-home mom. But whatever it is, I have faith that will be okay.
If you are a working mom and have read all the way through the end, please never forget that you also have the support of other moms. I’m in different Facebook groups with moms in my area and that have kids the same age I do. But the group I like most is the working moms that have the same profession I do. They always make me realize I’m not alone, and you are not alone either.