why i chose to be a working mama
I'm going to talk about something that can be viewed as a tad contentious. I'm talking about how I made the choice to be a working mama. And to be super clear, it was always a choice I made whole-heartedly. And no it's not as easy and breezy as the outfit above.
Let me take it back to the beginning. My choice to be a working mama came before Lily was born. I knew the kind of life I wanted to live post-baby and I felt like being a working mama made sense. As I was handing in my maternity leave notice (1 year in Canada woop woop!), I gave my return date as August 2016. But when the time came to sign that document, I was torn. Part of me thought maybe one year is not enough and I'll need at least a few years, but the other part of me was 100% committed to coming back on that date.
I always like to compare one year maternity leave as an opposite axis. On the bottom you have the age of your new baby, on the side you have your desire to return to work. Within those first few months my desire to go back to work was non-existent but as we got to the 6 month mark, my desire to work slightly increased. Coming up to Lily's first birthday I was completely ready to return to work.
Now the reason why I say this topic is a little contentious is because some people completely disagree with my choice. And that's ok. Each to their own. But in my heart of hearts I know that being a stay-at-home mama is just not for me. Does that make me a bad mama? I don't think so. Do I feel guilty when I drop Lily off at daycare? Not one bit. Do I look forward to picking her up at the end of the day? 100% yes!
So why is it so that I made this choice to return to work? Well I knew that staying at home with Lily was not going to be enough for me. I need mental stimulation. The feeling of being in a team, training staff, driving sales, managing product and creating marketing concepts is not something I could pass up on until Lily is of school age. I also didn't want to be in a position that meant leaving the workplace for a number of years could potentially make it really hard to get back into the industry.
But to be honest, one of the main reasons why I enjoy the juggle of being a working mama, wife, blogger etc, is because of my work situation. Part of my original hesitation of mat leave ending came from knowing what I was going back to. My old job was extremely stressful and the hours were all over the place. I didn't like the idea of only seeing my child at 6:30pm for 1 hour before they fell asleep. And then three months into my maternity leave I was told that my department no longer existed and that they couldn't guarantee my job would be there when I returned. I genuinely believe this was a blessing in disguise. Knowing that I had no job to return to gave me the freedom to enjoy the rest of mat leave and to start looking for a new job that suited my new life (i.e. young mother).
Flexibility is 100% the key to finding success as a working mama. I was so lucky to come across VONBON and my wonderful boss Jen. As a working mother herself, she got it. I was very clear and upfront - I could only work 4 days a week from 8:30am to 4:30pm (due to Lily's daycare schedule). Jen has understood that from day one and has never pushed me to do overtime hours, or had any expectations that I needed to work from home after Lily goes down. I really believe that's the key to making the whole working mama gig situation successful.
I also know what kind of role model I want to be for Lily when she grows up. I want her and her future sibling/s to know that you can have a family and work - it doesn't have to be mutually exclusive.
Of course there's days when things don't go so smoothly and there's definitely no such thing as balance when it comes to being a working mama. Somedays I'm running on time for drop off and everything is going swell, and then the next day can turn to absolute sh*t when your kid is being difficult or the poor little one is sick. Fingers crossed those days are few and far in-between, but in reality - they'll happen. I wouldn't have it any other way.
Are you a stay-at-home or working mama? To keep the conversation rolling, I'd love to hear in the comments below any challenges you've faced taking on either role?
Photography: Jeremy Wong