Rosie to the Rescue!: When Mommy Has to Go to Work
In case you missed it, here is a recent post from “Rosie to the Rescue”, my blog for Parents Magazine, where I give you my advice for going back to work. Don’t miss the rest of the “Rosie to the Rescue” posts, available here
The past four months have gone by in a flash. I can hardly believe it was just 16 weeks ago that I gave birth to my sweet baby Bridget, number four in our brood. Like so many other mothers in America, I was not able to take the maternity leave that I would have liked. After all, I run my own business, so stopping work for months at a time really wasn’t an option.
Juggling my dual life as business owner and a mother of four is not something that I’ve mastered with total elegance. While it may at times look like that from the outside — thanks to a great blow out and some snazzy wedges — the inside is a hurricane of emotion!
With hormones flying high and fantasies of being a stay-at-home mother swirling in my head, having to leave my children for work is very emotional for me. It is almost impossible to walk out the door without tearing up as the kids throw themselves around my ankles trying to keep me from leaving. On one hand, I am deeply touched that they want and need me so much, but I’m also deeply saddened that I have to leave and that I can’t just drop my bags and say, “Mommy is staying home today.”
Over the whirlwind of the last four months, I have become acutely aware about how I talk about the concept of “work” with my kids. It is so easy in these moments to be negative about having to work, to make it this big bad beast that is keeping Mommy from playtime, swim camp, and school trips. However, I’ve realized, as much as I would like to blame all of this on work, I can’t. And more than that, it’s just not healthy. It is incredibly important that I paint a positive picture of work for my children. It is imperative that they understand why I go and that it can be very fulfilling. I want the concept of work to be something they can look forward to as they grow older, so they are proud that I’m providing for our family and not angry that I am leaving.
Work is something I have to do. I can’t change that right now, but I can change how I present it to my kids so that is a positive thing in our household. I have started to tell them how much I will miss them and how much I can’t wait to get home to play but also that work is important because it can be very fun and it allows us to eat, live in our house, save for college and, of course, buy the all-important Legos!
My kids are already starting to understand this. In fact, this morning as I left the house, my 5-year-old said, “Mommy, I think maybe you should work more today because my birthday is coming up, and I would really like a big, lovely present.” I couldn’t help but smile.