One mama shares her experience as she makes the transition back to office life after a baby break.
There used to be mornings when I would wake up earlier than my 2-and-a-half year old son. I would wait lazily in my bed to hear him start singing and playing. I would pick him up, bring him to my bed, and we would sit enjoying each other's company before the day began. Now I don’t. I have to wake up with an alarm clock every day and get both of us ready, being only able to see my son for a short period of time before running to my office.
I am now a working mum. Nothing really prepared me to let go of the two years of my life when I had my little one with me every day, and the transition of now only seeing him briefly in the morning, again at the end of the afternoon and on the weekends.
Don’t misunderstand me. I looked for a job for almost a year and a half. Always independent and busy with a lot of balls in the air, I was desperate to get back to work. The situation at home with my husband earning a very low salary, bearing all the burden of responsibilities and experiencing burn out didn’t help. I sent out an average of three CV’s per week and received the equal amount of no’s during that time. I was called for a couple of interviews but nothing in comparison to the amount of CV’s being rejected. I started my own company partly to allay my own anxiety about looking for jobs, partly to support the domestic situation, and partly to appease my need to keep myself busy.
I love my new job. I love going to the office, I love joining the morning rush in Amsterdam to go to work, I enjoy working at my company occasionally at the weekends, I enjoy feeling busy. However, I am also heartbroken and I miss my son too much. I know that many mums out there have been doing this since their children were born; I now have a new respect and admiration for those that had to leave their little ones when they were only months old.
Life changes completely with a child, and even if I tried I don’t think I could ever feel the same again after being with my son for those years every day. I feel blessed to have been part of his youngest years and I know I am doing all this for my family and him. There were many reasons why I was a hyperactive person before I was a mum -- but now there is just one reason – to keep my family well. It is a powerful, overwhelming feeling to leave your son every day, but the energy that comes with it is equally strong.
I feel shattered, out of place, learning again, trying to adapt again. Starting over again in the Netherlands was exhausting because I was learning to be a mum in a country which was not my own. Now I am again in the ocean of the unknown – learning how to work in a country which is not my own.
Still, every day, when I get up, I am surprised by my own energy. When I see him smile at me, or feel his small head lying in my lap in the afternoon when I come back from work, I know I have the right source of inspiration. I miss pushing his pram around but I am also enjoying my laptop in my office.
The wonders of being a mum!
Elvira Helena Brock Mendoza is a Colombian mother and expat who has lived in Canada and South Africa, and traveled around different countries. Her company, Mariposa Vlinder, offers low-cost parties to children. View her blog at: elvirahelena.blogspot.nl