Wednesday, May 8, 2019

On Being A Working Mom...

Dear Jax,

It's me, Mommy.  I'm writing you this letter, here on my blog, because I'm still too emotional to put it all into words.  You can't read yet, but if the internet is still a thing when you're old enough, hopefully you can come on here and see how cool I once was and read this letter to you.  You might laugh at me or roll your eyes over how dramatic I am, but I can't help it.  We've spent every day together since last May when I found out I was pregnant, and now I'm back to work and it feels like it all went by so fast and that our precious time together was just stolen away from us.  And we didn't even have a choice.

When I say we didn't have a choice, I'm saying that to be logical.  I mean it in this way - if I want you to have the life you deserve, then I have to be at work, making money and excelling as a working mom.  I need to contribute to the family, and your father and I want you to have everything you've ever needed.  We want you to be fulfilled, to be able to see the world from the perspective you are worthy of.  We want you to be proud of us.  Thus, we both have no choice but to work to make it work as family.  I hope some day you understand.

To be brutally honest, I don't really want to stop working all together... but I don't want to miss out on such valuable time with you either.  To tell you the truth, I feel regretful that being at work makes me happy too.  It's an unfortunate dilemma, and I feel guilty every time I drop you off and kiss you goodbye as I drive away to my other life.  I feel bad that being at work gives me a bit of a "break", and that it sometimes feels good to have time to myself.  Believe me, snuggling with you on the couch every day, holding your little body in my arms knowing I had nowhere else to be was the most beautiful and purest form of happiness I've ever experienced.  And it's not that I don't want to spend every second with you, it's just that life is growing process.  We need to grow in our relationship as mother and son, but we need to learn how to nurture our relationships with the other people in our lives as well.  We can't forget about everyone else who needs us, too.  I can't forget about the world I lived in a little over three months ago, and I don't want to lose my identity or forget who I was before I became your mom.

I just hope some day you're proud of me for saying this -- but I'm proud of my career, and I'm proud of my accomplishments.  I'm happy that I have a job that challenges me daily and employers who respect me. Yes it's hard to show up with a smile every day when my heart is with you, but I have to do it.  For me, for you, for Daddy, and for my job that depends on me.  Does any of this make sense?  Probably not, but you'll soon learn that I ramble a lot because I have SO. MANY. FEELINGS. and I'm just trying my best to make it all work.

I think that's why I'm so torn.  My greatest accomplishment isn't something I have done, or can do, at work.  My greatest accomplishment is you.  It's your perfect smile when you look at me, it's in the trusting gaze you give me when we stare at each other, it's your soft skin, your big eyes (color still undetermined), your smart little brain and healthy, always-moving body, and it's in your zest and love for life.  But even though you're my biggest accomplishment, I still have to accomplish things at work, too.  I hope you can forgive me for trying to do it all.  It's so hard, honey.  It's hard being pregnant, it's harder giving birth, but it's the hardest going back to work and leaving you.  It's so hard trying to juggle it all.

Believe me, I know you're safe and having a wonderfully happy time with your Grandparents while your dad and I are at work, and if you could be with anyone in the world other than with us, I am so glad my parents are the ones you are with, and if it wasn't for modern technology and my mom's understanding of my incessant need for millions of pictures of you a day, it would be even harder to make it through these long days without you. I can't help but be a little jealous of your dad when he picks you up every day.  I know you two are spending quality guy time together though, and you are so lucky to have him as your Daddy.  Don't ever forget that.  Plus, he sends me pictures of you too. The photos of you are making it easier to cope.

I know you're still so innocent and you don't know a lot of things yet.  You don't know how hard it is to juggle traffic and deadlines and constant emails.  You don't know that I get lost in daily thoughts of you when I'm supposed to be typing up letters and pleadings for lawyers. You don't know that I negotiated working longer days Monday-Thursday so that I could have Fridays off so we can spend an entire day together.  You don't know how difficult waking up at 4am is, to make sure I have enough time to feed you before we start our day.  You probably don't know that I stare at you while you sleep, that I hold your little hand while I feed you, that I still cry at night as I second guess everything I'm doing as a mom, and that it actually physically hurts when you go up a size in diapers and clothes because I wish you could stay tiny forever, and that it's not easy for me to digest how fast time is flying.  You don't know that when I leave work, I think about you the entire ride home.  I think about whether or not you've picked up a new habit that I'll soon see, or if you've pooped and burped enough, and that I can't wait to walk through the door and squeeze and kiss you so hard.  You don't know how bad I can't wait to get home to you.

You don't know yet just how much you mean to me.

You may see me flying through the house, packing your diaper bag for the next day, scooping formula into little containers, eating dinner quickly, washing my makeup off with one hand and getting our clothes ready for the next day with the other.  I know you see me moving fast, but it's hard to slow down because I want to get it all done so I can relish in the feeling of your warm little body against mine as I give you your nighttime bottle.

I should probably stop writing now, because the emotions are kicking in and my eyes are filling with some all too familiar tears.  I just hope that when you get to this point in my letter, baby, that you see how special you are and that I don't mean to sacrifice any time with you because I am selfish.  I'm doing it because I need to.  Because it's so hard making ends meet.

But also because I love who I am as a career woman, and I love knowing that I am needed and depended on at work, and with that means being able to provide you with your wants and needs.  I'm doing it because I love knowing someday you will learn how to chase your goals... the way I am learning how to chase mine.

But Jackson, if there's one thing you take from this letter, I hope it's the realization that nothing in the world will ever trump my love for you.

Your Working Mama

photo credit: Jessica Morgan Photography
^ Check her out - she is AMAZINGLY talented and is so good with babies!