In the U.S, we are notoriously known for not having enough maternity leave once we have our baby, and the feelings that come along with that can be really rough. The days leading up to joining the work force again can be filled with anxiety. But a girl’s gotta do, what a girl’s gotta do! So time for you to get some encouragement! I interviewed some adults to help ease your worries, ranging from current full time moms, stay at home moms, and current adults who grew up with full time working moms. The verdict? It is going to be ok! Here are some of the main full time working mom worries you can throw out the door!
1) I feel like if I go back to work, my babies and I won’t be as close!
That’s not necessarily true, according to the adults surveyed, who grew up with their own moms working full time. Joëlle Alice Sykes is now a stay at home mom, and grew up with her mom working full time, and what she says about her mom may surprise you! “She is my best friend; we have an amazing relationship and talk daily,” said Joëlle.
Jennifer Hershey, also a stay at home mom, chimes in in agreement about her own working mom. “We see each other a lot and talk on the phone every day. I wouldn’t be the mom I am if not for her. She’s an awesome grandma to my kids and passing on her good example of a hard working woman to my daughter.”
Catherine Liebrock, who currently works as a full-time third grade teacher hundreds of miles away from home, says the same about her mom. Catherine’s mom also worked full time when Catherine was growing up! “We text each other every day and talk on the phone 2-3 times a week. She is one of the first people I turn to when I have exciting news, need some help, or am really upset about something.”
2) I feel like if I work full time, I won’t be around to educate my kids as much.
I know – I know. You feel like if you could just be home with your kids full time, they would be reciting the Latin alphabet, and solving algorithms, and doing hourly art and crafts. I can tell you as a mom who has experienced working full time, working from home, and even had the opportunity to be a stay at home mom, that you will always be super busy no matter what. You get busy with house work, social events, playdates, you name it. The interviewed adults who grew up with working moms actually said they felt they gained so much from watching their parents work.
Josie Angel, a Registered Nurse turned stay at home mom, said some pretty awesome stuff about growing up with a full time working mom! “You do what you have to do to get through it. I learned hard work pays off, that you work hard so you can play hard. You work first to have a comfortable home and then everything else is extra. We always had a nice warm home, food, and clothes. All the extra things were just that…extra.”
“My mom is passionate about her work and very good at what she does. I’ve always been so proud of her. I don’t remember feeling that she wasn’t there for me or involved in my life,” said Joëlle Alice Sykes. “My mom is a very strong woman, who never slacked off. I developed my work ethic from both she and my dad.”
Jennifer Hershey agrees. “I learned a true appreciation for what she did when I worked in a nursing home myself in college. Her job is physically, mentally and emotionally demanding, but she’s always loved taking care of her residents.”
Catherine Liebrock experiences the same sentiments. “I view my mother as such a strong, independent, insanely smart, woman. I learned that girls can do anything boys can do – maybe even better! I also learned adaptability. Life is going to throw you curve balls, and you’re going to need to learn how to deal with them. I have seen my mother adapt to so many different circumstances and be so strong and resilient, I can only hope I have gained half of her adaptability, independence, and smarts!”
3) I feel like if I go back to work, my kids may resent me for working full time!
According to the people we interviewed, that wasn’t the case for them! “When I was younger, I never really seemed to grasp the concept that she was working. Looking back, I’m trying to remember a moment where it really impacted me that my mom was leaving the house and me with a sitter to go to work, and I just can’t seem to place one,” said Catherine Liebrock.
Lauri Niles Ohl Feels the same way! “I thought it was normal for her to work – had no idea otherwise,” she said.
Jennifer Hershey did notice her mom working, but also saw the benefits of it. “I had my moments where I wished she was home when I got home from school (I was a latch key kid), but I knew how hard she worked for us. I realized it more as I got older and after my parents divorced – she rocked the single working mom thing, and I was incredibly proud of her.”
Acclaimed author of three books, father of two kids and husband, Michel Sauret, (His latest release, Jump, is coming out in the spring), also grew up with both of his parents working full time. “I didn’t have any negative feelings at all over my mom or dad working. It felt normal.”
4) I feel like I may just get completely overwhelmed when I go back to work!
A mom new to working full time after the birth of her baby said, It will feel like a lot at first, but you will indeed get the hang of it. It will eventually normalize itself. “It just becomes a new kind of normal. A friend of mine told me, ‘Remind yourself that this is just 9 hours of a 24 hour day.’ That really resonated with me and thinking about it that way helps me get through my days.”
But you do need to take care of yourself! Some moms advise to take your first day back to work and look at it as your very first full day mommy break. Take yourself out to your favorite lunch, and start your day off with your favorite coffee drink. Maybe even make lunch plans with a work friend or someone who works nearby. Also, set your expectations to a realistic level at first. You may not get any of your house chores done that week. But it will eventually get done, but if your house never goes back to perfect, just remember that your kids will indeed be grown one day, and you will have all of the time in the world to get it all done. For now, take your free time to just take a deep breath, and give your baby some snuggles. And ask for help! Others are more than very happy to help you in this experience. Do not feel like you are burdening them! They will feel honored that you confided in them to help you out, and will feel good about helping!
Kayleigh Fontana, a full time working mommy of a toddler, has a few tips in case you do get overwhelmed! “My best advice is to never take things too seriously. We’ve always been rather laid back people, so taking things a day at a time has really helped. My house is always a mess, there are always plates in the sink and clothing that needs folded, but what a blessing that is. I try and plan meals for the week on Sundays, so I can go shopping and plan ahead. That is a huge time saver. Also, we stick to a really tight schedule for our son, so bedtime is non-negotiable in our house. We’ve really put our personal life on hold for that, but it’s what is best for our family.”
5) When I go back to work, I’ll never get to see my baby.
Many parents who work full time don’t feel like that at all. “My husband and I both work full time and grew up with parents working full time,” Marie Nicolella said. “We both work all week – me as a teacher and he as a lawyer – but still feel like we get to see our boys a ton. The weekends are key times when we pack in tons of fun stuff like sled riding, water parks, monster truck rallys, pumpkin picking, you name it. And we have kind of balanced that with using week nights to get stuff done around the house. But then of course with big projects we enlist the help of our parents to help with the kids, which we are very lucky to have both sets close and happy to help.”
“I still miss her and think about her every minute of the day, but it does make me appreciate our evenings and weekends a little bit more,” another mom said about her new baby girl. “I make sure to give her extra snuggles at night and tell her repeatedly how much I love her and how her daddy and I are working very hard to provide a good life for her. She is 9-weeks old and maybe doesn’t even have the slightest clue what I am telling her, but some day she will understand. For now, saying those things out loud simply makes me feel better and less guilty about not being with her all day.”
6) I feel like I will just be depressed being away from my baby!
That is not necessarily true. Again, look at your days at work as a little mommy break (Even though you are hard at work), and focus in on the little wins of daily life, and you will come out on top! “Just do the very best you can, and that is all anyone can expect from you! Take one day at a time and be sure to celebrate the little victories: ‘The baby didn’t spit up on my work clothes today – Hoorayyy!’” Said one mom!
7) I feel like my kids may learn work ethic, but what about family values?
The people we interviewed who grew up with working parents had an awesome view of what being a successful adult really means to them. “I think success to me would mean being
about to provide myself and my family with a home, food, and clothing.” Josie Angel said. “Being a productive member of society, being able to contribute to the human nature in a productive manner.”
“I’m an Orthodox Christian, so success to me is raising my children in the Church and having a close relationship with my children and husband,” said Joëlle Alice Sykes.
For Jennifer Hershey, “Success to me is feeling happy with what you’re doing, feeling like you have a purpose in your life and taking pride in whatever you’re doing. If you feel proud of yourself, you’re doing good.”
Catherine Liebrock shares similar ideas, “Success is not measured by money but rather by happiness. If you enjoy what you are doing, know you’re making a difference, good at your job, and are overall happy in life, you are successful.”
All of the people interviewed said that they themselves feel successful.
“Success is the hardest topic for me to talk about because I constantly have two ideas battling with each other: one in my mind and one on my heart,” Michael Sauret explained. “And even though I know the mind is right (The heart, contrary to popular desire, is almost always wrong), I keep going after my heart’s desire, which though passionate is ultimately selfish. My mind has to constantly remind me that no matter what success I may achieve in my writing, photography or army career, if I neglect my wife and children, then I have failed, and none of my accomplishments will matter.
8) I feel like a bad mom going back to work!
Not true at all. You are a GOOD mom! Not every mom can stay home with her kids nowadays. “For our family, it was a necessity, so I made sure to look at it in that respect. I was very sad to let go of my one on one time with my baby and ‘miss out’ on a lot of his milestones, but I have also worked very hard for my career, love my job and want to set an example for my son. Having him with family 75% of the time also helped with my transition back. Working to provide our family with a comfortable life (just how I grew up) is very important to me,” Kayleigh Fontanta, who works full time in marketing and has a toddler, said.
Another mom said, “I would imagine most parents feel they don’t ever have enough time with their children. I would love it if I could be with her all day long, but I know that is not feasible. What I do know is that her teachers at daycare love and comfort her throughout the day and knowing she is in good hands makes this all just a little easier. She won’t really remember Mommy and Daddy dropping her off at daycare at 9 weeks old, but she will remember (And appreciate!) how hard we have worked to give her a good life, and how much we love her.”
Of course there is tons of super value being a mom whether you are stay at home or not, but it is awesome to see other moms and dads going through what you are, and telling you that it is going to be ok!