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Going back to work after maternity leave: Daydreaming or night sweats?

"I want desperately to go back to work".

"I am dreading getting back to work."

These two perspectives couldn't be more opposite; however, one is not more or less valid than the other.

My mom used to tell me how much she dreamt of going back to work during her maternity leave - which only lasted 5 months by the way! Despite loving her baby (me!), my mom also loved her job. Being home with a baby who demanded all her care and attention was not nearly enough heaven on earth. Relevant to say that she was mourning her father who had just passed away three months before she gave birth. In addition, she was living with her mother-in-law who was a tough nut to crack. So, when she finally went back to work a huge relief came over her.

If I consider my experience, living in a country where paid parental leave is one year, I felt incredibly grateful. During these 12-month period, I was able to enjoy every bit of motherhood while I pursued other personal and professional goals. With no rush to go back to work, I allowed myself time to do a bunch of stuff I wouldn't have started otherwise. I enrolled in coaching workshops, read lots of books, started writing more often, joined an online community, did volunteering work, picked up an old hobby. It was different though equally rewarding the second time around.

From my experience, I definitively fit into the second category! Probably because I do not love my job, but that not being the only reason.

One week ago, it was my first day back to work after a 14-month break. I'll be honest with you: My motivation is quite low as well as my energy levels - especially considering what I have shared with you about the laughable proposal I got. Nonetheless, I'm back to my old routine and still adjusting to this constant juggle between motherhood and work. I guess it is not harder than the first time around, just different.

Regardless of where you fit - wanting badly to go back to work versus dreading going back - there is no need for shame or guilt.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to get back on track and pursue a successful career. Nor is it abnormal to enjoy being at home taking care of your children while you do or work on something else (or not!).

You are a better mom not because of it, but in spite of it. Remember that when you feel connected to yourself and to your purpose, you tend to be more fulfilled and happier. Your children will feel that through you which will fuel a deeper and healthier connection.

There is no right way or better way. Only YOUR way. What makes sense to you in the present moment. Whether it has only been two months and you are eager to go back to work or five months and you don't feel ready to go back, just pause and breathe. Whether you have been back to work and your are crushing it or you are struggling to adjust, just pause and breathe.

Let go of any guilt or self-judgement and live the here and now. Enjoy these moments with your baby just as they come. Regardless of your decision, time is something you do not get back. Experience in its entirety the phase you are going through right now, knowing that you will figure out what is best for you and your family.



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