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A few months ago, I became a mom—and it has felt a lot like going on a pilgrimage.
I began wide-eyed, headed into the unknown, and full of inspiration. It’s a beautiful and life changing journey, but eventually, you encounter some fear that requires serious attention.
Right now, my fear revolves around going back to work, and I know I’m not alone. There is a lot of guilt, confusion, and even jealousy that can come up around being a working mom.
And as I approach my last week of maternity leave, I’m feeling heavy with the reality that the long days home alone, snuggling with my little one are numbered.
With humble acknowledgement that everyone approaches challenges differently, and everyone’s job and situation are unique, I’d like to share the three things I’m doing as a new mom before going back to my corporate job next week:
1. Be Brave: Remembering why I work
For me, this meant writing down what brought me to my current employer.
In a very real way, my job revolves around supporting my family. Now, with my newest family member, I want to be able to provide this even more.
I’m taking time to write down what my job offers me and what I can offer back. I’m noting how I’ve grown both personally and professionally within it, charting the trajectory it took to get me there, and discovering where my future ambitions lie.
I’m facing this transition with bravery and recommitting to some of the excitement and enthusiasm I’ve always had around working hard and being able to provide for myself and those I love.
2. Be Grateful: Slowing down at home
I’m surprised to see myself type this on a page, as I’m normally someone who revels in efficiency, complexity, and fast-paced environments—yes, even at home.
But I’m breathing. I’m taking time to follow the feelings I’m having about myself, others, and my situation. I’m meditating with my little boy, I’m going to yoga, and I’m reading something for pleasure. I’m even letting the bathroom get dirty if it means I can spend a few extra minutes being slow and relaxed.
I’m allowing myself to feel grateful for all the easy and hard things that come with being home alone with a baby. So, I might not be the most productive right now. That’s okay—these are moments to treasure and soak in.
3. Be Kind: Sending loving-kindness to myself
This is the hardest one of all! I’m reminding myself daily that I don’t have to act out, blame, or repress any of the feelings I’m having about being a professional, a partner, and a mom.
Instead, I’ve been shifting my focus to imagine that perhaps when I am friendlier with myself, the situation becomes more friendly, too. I’m allowed to be confused—simultaneously wanting my autonomy while also never wanting to leave my child’s side.
Whatever we’re feeling, it’s important to not judge ourselves. Put an alert on your phone, post a note on the fridge, do whatever you need to do to send yourself a little extra compassion.
I’m trembling a little now as I figure out the logistics and pull out my work clothes again. But I’m reassured by the number of women I know who have gone through this transition before me, and how they held themselves accountable to their own bravery, gratitude, and kindness.