I intentionally took my time to write this piece. It has been challenging to process these times. And I’m sure the majority of you reading this today will understand. This time around, this transition back to work is like nothing I would have ever imagined. I needed a moment to absorb it all. There’s a few things that I want to talk about in this post, but I want to preface it by saying how grateful I am to have my health, a steady job, and my family. I have to show gratitude. As much as I feel angry and disgruntled – I am appreciative. So, let’s get into it…
I’ve been back to work for just over a month. I’ve been pretty vocal about my sentiments towards this past maternity leave. It never truly felt like a “leave”. And just as my maternity leave felt far from normal, it feels like nothing has changed with this transition of going back to work, yet so much has. Without hesitation, I’m asked daily by others on how it’s been being back at work and I respond with either “it’s fine” or “it’s good”. When in actuality, it has been hard. I avoid the question as much as possible because just thinking about how to answer it is exhausting. I’ve been avoiding it, which I recognize is not doing me any good – avoidance does not solve anything. I guess that’s why I’m here.
I’ll start with the fact that Matt and I have been parenting with little to no help for the past 9 months. We don’t get a breather or a moment to ourselves. Our days are a blur and with the both of us now working full-time, we’re running on little to no fuel. Exhausted is an understatement. There’s no secret recipe to making it work (as much as I wish there was). Both of our days are filled with back-to-back meetings and deadlines. It just means, our kids are probably getting the shorter end of the stick here. I mean, they’re changed, fed, and entertained too. In between meetings, you can find us singing lullabies with Aliza, practicing our learning how to read and write with Amia, changing diapers, attending to school-kid related activities. Don’t forget the laundry (which often gets forgotten in the machine), the attempted healthy cooked meals (feels like we’re always in the kitchen), the endless amounts of dishes, the tidying, the vaccuming (because having kids at home 24/7 literally means there are crumbs EVERYWHERE). We’re literally pulled in multiple directions at once. We can feel it in our bones. And then to find time for ourselves? We make it happen, but that’s exhausting too.
And yet throughout all of this madness, I’m still trying to keep up with my passion projects. Within the last month I have to be honest, I contemplated taking a step back from my blogging, vlogging, radio, and all the other fun stuff. But I feel as though I’ve built this amazing momentum for myself and I don’t want to let it go. Believe it or not, this work gives me a real high in life. It’s fulfilling and I know I have full freedom to kind of do what I want. So, before I officially begin my work day, I jump on my socials and do what I need to do and usually catch-up at lunch time and then of course in the evening. I miss doing this work full-time but I’m a committed professional as well. Which leads me to my next point…
As my return to work date was approaching, I kind of went in with a mindset that I wouldn’t pour myself into work the way I normally would. Well, that didn’t work out. I have a serious problem with always giving 110% of my dedication to anything I do. And when I don’t, I feel like shit. This is a serious internal struggle and borderline battle. Since being back, I’ve actually enjoyed the work that I’m doing and I’m working hard on getting to the next point in my career – is it wrong to want it all?
To answer that, NO! It’s never wrong to want what you truly want! What’s difficult is to balance and manage how much pressure and stress we put on ourselves if we don’t deliver. I literally think of myself as being a failure if I couldn’t just do it all. But I’m human and I’m a constant work in progress — no one is perfect and especially during these times, it’s difficult to know what the right way of going about life is. I’ve had days where I do want to throw in the towel and just give up. But is it giving up? Is asking for a helping hand giving up? Is sending our kids back in to the real world giving up? It’s not, but it took me a while to get there. So if there’s a few things that I could leave you all with as tips to get through a transition (whether it be work or ANYTHING), here it is…
- Listen to yourself: Are you pushing yourself over the edge? Recognize the signs. I’ve had to step away from social media or my computer and that’s okay. It doesn’t insinuate any sort of weakness. Talk to your supervisor. Speak to a professional. I can’t stress enough how difficult parents have it at the moment. We need to be honest with ourselves and just listen to our mind and body.
- Hold yourself accountable in a kind and compassionate way: Always hold yourself accountable BUT set realistic goals and expectations for yourself. Plan out your days. Know what you’re getting yourself into the night before. Sometimes just knowing what my schedule might be the next day prepares my mind.
- Who are you doing this for?: Whatever your work is or your passion project, make sure you’re doing it for yourself and not to please others. Sometimes (and I am guilty of this), we get caught up in the numbers or the sheer need of pleasing and surpassing others’ expectations. Always check-in with yourself first.
- MOMS! We’re literally on this wild ride together. This is not a time to roll up our sleeves to prove to anyone about who’s doing this better. We should be showing up for one another and asking each other how can we help? I know I tend to show my sense of humour (majority of the time) on my platforms, but deep down it’s not always funny. And we need a solid support system, an environment that allows us to share our vulnerability without fear of judgement. I’m always here, holding that utmost space for all of you.
And finally, as a final last tip type of thing, remember to take a few minutes for yourself. I’ve been committed to getting up, showering, and putting on some real clothes every work day while working from home. There’s something about this that makes things feel somewhat normal. I feel refreshed and ready to tackle the day. I do have the urge from time to time to just roll out of bed, but I know if I did this everyday, I would fall down a deep dark hole. Whatever it takes, just honestly take a few minutes to catch a breath for YOU. And as a final final final reminder: YOU ARE DOING A PHENOMENAL JOB! Don’t doubt yourself, ever. You got this!