A Working Mama
I started my maternity leave five days before my due date which was October 28th. I had envisioned myself working two days past my due date because Halloween sounded like a good end-date but after a particularly challenging Friday, my husband took one look at me and said, "You're done. Let's get you nice and relaxed so you can have enough energy to have that baby". My employers agreed to the start date and my arduous wait for Winter's arrival began. She was nine days late and I needed to be induced (I'll share my birth story another time). I had only been with my employer for a year and half before taking maternity leave which meant I had accumulated a lousy two weeks of paid leave. I am so grateful that I have a career, yet I have to say that the USA maternity and paternity laws are lacking in so many ways. From the time Winter was born, I got exactly 88 days before going back to work (well, 89 if you count that the my first day back was a snow day and I did not have to work). That's 2,112 hours which looks like a big number yet feels like the fastest roller-coaster ride of my life.
Leading up to my first day back there were waves of anxiety and panic. I couldn't fathom leaving my baby nor being a contributing member to my work team when I was so sleep deprived. I am prone to being a bit anxious so I had to do all that I could to shift my mindset and focus on the benefits of being a working mother. I like to think that if I must work (dang those student loans at 8% interest) that I am doing my part in fighting for gender pay equality and that she will know that a woman's work is just as important as a mans. I hope that she will see that her mommy has drive, passion and tenacity and while Winter will always be in the center of my heart, that she also knows that I have other interests that contribute to my identity as well. I like that the financial responsibilities will be shared between my husband and I and that our efforts will allow us to save for her future and create the paradise that we've always dreamed about such as raising her bi-lingual and bi-cultural and spending a few weeks in the summer in Spanish speaking countries.
Winter is my most important work and by far the most rewarding. I will remind her that family will always come first. But, if I have to be a working mama, I mind as well try to embody the half glass-full mentality. I hope that being away from Winter will continue to make my time with her that much sweeter.
Photography by Brittany Renee'
Thank you Shabby Apple for sponsoring this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own.