On Leave.

What I am about to say is not going to be popular.  It might not resonate or sound reasonable to some of you.  And some of you will probably dismiss this post as bad mommy judgement.  But as this is my blog, here goes:

I miss work.

No, I mean I REALLY miss work.  And I want to return to it – in a very real, “how can I make this happen” type of way.

I started maternity leave in early March, a month before baby boy was due.  As most of you might know, here in Canada we get the reap the year-long combined maternity/parental leave benefits.  And as some of you might know, I am co-owner of the company I work for.  A year off is not really in the cards for me, as I will need to return before that to help my partner run the company. 

I am slated to return full time in early 2009.  But, but, but….that just seems so far away.  I can’t wait that long.  Aside from the very real demands that our company has, it’s also a personal need.   A need to step inside my professional life again.  But how can I feel this way so soon after his birth?  I am so very conflicted.

I love my boy.  I love his smile and how he tries to talk to me. I love holding his chubby little hands in mine and watching him watch me.  He is a delight and I cherish these moments we have together.  I know, from seeing my big five year girl leap her way towards six years old, that this time is fleeting.  That someday soon I will turn around and think HOW did this baby become a toddler?

I also love my work.  I love the strategy and conversation involved in my line of work.  I love developing new ideas with my partner about the company and how we want it to work.  I love seeing our ideas come to life and  grow into something so satisfying.   It’s rare to love your job these days, and I appreciate my luck in this regard.

I have many friends who are sad to see their maternity leave end.  And I can understand that, I can.  My time off with Alice was different, as I was working for someone else at the time and just about to start this new venture that has now turned into a most valuable partnership.  This time around, I know how great it can be to have a balanced life of a satisfying job and quality time with my kids.  I know that it is possible to structure a week of working “outside” and “inside” the home (god I hate those terms).  And I know that I can still love and have a special relationship with my kids as much as anyone who chooses to stay home with their own.

i just don’t want to regret any decision i might make that could take me away from this beautiful baby. 

A conflicted heart, am I.

 

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12 Comments »

  1. kgirl said

    Any way you can do both? Can you return to work part-time and enjoy the best of both worlds?

  2. Marla said

    Um…i have a pep talk i just wrote for somebody else about making drastic life changes. I’ll just edit out the parts about stuff that doesn’t relate to you and tighten up the other bits and send it along. It’s pretty good, I hear. And I have a degree from Oprah University, you know.

  3. Jen said

    A happy mommy is a good mommy. I think a lot of us feel the pull to get back into the world and you have crafted this amazing business that allows you to do that and spend time at home, smart woman, you. When the guilts creep up (and they always do, no matter what so-called “choice” we make), remember that the one year mat leave thing is a myth (40% of Canadian mothers do not get any maternity benefits and are not taking close to a year off).

  4. Miche said

    What Jen said. We’re all different. There’s no magical one size fits all answer.

    If mama ain’t happy ain’t nobody happy!

  5. Ingrid said

    I actually think mat leave should be the second year – it’s way more fun, way less boring…. can you do a part-time thing? both mat leaves, I did lots of “outside” things (producing shows, taking courses, writing) and if I could have worked part-time, I totally would have. You’re the boss, lady. Good luck!!

  6. landismom said

    I was in a very similar place to you after the birth of my second child (well, except for the ‘facing months of paid time off’ part)–I really wanted to go back to work. It wasn’t that I loved him less or anything–more that I knew I wouldn’t miss everything if I went back to work, at least part-time, and that it would make me happier in the long run.

    To each her own, on this one, I think.

  7. adina said

    Can matt get pat leave?
    say that sentence out loud. Sounds funny?

  8. jenn said

    Thank you so much for this. Here I sit closing in on the day this baby will enter the world and wondering how I will fare without working. I too love my job. I love the challenges I face every day, the people I spend this time with and the conversations we share. I love it all. I also know love this child sitting inside my body.
    I was looking at 12 months of not doing something I so enjoy, because it appears that it is the expectation that this is what is required of a ‘good mother’. I was carrying this guilt with me that I was already a mother who cared more for herself, than I did my child. This was until I sat with a friend a few weeks ago who owns her own company. She was back at work after 2 weeks after the baby was born. Yes, the baby came to the office with her. Yes, she is a wonderful mother, her children are amazing, and I hope my child grows up to be like them. This woman told me that she and her partner decided to make their family decisions about their own family. If mom’s happy working, her children will be happy. If mom is sitting at home and missing a large part of what makes her feel like a complete being, how can she get the full joy of life? Really, isn’t that what you want to pass onto your child? How to get the most joy and love out of life?
    So, my husband I and talked about it. I’m going to go back to work after 6 months. Just part-time at first, but maybe it’ll be for longer periods of time shortly thereafter. I will need to do it for me. I love working. I’m already in love with this child in me. Enjoying my life with both will be the best this for our family.
    Do what you need to do, and enjoy all of it. That’s what’s best for everyone.

  9. Mom said

    Such good advice from these folks which I would echo! You are the boss lady indeed – and part-time is realistic if you can swing the payments. Whatever you choose will be the right thing.

  10. adina said

    I was thinking about this over the past couple of days, and while i loved every minute of Mat Leave, I am also lukewarm about my job.

    I imagine it’s is a very different thing to have your own company and to feel passionate about your work.

    The year of supported parental leave is there to give us options, not to bind us to a 12-month sentence, right?

  11. Lisa b said

    I really really really miss work but I’ve had a year and then some already. They do grow up fast but you just need to find a balance that works for you. I totally see the the allure of going back to your own company. I was lucky in that the last group of boys I had had the most annoying parents ev-ah so if I really wish I was a work I think back on that and go back to my blog reading.

  12. kittenpie said

    I think it was around month ten with Pumpkinpie that I finally had enough energy to start thinking of more than the schedule and feeding and (not) sleeping of my child, and then I felt I was going to be about ready to go back very soon. So if your babe is a good sleeper or on a pretty good schedule, I could totally see how you could hit that point sooner, when your brain is not totally taken over and has space to think about wanting adult thoughts. Don’t feel bad for that.

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