I always thought I would be a working mom. Staying at home sounded boring, monotonous, unfulfilling. I didn't go to college and then graduate school just to spend my days sitting around the house with a baby.
And then I had a baby. And I tried to be on maternity leave. And I realized I have a serious problem: I am obsessed with work.
I want to be a rockstar at work, 100% of the time, and if I'm not kicking ass and taking names, I feel like I'm failing at my job. And I just can't do both... I can't rock at my job and rock at being a mom.
On days I'm at home with Henry, I obsessively check my email, work during his naps, and worry that I'm missing out on something Important. When I'm at work, I'm frustrated knowing Henry is being cared for by a stranger. He's missing out on being loved by his parents, he's getting bottles instead of breastfeeding, and he's not napping. Poor guy comes home exhausted and ends up asleep for the night by 5:30. Which means I'm rushing out of the office trying to make sure I get to see him before bed.
By no means is it an ideal situation. But I also realize how privileged I am. I only work 20 hours a week. We can afford for me to work 20 hours a week. I have a wonderful boss and supportive office. I love the work I am doing. And yet, I still feel as though something has to give. I don't want to spend the next 18 years doing the awkward work/stay home finding balance dance. I want to be there for Henry now and as he continues to grow and change and need me.
I am so lucky that I can choose between advancing in my career and being home with my child, but I hate feeling like I have to make a choice. I want to do both - but I know myself. I know that I can't just toe the line and live in both worlds. I want to be all in or all out, and I'm leaning towards being all out. I want to pour my energy into my family, and I want to figure out how to do it well, without the pull and strain of my work.
If only there were easy answers to the hard questions in life.