Today I Let Go…

Today I let go (a little). I stepped out of my comfort zone. I did it. Don’t get me wrong, I sobbed, but I did it.

I’ve been blessed to be able to do my business from home and prior to that have only family watch my daughter while I was working. It’s such a blessing that I would never take for granted. Many people will love your children but in my opinion there is no love like that of your family.

However, a part of me felt like I was depriving Emma a bit. She wasn’t getting a lot of interaction with other kids. I worried it was impacting her speech. I worry a lot. Don’t all moms?😊

So, I made the decision to take Emma once a week to my girlfriend’s house. She has a sitter I adore who watches her almost 3-year-old twins while she goes to work and was kind enough to let me bring Emma into the mix! We’ve had many play dates and Emma is comfortable with them. She’s also been around the sitter before too but never without me in sight.

Today I had to leave. I had to let go so Emma could grow. I will be honest in saying I sobbed all the way home. Did I traumatize my child? Did she think I abandoned her? What did I just do? A million questions ran through my mind. I felt terrible.

My girlfriend whose house Emma was at reassured me its new and scary for both Emma and I but once Emma adjusts it will be a great confidence builder for her. I have no doubt it will be. This will help prepare her for any future day care or school she begins. I just wasn’t prepared for the emotions that came with it. The emotions that my little toddler is growing up so fast. The emotions deep in my heart that are so strong I can only explain it as a mother’s love.

I love my child. I love her so very much. In a world of constant chaos, let us try to remember to love. To really love. Time is the enemy, not your neighbor. Our children will grow up in the blink of an eye. Did we spend the entire time complaining or enjoying? Be grateful and thankful for your blessings.

Why I’m Leaving

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After months of praying, discussing and mostly stressing over, I have made the decision to leave my job. I won’t use the word ‘quit’ because I’m not a quitter. I’ll never be a quitter. It isn’t in my bones to just ‘give up’ on things. I will attribute that to God and my faith. HE keeps me strong when it’s not always easy for me to be. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had plenty of ‘I’m quitting, I’m giving up, screw this, forget that (PG version)’ moments. I think we all have…but we’re only human.

So, the decision to leave wasn’t an easy one and of course when telling others that I would be leaving the response that always followed was ‘why?’. It’s such a loaded question that I honestly still don’t know where to begin, but I will try my best to explain it.

I feel very blessed with the life I have. I’m married to an incredible man with whom I share a beautiful daughter that we love and adore. We have a lovely home which I feel happy to come home to no matter where I am. I have a wonderful family who is so supportive and loving and great friends I enjoy spending time with. I am rich in things that money cannot buy and for me, that is enough.

When you’re a mom, at least for me, it’s hard to be away from your child. Even with my child having the best care possible (her Mema!), I missed her so. I still can’t believe how fast this time is going by and my baby will be 2 years old in June. My decision started there. Her. I want to spend time with her. I want to be there for her. I want to be home with her. It was then that I knew despite the amazing flexibility my job had given me and a one-in-a-million boss, nothing was worth my time away from her.

Then came the second…a hobby. A hobby to create, something I’ve always loved doing since I was little. The hobby turned into a little business and over time I hope will be a big one! I had to pursue it. Now was the time. Yes, I’m leaving a steady paycheck for something as inconsistent as the weather, but I had to do it. I had to take that leap. I made  Let’s Get Chalky a business and now my goal is to pursue it passionately!

A baby and a business and a decision to run full force as a mom and small business owner 🙂 It wasn’t an easy decision, not at all, but there are a lot of decisions in life that aren’t. I put my faith in God that HE will handle the rest and I know HE will, however everything is supposed to work out.

So here I am, on my last day of work, reflecting upon my four years spent here and I leave with a smile. I leave knowing that this is the best decision for me and my family. I leave knowing that the future is exciting, unknown and I look forward to all that is to come. I want to thank my amazing family for all of their support and especially all of their help with Emma during this transition period. I want to thank my husband for working so hard each and every day for our family that has allowed for this opportunity to even be possible. But most of all, I want to thank God for blessing me with Emma Grace and showing me my real purpose in life…to be someone’s mom.

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The Juggling Game

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Whether you decide or must go back to work after maternity leave, it is never easy. You become a juggler. You are figuring out how to work and how to be a mom at the same time along with doing all the other everyday things in your life. The first three months home is an adjustment period filled with no sleep (which truly tests your sanity), figuring out what to do with this new life you’re now responsible for, how to ‘be’ a parent with your spouse or significant other, how to still be a wife/husband/partner with your newly added family member and really just trying to survive each day while the time to return to work adds on a new weighted ball to throw up into the mix.

I had a relatively great pregnancy and despite my long labor, it was all worth it when I heard the doctor say ‘it’s a girl’ (we left the sex to be a surprise!). The first week home felt like the most exhausting and difficult time in my life. I’m a mom, now what the heck do I do and how the heck do I do it? I never felt more insecure and questioned my ability to anything and everything. It’s like someone dropping you off in the middle of the ocean and you trying to find your way to shore with your eyes closed. You don’t know what you’re doing but all you know is that you need to keep your head above water and swim and eventually you’ll get there. Eventually, I will get how to be a parent, or at least that’s what I keep telling myself!

So when it was time for me to return to work (I was lucky enough that my husband and I made the decision I would return part time), I wasn’t ready. How could I leave my three month old? How could I be apart from her for 9 hours a day when she hasn’t left my side since she was born? How could I focus at work when all I’ll be thinking about is how much I miss her, how is she doing, what is she doing, is she adjusting and will she be okay? It became an internal battle filled with guilt for leaving but also a little bit of relief to get a break from motherhood and back into the working world.

My first week back was awful. I cried at least once a day in the office. When someone would ask me about her my eyes would immediately well up and I found myself apologizing and feeling completely silly. However, I feel most people, parents or not, are sympathetic to the situation and understand that it’s hard to leave your child. I was eventually able to focus on work and it did feel good to be back, but a part of me still felt guilty as if I was abandoning my baby. I had to tell myself though that this is life and not many people have the ability to be a stay-at-home mom which I feel is just as difficult (if not more) than a working (at an office) mom. So, I checked in often (probably a little too much!) and told myself it will get easier (along with a lot of supportive mom friends who said the same thing).

And it did, it got easier. Now, I enjoy my time away from my daughter but can’t wait to see her when the day ends. Although my time with her on those days is short lived by the time I get home to when her bedtime routine starts, I cherish each moment. Of course I am completely exhausted starting those days at 5:30am and ending around 10pm when all the clean up is done, diaper bag is packed for the next day and bottles are washed and made but it’s worth it. She is worth it. And even though I still don’t feel like I completely have a grasp on this juggling game, I know time and experience will help me to get there or I’ll just fly by the seat of my pants and hope for the best!

Yes, I’m a Working Mom…We All Are.

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I’ve read a lot of articles/blogs/posts/comments regarding ‘working moms’ vs. ‘stay-at-home moms’. There seems to be this distinction and disconnect of one vs. the other. I understand the separation because there is a difference between going to a place of work and working at home, but there no difference in working. You are working mother no matter what you choose to do.

I work in an office, but I no longer do this full time. I miss my daughter like crazy on those days and can’t wait to pick her up. My working days start at 5AM and don’t end until I go to bed (9-10PM, if I’m lucky!). I wake up and get ready for work, pack up the car and then get her strapped in the car seat to go. I drop her off, work nine hours (through my lunch) then pick her up. I come home and spend a short amount of quality time before her nighttime routine begins. After she’s in bed and finally asleep (because kids don’t always fall asleep immediately), I pick up around the house, eat dinner (if I’m still even hungry), make her bottles for the following day, sit on the couch for maybe thirty minutes with my husband and then go to bed.

I imagine that most stay-at-home moms experience this type of schedule (minus going to an office to work) on a daily basis. They do not have the luxury to get an eight hour break. Yes, I called it a luxury. Workforce moms (as I will call us) have adult interaction and fulfill a purpose in life whether it be a job you love or a job that simply pays the bills. However, the other side is that someone else is taking care of your child, not you. Someone else is feeding, holding and spending time with your baby/babies. If you are lucky enough, those people are family members/friends/acquaintances you trust. If you are not so fortunate, those people are strangers. While it is their full time job and they are completely qualified to do so, they are not people that know and love your child the way you, your family or your friends do. It is not a luxury. It’s something you need to do (maybe because of finances) or something you choose to do (simply because you need that break). Whatever the reason, it’s never easy.

Stay-at-home moms fulfill a purpose in life by getting all day with their child/children, but their pay is much different. They are rewarded with hugs, I love you’s and the joy of watching their child/children grow in the way they want, on their schedule and with their constant supervision. But there are also days of no rewards, complete chaos, no appreciation or love, constant screaming and whining, the inability to shower, eat, or please and sometimes catch a breath, let alone a break. Nap times are when moms go into overdrive to do laundry, clean the house, make dinner and maybe brush their teeth…maybe. The days seem endless and a break hopefully comes when your husband gets home, but even that break is short lived. At some point in the day you want to cry (or do) as well as wanting an alcoholic beverage of some sort (maybe more than one!) and you begin to wonder if you can even do this anymore (at least when I was home for three months I did!). For those moms that are single parents, God bless you. I can’t even imagine the stress of being a stay-at-home single mother or a working single mother.

Stay-at-home moms deal with stress the way workforce moms do, the stress of raising a child/children and we are all in this together. One is not better than the other. I personally think staying at home full time is a lot more difficult from my experience of having my three months of maternity leave, but that is just me. I still believe both offer rewarding experiences and can still give us the chance to be the best mothers we can be. So for anyone working part time, full time, in an office, at home, just know that you are an amazing working mom! You BIRTHED A CHILD, maybe even more than one, and no one can ever take your place. I feel blessed to be a mom and I hope those of you that are moms do too.