Photo by Brooke Lark on Unsplash
by Charleen Vitrano, Regional Client Partnership Manager at Remedy Intelligent Staffing
I became a “working mom” two years and two months ago. Before then, it had just been my husband and me, with no little one to care for and support. I returned to work as a Branch Manager of a Remedy Staffing location after taking eight weeks of leave, and within 30 days of my return, I was offered a promotion. Needless to say, the first 30 days back to work were a whirlwind. I was trying to adjust to my new life as a mom while also trying to juggle a career that I love.
As I sit here and reflect upon the last two years, and prepare myself for the birth of my second son in approximately six weeks, I realize being a working mom is probably one of the hardest yet most rewarding things I have ever done for myself and my family. I have also learned a few other things along the way:
- Every mother needs to decide on her own what is right for her and her family. No one can make that decision for you. In my case, the decision was easy: with my husband making a teacher’s salary, there was no option for me to stay at home. After eight weeks of leave, I returned to my full-time position as a Client Partnership Manager at Remedy Staffing.
- There is never enough time in the day. No matter what you do, you will never have enough time for your job, family, friends, and yourself. So I have learned to prioritize my life. Work-life balance has always been a top value of mine, but now even more so. I have also learned to be more flexible with my time, and I have learned that my plans will not always go exactly as I anticipated, and that is OK. It must be OK, because if not, I would drive myself crazy!
- Be present. I genuinely practice this daily. I try not to check social media sites or spend my time working when I should be on vacation. When I am with my son, I am present. I focus on him, enjoying him, playing beside him, and loving him. And this goes for all facets of life: if I am with my family or friends, I am present and enjoying their company. If I am at work, I am committed to being present and getting my tasks completed so that I can go home and enjoy my time with my family without having to worry about what still needs to be finished.
- My son loves his daycare (or “school,” as we call it). In the morning, he wakes up and sometimes the first words that come out of his mouth are names of friends or teachers. He is 27 months old and has friends that he loves to see and play with, and that makes me happy. He has also learned more in school than I could probably ever teach him on my own.
The class he is in is wonderful. He paints, listens to music, plays in the gym or outside, and in general has tons of fun every day. Knowing that he enjoys the time he spends there makes it so much easier on me as a parent. He has teachers that love on him and support him as well. All of this helps me come to terms with the fact that while I am missing out on time with him, at least he spends his time learning, listening, playing, and having fun. I am not sure if I could even provide that much fun if I were home with him 24/7.
- I returned to a position I love, colleagues who are my friends, and an organization that supports me. It’s a company I truly love working for, and this makes all the difference. If I had returned to a job I loathed or to an organization that was not supportive of me, there is no way I would have been able to work nine hours a day, five days a week. I feel very fortunate to have this opportunity to work for such an amazing organization, and I recommend that if you are a working mom who does not have this, find it. It really is the only way to survive those long days away from my son.
- The guilt will never go away. I feel guilty on a weekly basis. Whether I am feeling guilty for not spending enough time with my son or guilty because I must miss work when he is sick, the guilt never goes away. There are days when I know, for a fact, that I am not a person who is made to be a stay-at-home mom, and there are times when I wish I could be. Some days are easier than others, and the more I practice this being-a-mom thing, the better I become at tackling both jobs I now have.
As I sit here, five weeks away from having my second son, and I look back at the past two years, I see a son who is thriving, who is learning, and who amazes me every day. He brings me more joy than I ever could have imagined. He has made me laugh more genuinely than I ever thought possible.
I also see a strong, independent woman who is learning how to be a mom every day and who leads a team of amazing people that accomplish our organization’s goals daily. I know that I not only support my family but I am also setting an example for my son, showing him what hard work, opportunity, and supporting a family looks like.
I hope that someday I can look back and know that I gave both my sons the best childhood I could ever give them, the best opportunity and the best memories a child could ask for. So if you are new to this working mom thing and trying to navigate through it, know that you are not alone, know that you are doing the best for you and your family. And that is all that truly matters.