As I commuted from the suburbs to the city, I thought I would be able to handle being a working mom, and had always planned on making it work. My friends were making it work. The women on my reality shows made it work. It seemed like a seamless process. You have the baby, then maternity leave, and you’re naturally back in action eager to get back to work, right?

I mean, I didn’t go to college to simply quit my job and stay at home. How could I even think about handing in my resignation for something I worked so hard for? I shouldn’t have to say goodbye to the rush, excitement, goals, promotions, and accomplishments.

But I knew before giving birth that my career was impossible for me to continue as a new mother. I would wake to a 4:30am alarm and sit on my 6am train thinking, “How the fuck am I going to do this?” Then I’d be headed back on the 6:10pm, walking into my house at 7:30pm wondering, “How the fuck am I going to do this?” Then there were the week-long business trips that had my head spinning. 

I was in denial of the decision I had to make. 

My current job wasn’t the most “mom-friendly.” It didn’t have a work-from-home option, nor was I mentally in a place to send out resumes or put on my control top pantyhose for interviews. I was already starting over in the HUGEST way and couldn’t wrap my brain around starting over in another way.

I thought I was going to have a Mr. Rogers way of living. During the day I had my power suit on as I climbed the corporate ladder and when I happily swung my door open with a gigantic grin, I changed into my yoga pants and mom role. I imagined it would be seamless. Others seemed to make it work. 

So I hopped on the trolley to the land of make believe. And was about to crash. 

But how do you let go of something that you’ve spent so long building? Something that you’re actually really good at and proud of? If you are lucky enough to enjoy your career, why would you want to say goodbye to it? Obviously you don’t have to, but if you’re like me, what if it truly isn’t going to work when you become a mom? 

My brain started flooding with thoughts on my train rides to and from the city…

“What am I going to do with my life now?” 

“What will I say to my boss?” 

“Will he think I’m weak? That I gave up?” 

“Do I really want to be a SAHM?” 

“What if I change my mind?”

“What if I can’t change my mind and I made the biggest mistake?”

“What if I am not working for long enough and then I can never return?” 

“What will I do then?” 

What adjectives would I now use to describe me  instead of my decades of hard-working, dedicated, intelligent, driven, and motivated? Where will the woman who pounded Michigan Avenue with her Starbucks in one hand and briefcase in the other walk now? What if I change my mind but can’t go back?

I walked into my boss’s office, closed the door, and sat on his purple velvet couch. My heart sank just looking at him, like a little girl feeling like I already disappointed him. His face was neutral but I felt he could read my mind. I felt like everyone knew. I took a deep breath, and nervously said, 

“I need to talk to you.”

To which he replied, 

“I already know.”

Was it difficult for you to make the decision to go back to work or be at home? Was it an easy decision? Comment below and I’d love to continue the conversation.

With Honesty,

Michelle Mansfield Blog

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