Unless it was your birthday, yesterday was just another Monday for almost everyone. For me, it was a special one – the first working day this year. Have you had that feeling when you’re walking out of the cinema, after just seeing a beautiful movie, and as you and tens of other people throng down the stairs, the lights come on and it’s like an imaginary shout “welcome back to the real world, the movie is over!”? Immediately you’re thinking, what am I going to cook tonight? Oh, the car has a flat tire! Oh, I hope there is light at home now. Most people are familiar with the feeling. That was how I felt – welcome back to the real world!
Welcome back to the real world!
I love my job/work, it’s very meaningful and I do very well at it, yet I find it upsetting to think of it more as the ‘real world’ than the last three months have been.
Whether it is ‘complication free’ or labeled ‘fragile’, pregnancy is hard and everyone knows that. What I have newly learned however is that in the context of motherhood, pregnancy is the easy part. LOL! You see, from delivering a child to recovering, breastfeeding (if you’re able to), dealing with so many people (visits, calls, texts, etc.), nurturing the baby, housekeeping, dealing with moods (and hopefully not depression), oh yes and trying to lose some weight, any woman could lose herself. When I think of it, I am so appreciative of every mother, particularly African mothers – it is rather common in this part of the world to make light of the toll that all these take on the body and mind of a woman. Now, imagine having to call these ‘the movie’.
So about resuming at work after about 3 months, I can’t describe how I felt in one word, perhaps not even two. It was like a buzz, or whirling of different emotions and thoughts. I felt enthusiastic about it, the meetings, calls, client visits, research and writing, bouncing ideas with colleagues I hadn’t seen in weeks, phew! But I also felt sad, I’ll be gone almost 10 hours straight without seeing my dearest Aridunnu. While she is in good hands, nothing feels quite as perfect as being with her. I worried about if she’ll miss me or not, would she give one of her broad toothless smiles when I return home by evening, or she’ll not even notice – silly right? I know. Seeing as I am writing this on Tuesday, I should just tell you, she didn’t smile at first, she just stared at me and all the gymnastics I was doing. It didn’t stop me from carrying her and kissing her all over, and she soon began to smile and almost giggle.
Asides being away from my baby, there was also that subtle anxiety, that nagging feel of starting over at the firm. Ok well, even if I picked up where I left off, everyone else has been moving on, and getting by. For colleagues at work, its 1 quarter down and 3 to go, for this new mum it is – happy new year. Sighs! Anyways we are breaking biases, ain’t we?
Look on the bright side!
Now, before you sigh along with me, know this, as I stepped out yesterday morning I chose to replace these concerns with positive thinking.
Consider this – when I left work, I was a pregnant woman, now I resume as a mum – this is a thing of pride and I’ll wear it as though it were a crown of gold with precious stones set in it.
Also while 9-5ers across the world are jaded already from one whole quarter of work, I am resuming clear headed and bustling with enthusiasm and grace.
Before now, I had only SA to look forward to at the end of each day, now I have Aridunnu as well.
People say, may our children make us proud, in the mean while I also hope to make my children proud, starting with Aridunnu – a new motivation to excel.
Now I would happily join group photos, I used to dread them – my 3rd trimester look was something else.
My weekends would be much more meaningful and treasured! I won’t simply look forward to laundry and sleep, but to quality mummy time.
I charged myself with these thoughts, and got into the swing of things. Guess what the day went well and ended so much better than I could have imagined.
First I realized I was at peace about Ari’s welfare – thank you mum, and all glory to God! Dear new mum, if you’ll function well in your career pursuits, please know you must first be at peace with where or with whom your child is kept.
Next I realized just how much I had missed work, and beyond that, how much I had missed the me that works – doing what I do is such a vital part of who I am.
Lastly, my colleagues and boss (a super amazing soul) blew my mind away! They wrapped up the day with a surprise welcome for me. I wasn’t expecting this as they had done so much already before and after Ari birth. I had a little chat with one of SA’s friends, a brother to me, recently. He believes Nigerian youths have no choice in where they work, as they are willing to take horrible options since jobs are scarce. I won’t pose my argument here, instead I’ll advice both the young and growing to keep praying for God’s favor. Dear new mum, those you work with can either make your life hell, or make it a livable. Just knowing they care, was a good way to end the day and boost my courage to forge forward.
FK’s welcome back to work
If you are a working mum, I hope you draw strength from knowing you are not alone, look on the bright side and shine everyday.