How My Daughter Made Me Feel Better About Going Back to Work

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So, I'm going back to work. Full time.

It's such a crazy feeling, to be on the cusp of this major change. I'm elated, on the one hand, because I got offered a job that seems challenging and interesting in an environment that seems incredibly positive and supportive. I will no longer just be known as "mommy" or "Ember's mommy" or "Oren's mommy." I will have a valid reason to wear something other than sweatpants and a t-shirt. I won't have to fill my co-workers' sippy cups with apple juice every ten minutes. I will be able to have actual adult conversations, and not just daydream about them.

But I'm also sad and worried. In ten days, I will no longer be singing "Let It Go" with my kids every five minutes. I will no longer be taking the kids to the toddler story times at the library every day. I will no longer be the person who is with my kids each time they reach some huge or tiny developmental milestone. I will no longer have my sweet little hand-clapping, feet stomping, head-bobbing entourage with me throughout the day.

My kids are amazing. They can be difficult to manage every hour of every day, but they are amazing. I am so proud of who they are, even at only 16 months old and three and a half years old. And even though I am having a hard time coming to terms with the fact that the intense period of mothering that I have experienced as a stay-at-home mom is coming to an end, I know they are going to do really well in this next phase of childhood. Because they are amazing.

So this is my SAHM swan song: It was the best of times, it was the craziest of times. I learned a boat load about my children, about myself, about parenthood, and about life, and I wouldn't trade the past year and a half for anything in the world. I wish I had had the time to better document all the adventures the kids and I had together, but I was just too busy being a mom to document anything.

On Wednesday night, while I was putting Emmy to bed, I had one of my (all too frequent these days) spontaneous emotional breakdowns, and tears started streaming down my face as I sang Em her lullabies.

Em looked at me and asked me why I was crying.

"Well, you know how I told you I would be going back to work, Em?"

"Yeah."

"Well, sometimes I get sad when I think about going to work and not being with you all day, because I know I am going to miss you very very much."

"Well, mama, you don't have to be sad, because remember that your heart is right next to my heart, and even if you are at work, our hearts are next to each other."

How My Daughter Made Me Feel Better About Going Back to Work
Credit: moontan.

I had used that explanation to get Emmy to calm down one day when she was telling me how she didn't like going to nursery school because the boys would growl like tigers at her. I told her my heart was always next to her heart, even when I wasn't standing right next to her, and that my heart could help her not be scared.

Of course, hearing Em's comforting words just made me bawl even more. So she held out her two favorite stuffed animals.

"Maybe you could bring puppy or pink reindeer with you to work, so you won't be so sad."

And I of course started crying even harder.

"Thank you, Emmy. Mommy is going to be fine. I promise."

And I will be fine, I know I will. It might take me a few days, or even a few weeks, to adjust to not being around my kids all day, but I know I will be fine.

Still, if you ever come visit me at my new work place, and you see a pink reindeer sitting on my desk, don't ask questions. It is there for a very good reason.

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