Is It OK to Like Going to Work When You’re a New Mom?

posted: 02/01/16
by: Kristina Wilson
picture of kristina wilson from rattled
Kristina Wilson

Does liking to work make me a bad mom? As I sat at home for nearly four months of maternity leave I spent many days dreaming about going back to work. At the same time, I didn't return earlier because I was committed to the task of exclusively caring for and breastfeeding my son. And while I knew I could pump, I just couldn't imagine leaving my precious little man alone. From the moment I saw the wonderful face of my son, the internal tug of war began.

I think that far too often people do not want to talk about the reality that when women started to be more active in the work force, something had to change in our story of motherhood. I absolutely love children and I had always dreamed of having a family. But no one ever told me about the agony and guilt I would feel if I actually admitted that I liked going to work -- if I actually decided that the right choice for my family was to leave my child with a caregiver.

On my first day back at work, a strange feeling came over me. On one hand I was excited to be working and wanted to work harder than I ever had before. For the first time ever, my effort was not just for me. On the other hand, as the hands moved swiftly around the clock on my desk, I just kept thinking about how that time was now lost and I would never get back that chance to be with my son. I just couldn't figure out why I was so torn. I soon realized that my baby and my job satisfied different needs. My work was creative and intellectual; it engaged my brain and got me thinking. My son was soft and emotional; he engaged my heart and kept me feeling. And it was clear that neither could be sacrificed.

After several months of trying to work from home, then bringing the baby to work, I finally admitted that I was trying to live up to some sort of impossible ideal. I was trying to be a mom and work at the same time. Ultimately, I realized that this was an uphill battle and both my work and my child were suffering. So I made the decision to just be proud of my work and not be ashamed to admit that I liked to go to my job. I am confident that my son knows happiness because each day that I am with him I am happy. I am happy as I say goodbye each morning to go to work and I am happy when I return and get his sloppy, open-mouthed kiss. I am happy on the weekends when we get special time to play together and I am happy when I put him to bed each night and get time alone with my husband. I believe it is being true to myself that has given my son a great mom.

Now I confidently say: I love my son and I love my work. And I urge all the moms I know to be proud of who they are whether they stay at home, go to work, or perform in a circus. After all, happy mommies make happy families.

Kristina Wilson is the CEO of the innovative childcare agency, Sitters Studio. She lives in New York City with her husband and son, Lincoln. They all can be seen Tuesday nights on TLC's new series, "Rattled."