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It’s ok to be honest.

Greyson was born in February and I had planned to take eight weeks of maternity leave from my position as the director of a local childcare center. I know that sounds like the perfect job for a new mother, since I obviously had the option to bring my son with me, but not quite. More on that later.

Anyway, eight weeks passed before my eyes and I prepared to return to work. For all of you expecting mothers, take as much time off as you can! Even if you think you’ll go crazy without your job, even if you’ve worked incredibly hard to achieve your success, even if you are jealous as your husband leaves for work, trust me, you will not want to pass that baby off when the day comes. You won’t get that precious time back. I wish someone would have told me that. Maybe if I had taken more time off, I wouldn’t have eventually decided to leave my job. Returning to work was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do – Second only to giving birth to a 9lb 2oz baby only eight weeks prior.

Trying to manage my new role as a working mother was feeling extremely overwhelming. People were constantly asking me how I was doing, if the baby was sleeping well (what a ridiculous question!), if I was glad to be back at work (seriously…??). Of course I lied about how I was feeling! No one actually cares how you are doing. Making small talk is just the polite thing to do. They want you to say that you are great, the baby is great, and work is great, so that they can be on their way.

After about four weeks back at work, one of the mothers whose children attended the childcare center stopped in my office on her way out. She asked how I was doing and I gave her the overly happy and annoyingly positive answer I was sure she wanted to hear. She responded with laughter, which surprised me, and said, “You know, Cait, it’s ok to be honest.” I’m not sure what gave me away- the large dark circles under my eyes, the wrinkles in my shirt and the spit up on my pants, or the huge fake smile that was plastered to my face. I laughed with her and finally told someone the truth – I was exhausted.

This moment has stuck in my mind for a long time. The truth was that I was tired, I was learning that being a parent is hard, and I was struggling to balance work life and home life. It didn’t make me less of a mother to admit that there are challenges. I don’t have to pretend to be loving every moment of this crazy, new life. Surprisingly, being honest lifted a weight off my shoulders. So those new mothers that are telling you that they are feeling amazing, that the baby is sleeping like a champion, and that they couldn’t be happier to be back at work – they are probably lying.

With this blog, I plan to take that mother’s advice and be honest about my experiences as a mother. Hopefully it will make you laugh and inspire fellow mothers to take pride in their honestly, crazy lives.

Sent from my iPad