I’ve been back to work for nearly two months now, and boy is it a different ballgame.
I love what I do just as much as I always have, but now, it’s different. Instead of throwing myself into a project and only having myself and my husband to worry about, I’m racing home each day for just an hour with my daughter — a time I’ve learned quickly to value as sacred and prioritize without interruption.
But aside from my schedule changes, the breastfeeding commitment and my house being a complete disaster 24/7, probably the biggest difference is my world view. Being back in that familiar space — with a drastically different outlook — has sparked quite a bit of self reflection. And a realization I would’ve never come to before becoming a mom:
The world needs more working moms.
Don’t get me wrong — the world needs more women in leadership, period. Especially now more than ever.
But having been through the life-changing experience of becoming a mom, I’ve realized just how valuable mothers are in the business world, and how there truly aren’t enough of them.
This week on one of the mom groups I belong to, I saw a mom post about not being able to decide if she should go back to work. They could afford her staying home, but she loved her job — just felt guilty. I identified with this so much.
And though I wanted to chime in with encouragement, I quickly noticed that all of the comments from other moms shared the same advice: stay home. You’ll never get this time back. It’s worth it.
It made me sad. Am I the only one who realizes the value on the other side of the coin, too?
Sure, there are days when I think about staying home. When I feel guilty about my daughter spending more time at daycare than anywhere else, or me not being there to see her big moments throughout the day. In fact, I feel that guilt most days.
But I also feel determined. Not just for me and my own success, but for her. She deserves a world where women don’t have to prove themselves twice as hard as any man; where women aren’t ashamed to stand up to sexual harassment; where women who have babies don’t instantly feel cornered into staying home.
Because after becoming a mom, I’d go so far to say that a leader who is also a mother is more level-headed. She knows what a true life or death crisis looks like, and most times it’s not in the office.
She is compassionate. Like a mother hen, she looks out for her teammates and is someone you want to work for.
And she is tough as nails. Because growing and bringing another human into this world is physically and mentally one of the toughest challenges there is.
It’s truly impossible to understand the full scale of what becoming a mom includes — the daily balancing of priorities; the self-induced guilt trips; the late nights and early mornings — before you experience it. I know, because I used to think I did.
So at the end of the day, the only people who are going to improve the experience of a working mom are other working moms. Let’s face it — women aren’t going to stop having babies any time soon. (And smart women have babies, too!)
I, for one, am proud to set that example for my daughter, and hopefully, pave the way for others.