This is a special blog post by Jill Shell, the wife of the man behind Family Friendly Daddy Blog.
Let me just start by stating the obvious: being a parent is hard work. Anyone who has been lucky enough to have a child, or perhaps two or three (or more), can testify to this. It is a full time job with endless responsibilities, long hours, restless nights, and well, you get the picture. Tack onto this a job outside of the home and you bring life to a whole new level of “crazy.” Our family welcomed a beautiful baby girl to the world 5 months ago and have been learning to get into a new groove of life with two working parents, a Kindergartner and an infant and it hasn’t been easy.
Before taking maternity leave, I worried about everything: about leaving my duties in the hands of others; about missing too much; about not being missed; about being replaced; about meeting the needs of two children at once; and mostly about returning to work and the numerous anxieties of leaving my kids and having to perform as if I hadn’t just brought another human being into the world. It was a whirlwind of thoughts and angst that was building up in me, but seemingly it dissipated as the baby arrived and we began a new routine at home. My focus was on my family and I was getting good at balancing the caring, the cooking, the cleaning, and everything in between. When, alas, my four months was quickly coming to an end and the reality of being a working mom set in.
I’ve been back to work for 5 weeks now and it was harder than I could have ever imagined. For the first three weeks back, it seemed like I could get to the middle of the week still afloat, but by Wednesday evening, I felt like the world was caving in on me. Every minute of the day was spoken for and it was rush, rush, rush through it all. I found myself day dreaming about any other way I could support the household income and raise my children at home. Then it happened. The transition period ended and it feels like we’ve gotten to a new level of “normal.”
As I look around, I see lots of families, moms and dads, in the same boat and it’s comforting to know that more people are there supporting you and watching you succeed, rather than waiting to see you fail.
After watching the Chicco “Performance Review” video which is part of their #NeverStopGrowing campaign, I love the response from Jess’s co-worker, Aaron, in the video where he sincerely tells her that he has no idea how she does what she does. Because the truth is, Jess probably doesn’t even realize half of the tasks she takes on and completes. She’s doing what she needs to do. She’s found her new normal and with the help of her family and co-workers, realizing it’s a natural fit.