This article was originally published on Motherly.
I had initially decided to be at stay-at-home mom once my baby was born.
It was a decision I was sure about—and something I had dreamed of doing since I was a little girl.
My mom had been at stay-at-home mom when I was young and I wanted to follow in her steps. I imagined mornings spent bonding with my baby and mommy + me playdates. This was the idyllic motherhood I dreamed about—and couldn’t wait to experience.
So it came as a shock to me after my baby was born to realize just how much I missed working.
I missed focused work without interruptions, the time I spent talking to other adults, and most of all the extra money I had to buy myself a nice dress, or go for a manicure or even to buy my baby a cute outfit.
I also wasn’t expecting the loneliness that came with staying at home by myself with a young baby, or the lack of privacy and alone time I so craved.
As the months passed by I got more comfortable in my role as a mom and the notion of staying at home.
But deep inside I was really missing the opportunity to work, to make even a little extra income, and keep my mind away from The Itsy-Bitsy Spider and changing diapers for a few hours a day.
And then one day a work opportunity came that not only fit perfectly with my schedule and my baby’s, but also in a role that was a dream for me.
I would be able to spent a couple days a week at the office while my mom would stay with my daughter. I couldn’t have asked for a more perfect opportunity.
The day finally came to start back at work. As I drove my daughter to my mom’s house to drop her off, my heart sank. I looked at her sleeping face on the rear view mirror and I cried.
I knew this is what I wanted. I knew there couldn’t be any more of a perfect person to care for my daughter. I knew I desperately needed to have this time to work. And yet, leaving her there still pulled at something deep inside me.
There was nothing that could prepare me for this moment.
I knew I would miss some of her milestone moments. I knew I would miss her terribly. I knew that she’d be my main topic of conversation to all of my co-workers. I knew I would keep photos of her on my desk and computer to look at all day long, and I knew there would be days when I’d wonder if I had made the right decision to go back to work instead of spending every waking moment with her.
This little person had changed my life, and no matter how much I tried to live the life I once had, she was now my main priority.
I wanted to be the best mom I could for my daughter—and that meant having a mama that is purposeful and fulfilled in all aspects of my life.
She is the reason I went to work, and the reason I didn’t want to.
There are days I still struggle with dropping her off knowing that I won’t see her until it’s time for bed.
But as difficult as this new season is —and some days it is quite difficult—I know it is the right decision for me and my family.
I have to remind myself daily that working really does make me a better and more engaged mama on the days I do get to be with her.
And I do hope that one day she will also be inspired to follow her dreams, just like her mama did.