I’m on my first of three business trips this month; a flight to Toronto giving me three hours to contemplate what a shitty parent I am.
I was antsy from the get-go. I spoke to my manager about coming back to work early, before I was even on maternity leave. I knew staying at home would not be for me. I gave birth to a beautiful and healthy baby in the beginning of June; using the first couple weeks to become a prolific reader and seeking out all the advice I could find from successful women who came before me. I decided that if I went back to work, it would not be for a lateral move – that I was going to be a manager, that I would finally pursue that marketing career path I had dreamt of and that, ultimately, I’d give more of myself and feel more fulfilled.
That exact opportunity came up and I am now a marketing manager, overseeing three provinces. I love my job and I love my industry, but I keep dwelling on a quote from Tom Brady: “If you’re going to compete against me, you’d better be willing to give up your life, because I’m giving up mine”. For some, that is the mark of the ultimate competitor – an individual willing to sacrifice everything to do what he loves. But, for me, it’s not that simple. And so, the question becomes: how much am I willing to give up?
My son was less than five months old when I went back to work. I should’ve had a year. We had plans. I was going to take him on road trips, see mountains, see animals at the zoo (I hate zoos, but I’d do it for him). I wanted to travel. I was going to spend that year showing him the world. Instead, I cart him to and from daycare every morning and evening – he doesn’t see sunlight from his car seat. I make the choice to do this every day, knowing that I will likely miss his first steps, first words and a bunch of other important milestones.
My husband probably ranks in the top 0.00006% of the most supportive partners. He has his own successful career, does 50% of the housework and takes care of all the things I let slip [oil changes, for example – honestly, there’s no time]. But he doesn’t have the guilt. And I’m starting to let go of it too. I’m developing an understanding that balancing career and personal life makes me a better mother. I wake up earlier, I’m more useful in the morning and I’m present with my son when I get home. We see the mountains, we take road trips on weekends, and we read books at night. Meanwhile, I’m developing professionally every single day and I’m engaged and interested in a way I haven’t ever been.
I’m achieving one of my most important goals: I’m a role model for my son.
Posted in: Progress