I have recently returned to work after nearly three great/frustrating/poop filled/fun years home with my two boys. It has been 4 weeks and I love my new job. I enjoy being more than the wiper of snotty noses, changer of diapers and maker of lunch. I feel as though I have purpose again. Even if that purpose is to help make a large company more money.
Even as I write this I feel twinges of guilt. "Is this what is best for the family as a whole"? Financially we were able to manage on one salary so that wasn't what drove me back to work. The reason that I returned to work was purely selfish... I needed to reconnect with someone I had been missing - me. Before I even met my husband I had pursued a degree in engineering which would lead to a career in engineering. The degree was hard work including long hours and of course lots of money spent on tuition. As far as I know engineering is one of the most demanding undergraduate degrees out there. My husband is also and engineer so he understands this.
Prior to having children we both worked on our careers. Then we decided that it was time to start a family. I took a year off for maternity leave (which is standard in Canada) and then went back to the job that I had held previously. When we were expecting our second child we decided that it would be nice to move closer to family. My husband found work near his family (since mine didn't live anywhere that there was an abundance of work available for 2 engineers). I decided to take an extended leave to help get the family settled before the 2nd baby came. Don't get me wrong I enjoyed my time at home. But after 2+ years home I started to get restless and was not enjoying the little things as much as I should've been.
So now I am back to work at a new job and its great! Except for the fact that I only see my kids for 2-3 hours a day. This time is not relaxing cuddly time, but rather emotionally distraught, stressful times involving yelling, whining and pleading... and the kids are whiny too! Our mornings start early (5:45) and we are dropping off at daycare by 7am. My husband has a slightly shorter work day and a shorter commute so he picks them up again at about 4:30-4:45. After picking up them up he rushes home to make dinner for the family. I commute 45 min each way and don't get home until 5:30. Luckily for me my wonderful husband usually has dinner ready to go! After dinner we try to play with the kids and do family things. However, too soon the kids have to go have their bath and then bedtime by 7-7:30pm.
The kids are settling into their daycare and really enjoy it, but they miss their mom being home and they're tired by the end of the day. Patience is in short supply and tears flow easily. My hope is that soon we will get a good routine that works for everyone and that we all adjust to our new life. Going back to work was not something that I did lightly, but now that I have I don't want to give it up (I may be a little stubborn that way). I just hope that my kids don't resent that I had to look after my own needs too.