Everyone told me how hard going back to work after maternity leave would be, and while they were definitely right, the first few days weren’t hard in the way they said it would be. Yes, I was hesitant about leaving my baby in the care of someone else for the first time, but to be honest, it wasn’t hard. I didn’t cry the first day I dropped him off, and I didn’t look at my phone every 5 seconds to see if the daycare lady had texted me. Part of me felt a slight sense of freedom. Part of me felt guilty for that. For the first time in 3 months, I felt like I could breath and expand my thinking to more than just feedings, diapers, laundry, and sleep.
That feeling of freedom stuck around for a few days, as did the guilt. The truly hard part of returning back to work was actually going to work. Leaving in the dark and coming home in the dark. There was so much to catch up with. So much chaos. So much I missed. I felt like I was under water and struggling to stay afloat. I wanted to go home and sleep. Or just escape into the bathroom for 20 minutes to close my eyes. I woke up every day wanting to drop Aiden off with the daycare lady and, instead of going to work, going to spend the day at the cafe, getting a massage, reading a book, taking a bath, eating a full meal, and going for a long walk. And even though I shouldn’t, I felt even more guilty.
But by the second week, that sense of freedom starting wearing off and slowly grew into a longing. A longing to hold my baby and snuggle for hours. A longing to see his smile, because he just started smiling at us. I knew someone else was receiving the majority of those now. I longed to return to the days where I’d stroke his cheeks until he fell asleep after his daddy left for work in the morning; back to when I read him books after his mid day bath and feeding; back to when I was with him every minute of every day. I longed for that; longed to simply hold him.
I realize now how much I need balance in my life. Before Aiden, I was available for work at all times of the day and on weekends. I got to the office early and I left late. My work was my priority. But things are changed. My priorities are changed. My whole world is changed.
At 4am yesterday morning I had full intentions of getting a recipe for Mediterranean Chicken Spaghetti up onto the blog before getting to work. But after feeding Aiden and feeling him cuddle against my chest, I remembered something from one of my previous posts: “Let your productivity be determined by your priorities and what matters most to you. Let go of the things that can wait and cherish the moments that are fleeting.” So I kept him curled up against my chest, crawled into bed, and cuddled with him until 7:45am.
As much as I would like to be super-woman, I only really need to be super-mom. I’ll pack our bags the night before if it means I can have some snuggle time for 15 extra minutes in the mornings. Ill work through my lunch if it means I can maybe leave a bit early to pick him up from daycare. I’ll go to the cafe early on Saturday mornings while he and his daddy are still sleeping if it means I can get a couple blog posts written up to schedule throughout the week. And when I do need a break, from work, home or the blog, Ill take it. I’ll go get my massage. I’ll take a walk. I’ll sleep. And I won’t feel guilty. Instead, Ill feel balanced.
So, on a less emotional note, here is that spaghetti recipe I planned on posting yesterday morning! AJ ended up eating it all himself, so it must have been pretty tasty.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on ways you stay balanced and keep your priorities in check.
Mediterranean Chicken SpaghettiPrint Recipe
- 4 halves of sun-dried tomatoes
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 boneless chicken breast, cut into 1 inch chunks
- 1 medium zucchini, chopped
- 3 roma tomatoes, chopped
- 4 fresh basil leaves, chopped
- 3-4 oz fresh spinach
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- Dash of pepper
- salt to taste
- 1 8oz package Pasta Zero shirataki spaghetti, drained and rinsed (or pasta of choice, prepared)
In a large skillet, cook the sun dried tomato pieces in 2 Tbsp olive oil over medium heat for two minutes. Add the chicken pieces and cook thoroughly, about 10 more minutes.
In a separate pan, while chicken is cooking, cook the zucchini in 1 Tbsp oil until slightly browned.
Throw the cooked zucchini, roma tomatoes, spinach, basil, and garlic powder into the chicken and continue cooking until the spinach is wilted and tomato juices start running.
Add prepared pasta and cook until heated through.
Add salt and pepper to taste.