She Works Hard for the Mommy v. 5

My name is Chelsea and I work as a Configuration Management (CM) and Documentation Manager with a government contracting company. Basically, I write/edit/review/process formal documents like Training Guides, Performance Specifications, and many other types of content. It sounds like the most boring job in the world, and people often ask me what on earth is CM? Think about anything you do that requires a process, buying online/cooking your favorite dish. Each of those tasks requires a process and parts that have to be managed. You can’t buy something from Amazon unless you add something to the cart, or you add your credit card info, etc. It’s all about cause, effect, and management. 

I fell into this job unintentionally. I went to college for two years in Alaska and needed to find my way back home. I needed a job so I sent my resume that had strong administrative support skills to a coworker of my father’s. As it turned out, that coworker was in desperate need of someone that could type really fast. That was about 10 years ago and I’ve never looked back. In those 10 years, I have outgrown my initial part time capacity as a Documentation Specialist and moved up the chain to a full time CM and Documentation Manager as well as a Team Lead within my company. It wasn’t easy and it came with a lot of bumps and bruises along the way. 

Two years ago, I gave birth to my son. He is my world and for his first 7 weeks, he and I were inseparable. Then I had to go back to work (maternity leave clearly still lacking in the US) and I dreaded the moment I would have to walk away from him to go to work. Sleepless nights led up to my first day back at work and when I did go back, I was a wreck. I could hardly focus. One of the best ways I dealt and still deal with being a working mom is finding a daycare that suits my family’s needs. We found an in-home provider and she honestly loves our son as one of her own (pretty much her favorite). She works with my schedule if I have to work late or work overtime. It was really important to me after I had my son to continue on with my career. I genuinely enjoy what I do, and I’m good at it. I’ve gotten an education, continue to go for certifications, and actively strive to do and be better. I am a woman in a male dominated workforce. I have fought tooth and nail against men who have sought to keep me under thumb. It was/is vital to my own mental health to continue to accomplish myself here and earn enough to provide my son with everything he could possibly need. 

Do I miss my son every moment of the day? Absolutely! However, this is where my daycare provider helps me. She sends Snapchats and videos and pictures of some of the crazy things my kid does all day. I get that moment of hearing my son yelling “Mommy, Mommy, Mommy!!!” when he sees me walking up the driveway and the hug attack when I pick him up. It’s those moments that help me when I’m feeling like a failure as a mom because I’m not around enough. Let’s face it, every working mom feels that moment of panic/fear/guilt when dropping their kid off or leave their kid for the day. I struggle with making sure I spend as much time with my boy as I can when I’m not working. While I am a workaholic that brings my computer home with me daily, I set boundaries for myself. I don’t work when he’s awake if I can help it.

The weekends are especially important to me now. Before, I was just working and looking forward to the days I didn’t have to go into work in a structured environment. Now, I look for ways to hang out with my kid and get in all those moments I miss during the week. Adventures to the zoo, the park, Children’s Museum, walks to Grandma and Grandpa’s, etc. are fun but we also spend time together at home just playing with blocks and trains and whatever else is handy. We have our moments before bed when we read a book together or he asks to snuggle with Mommy. 
The best piece of advice I can give to any other new moms or working moms in general is to remember that we are people too. Mommy is a big part of who we are but we are also fierce, strong women that deserve to put our hard work into the world. When you have those moments of doubt or worrying that you’re a bad mom for not being with your kid enough, remember that bad moms rarely concern themselves with whether or not they are good. The very fact that you have that concern is how you know you’re a great mom and doing the very best you can for your tiny little human. 
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