I am very fortunate and blessed to work for a company that provides excellent employee benefits to its employees. Our maternity policy is quite extraordinary in South Africa, allowing me the choice of taking up to 11 months of maternity leave. I won’t get into the nitty gritty of the details behind this policy, but the point is that I had the opportunity to take 11 months! I however chose to return to work after 4 months. Why oh why did I do that!?
As I wake each morning to prepare for the day ahead, I can’t help but feel guilty about starting so soon. I feel as though I have failed her by opting to work over being at home with her, because I chose something else instead of her. I opted to be away from her.
I recently shared with you how I feel about choosing to work and I am continuously reminding myself that I am doing this for her and my family (read about this here
). But somehow this reminder just isn’t enough anymore. I feel as though I need more valid reasons.
I grew up in a one income earning home, with my mom being a stay at home. So essentially, that is all that I know. My mom was always there for me. I would wake up to warm ironed clothes to put on in bed on those icy cold mornings. She would take me and fetch me from school. I would come home to a warm home cooked meal and come home to a house where everything was in order. She did everything for me, it is all I remember, and deep down I feel as though I need to be doing the same for Ammaarah.
I grew up being taught to make sacrifices and to understand that certain things were not affordable. I grew up being taught that I had to work hard to get the things that I want in life. I was motivated to study and have a career so that I could one day have the opportunities I never had growing up. I was taught to appreciate everything and anything that I had in my life.
Being a working mama helps me to be able to provide my family with better opportunities. I am now able to contribute towards a better life. But you see, all these things are material. Is this really important? By providing her with better, am I taking away being able to teach her the value of things? Am I taking away the motivation to study and have a career? Or am I just overthinking this? I probably am.
It’s the first time that I have realised that I am actually thinking like a mother. The one who is always thinking about her child. What impact will the decision I make today have on the future of my baby? I suppose now is the time where I start thinking about the way I raise my little girl, and the values and morals I wish to teach and instill in her. Gosh, this is such a huge responsibility. Can I do this?
So again, I chose to be a working mama for her. I chose to better the opportunities for my family. I chose to be able to provide my family with the things I could never have. And that decision is okay. I can be a successful working mother. I shouldn’t feel guilty. I don’t have to feel guilty. I just need to give myself time. Time to adjust to being a working mom. Time to raise my little girl. One day at a time. One step at a time.