On Going Back To Work: A Letter To My Babies

I can hardly remember it, but there was a time when I wasn’t a mother, your mother. I wasn’t even the girl other parents called to babysit. I never asked to hold other people’s children.

Yet God wanted to make a mother of me, and if I’m honest, I saw it in me all along.

So one day I dreamed of you, and then I prayed you earthside. I couldn’t have you the moment I wanted you so I wept and prayed, bargained and shouted, gave up and prayed more. And then you came. Both of you came this way.

Once you came along, you took up all my days and nights and the leftover space in my heart. And with the spilled cereal and skinned knees, room-filling laughter and giant, I’m-sorry-Mama hugs, I am new. I am a radically different women since I became your mom.

Because of you, I am better, far better. I am happier. I am nicer. I have more room in my soul now. And now I want to hold strangers’ babies, all because you ruined me by making me love.

Maybe someday we can do this all day.
Maybe someday we can do this all day.

I’ve been home with you for several weeks, and I feel like I could do this forever. It’s been a joy. But I have to go back to work today, and I want you to know I don’t want to go. I love being with you, even when you’re demanding, and I am tired.

Maybe you don’t know it, little babies, but I am madly in love with you. You warm my heart as it’s never been warmed. I love your skin that feels smooth, uncalloused and angelic. The innocent sound of your voice stops me in my tracks. Your chubby bodies are perfect for squishing.

Yes, you two are the best things. And this morning, I am leaving you, even though I don’t want to.

In my perfect world, we are home together. We wake up, and I make eggs. I make you eat them, even if you don’t want to because they will make you big and strong.  We sit together at the kitchen table and plan our day. We play and learn. I am your playmate and your teacher. But this is only in my perfect world.

In real life, I have a job outside our home. It takes me away from you to other people, other families who need help. But it’s not just for everyone else that I leave. My education and work helps our family too.

The thing is, when I got my degrees, I didn’t know you yet. I didn’t know I would want to spend my days with you. I didn’t know all the love I would discover when you entered the world and made a mom of me.

So now I am torn. I want to be with you, but I need to help our family. I need to help these other people with broken hearts and lives.

You’re probably just learning this, but our lives are full of compromises. And many of them hurt. I wanted to be a mom with opportunities and education, and now I am. But that makes me a mom who works outside our home. While I am proud that this opens doors for you and provides for our family, I know I am missing out on your life, these precious tiny years, every morning when I leave home. And I hate that. It breaks my giant, mama heart.

I want to spend my days with you, just as I have been. I want to take you for a picnic on a Tuesday. I want to take a nap when you do. I wish I could be your all-day mommy.

But I can’t. Not right now. Please know that I am not really leaving you. Not all of me. My mind is on you, and my heart is with you when I’m gone. And I am working so hard, often late into the night, so I can one day be your mommy all day every day.

For now, I am many things, but they can all be summed up in this: I am just a woman who wants to make the world better with my life. You, my babies, are my greatest investment in the world. But I want you to see what I do as important. I want you to know that when I leave every day, I leave to make a difference for you and for others. I leave to earn income for our family, to make things possible for you that would not otherwise be. I am using my mind and my gifts and my opportunities. You can be proud of me.

I hope you’re not too sad. I hope you can understand we are all giving something up here, something we want. But not without reason. I work so your Dad can work for the Church. He works with you in tow so you can have always have Mommy or Daddy with you.

Your Dad and I do what we do for you, for our church and for the city.

This is the life your Dad and I chose, and we know that although you didn’t make that choice, it still affects you. The times of our home are fast-paced and messy, and we all go without at times. But the richness of who we are together, and what we can do in the world keeps us going.

So thank you for making the sacrifice. Thank you for giving up your Mom all day so I can help other families. Thank you for understanding our schedules change daily. Thank you for letting us sleep in on the weekends, when you do. Thank you for letting us chase our dreams and wanting the best for us the way we long for the best for you. Thank you for believing the best about us, knowing we want to be with you, but we need to feed you and clothe you too and love the world too.

And babies, always know I do what I do for you, for us, for love. Cause I love you. No matter what I’m doing, you’ll always be my favorite things.

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10 thoughts on “On Going Back To Work: A Letter To My Babies

    1. Thank you so much. It has been hard but I put my work brain and my big girl pants on, and it hasn’t been as bad as I thought. Thank you for your prayers. I’m sure they can be credited for the grace I’ve had today.

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  1. I haven’t even met our #2 yet, but I am already dreading leaving for that first week back to work. I hope you keep busy during the day, and can enjoy fun evenings with your boys. Thinking of you!

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    1. I know, Steph. Dread was the feeling I kept fighting for the whole six weeks. But it’s not as bad as I feared. I’ve done this before, and it’s for a good cause – our kids. 🙂

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