How It Used to Be and How It Is Nowadays
Today, women have earned an important place in the workplace and in society in general. Through the industrial age and during the 20th century, almost all doors have opened for us: jobs, universities, and careers, in politics and in sports. With all these opportunities, we feel independent. Maybe, the younger women among us feel that this is a natural condition, but the rest of us value, and even overvalue, this identity we have achieved.
At the same time, far, far away from these adrenaline-charged feelings, from time-to-time the mysterious desire to become a mother appears. And, sometimes, the desire becomes a reality so fast that even 9 months are not enough time to figure out what will happen next.
Suddenly, the minute we give birth, our life takes a 180-degree turn. We become mothers 24/7. Sometimes, we feel all time in the world is not enough to be with our children. And, little by little, without us realizing it, we are out of time, out of social life, out of grown-up conversations, out of money, out of autonomy, and out of liberty.
This is where a big contradiction lies, unconsciously, inside us. We love our babies, but we need to feel like we are individuals again and have our own identity. We want to raise our children with love, and we desperately need to be ourselves.
This is one of the reasons we have –aside from economic needs or the commitment we made to our employers– to go back to work.
And this is where our feelings collide: we want to be excellent employees, fully dedicated and with all our energies concentrated on our duties, but we don’t want it to be at the expense of our children, affecting our bond or delegating their upbringing to others.
Here, you might think that, at some level, maternity and work are not compatible. But then, you start thinking, and you know mothers who are productive at their jobs and good with their children and you say, “If they can do it, so can I.” But, the question is how do you do it without feeling guilty about leaving your child in the hands of others?
How to Achieve It
One of the many challenges is to leave the children with someone we trust, so that we can be certain that they are fine and confident that they are having a good time while we are not with them. It doesn’t matter if this is with a relative, with a nanny, or at a kindergarten. The important thing is to rely on the fact that they are under the care of capable hands.
Once this has been accomplished, we can focus on our work, without having to worry about how our children are being taken care of.
Then, we have to learn how to spend our time more efficiently, taking advantage of all company benefits. As one of Intraway’s main cultural aspects is that their employees find a balance between personal life and work, you can choose between two options in order to return to work smoothly after the maternity leave: working 6 hours a day or 2 days working from home up to the baby is one year old. Using any of these, coupled with a flexible time schedule, I can organize my tasks much better. I am more efficient at work and I can dedicate time to my family.
Another benefit for all employees is that we can take an extra vacation week which allows us to spend more time with our kids; for example, during their winter break.
Finally, in my opinion, it is very important to work on something that you love. It is essential in order to feel that your life is well balanced. I am convinced that happy mothers, who feel successful in every part of their life, is the best we can give to our children. And that is what I think about whenever I feel guilty.
Walking through both maternity and professional paths is not easy, but it is really rewarding when you achieve it because the most important thing is to enjoy the ride!