Having It All and Going “Back to Work”

I started making YouTube videos in 2006 to build my reel because I wanted to be a TV reporter after college. I still thought that was my goal up until maybe 3 years ago when I realized web video was just as if not more popular. I started this blog because I thought my videos needed their own home website. I would share my videos but also what was going on behind the camera: my meals, workouts, recipes and personal stories on occasion. It has since become my full time job thanks to sponsorship opportunities and advertising.

Now that Tommy is 14 weeks, many of the moms I’ve come to know with children the same age are going back to work. I hear them talk about the struggles of finding a nanny or getting off daycare wait lists. Then there was this report that said Massachusetts had the second most expensive childcare in the country behind DC! The average cost for one infant is $17,062 – or $1,422 a month, which is $6,360 more than in state tuition for a 4-year public college.  Bright Horizons, a popular day care in the city is actually $26,000 a year for an infant at prime locations and a nanny is just as much if not more here. Just sayin.

I honestly don’t know how working moms who make close to minimum wage do it and I understand why so many stay at home. It breaks my heart to think of single moms with little family nearby to help. Seriously, how do they do it?

I’m incredibly lucky that I am in a position where I can stay home and make a living while also watching my son. People have begun to ask me though when I’m going to go back to teaching fitness classes.

I know not hiring regular childcare prevents me from putting 110% into my career. Will I still feel fulfilled if this is the case?

Many women who leave their jobs do go back shortly after because they miss it. Others, intend on going back to work and miss being home with their child so much they quit shortly after returning from maternity leave. This is often the case when leave is too short.

When it comes to maternity leave here in the US, we are like the worst! I can’t imagine going back to a full time job before 12 weeks, especially if you are exclusively breast feeding. The US is actually only one of three countries that does not guarantee paid maternity leave. You are allowed to take 12 weeks of unpaid leave thanks to the Family and Medical Leave Act (which only covers about 59% of jobs) and 25% of women go back to work just 10 days after giving birth!

While it’s just a side job for me, all women need to decide what is best for them and their family when it comes to going back to a job.

Can you afford to not go back? Will you regret not having the adult interaction?

Emotionally, how will you feel about being away from the baby?

I don’t have to make this decision but I do have to decide if I want to hire childcare for Tommy so I can dedicate more time to my work and go back to teaching fitness classes.

Currently, Tommy naps or plays on his activity mat while I work on the computer or shoot videos and even though he isn’t crying, I feel a little guilty that I’m not over there right next to him. I’ve had to turn down mom meetups because I’m scheduled to shoot videos. I’m not on maternity leave and I’m not going back to a traditional job so I’m caught in between the stay at home moms and professionals on leave.

More often than not, the kitchen is also a mess when Nick gets home. I feel lazy that the house isn’t going to be picked up when he arrives. After all, I’m here all day. Am I stay at home mom or am I working from home?

This is mommy guilt I now realize and I’m not unique.

It’s something most, if not all moms have. This article was shared a few times on my Facebook feed yesterday and just 3 months in, I get how this is going to play out.

I am not writing this to complain. I have it good. I have it really good. While I didn’t have a paid maternity leave, I have been able to earn money from home during the “4th trimester”. I’m trying to be a stay-at-home mom and run a business at the same time.

It’s way harder than I thought it was going to be which is why I’m writing this.

I wanted to share my feelings because writing is my way of getting things off my chest. I’m a sea of mixed emotions these days and usually when I write things like this, there are other people out there who feel the same way. Maybe you’re not a blogger but all women struggle not to compare themselves to one another.

I look at my Instagram feed filled with professional women I once was working with side by side like Katrina from Tone It Up and Cassey from Blogilates or even Bethenny – yes, I worked with Bethenny before she was Skinnygirl famous. When the YouTube gals followed their careers to LA, I stayed in Boston because 1) I loved Nick and his job was here and 2) I’ve always wanted to raise a big family in specifically Massachusetts. Occasionally I feel like I missed out on career opportunities to fulfill my family dream, but I’ve never been happier so the feeling passes quickly.

If I hired a nanny or sent Tommy to daycare, could I build my business to become an empire in Boston? Maybe.

If I went back to teaching fitness classes, would my family be better for it in the long run? Maybe.

Between the “You can’t have it all” and “Lean In,” philosophies, there has to be a middle ground where it is OK to surrender to wanting to be enough. It’s perfectly acceptable to want to be a stay at home mom who hustles on the side. It’s OK to be happy, challenged, and fulfilled without wanting to be a Facebook CEO or YouTube Fitness Megastar. And even though you aren’t a Pinterest Mom, your baked goods kick ass even if they are served on boring white napkins. I haven’t read Lean In and if what I’m saying is what Lean In is about, feel free to let me know in the comments and I’ll read it.  I’m lucky to be in my position and I hope I can be at peace knowing that I just might not be the next YouTube Millionaire (that means I’d have a million subscribers, not dollars) if I chose to balance work and SAHM responsibilities. I have what I always wanted and that, according to my senior yearbook, was “to be happy”. As for whether or not I’m going to go back to teaching or hire regular childcare, I haven’t decided just yet and I’m thankful I have the option as many do not. What would you do?Have something to add? Leave a comment down below.


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