I always thought that I’d be a mother someday. And I always thought that as a liberated woman I could have a full-time career and manage my family with ease. I finish that sentence with a loud, resounding “Ha!” It all started to unravel the night before I went back to work for the first time.
I was only able to take five weeks maternity leave. Do you know how ridiculous that is? My rectus muscles were still completely ripped apart, but my job at the time wouldn’t pay for a decent leave. So, I and my broke self got up on a Monday to return to work at a small clinic, breast pump in hand.
The night before, I crawled under my covers and sobbed. I was a bad mother! How could I leave that precious babe in the hands of an incapable person for a 12-hour shift? They would never be able to hold her, feed her, sing to her like I do. My baby girl was going to grow up with attachment issues!
It took me a few weeks, but I eventually decided that my mother was, in fact, capable of caring for her granddaughter. Three kids later, and I have learned a few things that I wish to share with you working mamas.
1.) It really, really sucks when you forget your breast pump. Pack everything the night before and have it by the door.
2.) Take as long a maternity leave as you possibly can. You just can’t get that time back!
3.) I realized after having three children that it doesn’t get easier being a working mom … You just get used to the chaos.
4.) Cereal for dinner is perfectly acceptable in a pinch.
5.) Your kids will use words like “trachea” and “pupil” and “femur,” and it’s kind of creepy.
6.) Sometimes, you just have to cut back on the number of commitments you make. Just be sure to hang with your friends and that your social life doesn’t completely fall to the wayside. Balance, people!
7.) At first, I felt like I was never good enough, either at work or at home. I’m still working through that one! Sometimes, life is just hard, and you do your best, and that has to be enough.
8.) Going off of #7, ASK … FOR … HELP!
9.) Let your kids help with life at home. Don’t do things for them because you feel guilty. ( I fell into that one and will write more about it later … .)
10.) Let go of perfectionism. Your kids love you, and they only have one childhood. Worry less about how you want to be perceived and more about getting in extra snuggles.
What tips do you have for working moms in the medical field? Comment below!
Rachael Jarman, PA-C, works in the ER of a busy Minneapolis hospital and as a pre-PA admissions coach, and occasionally, as a guest lecturer for PA programs in Minnesota. She is a graduate of Philadelphia University’s PA program.