Momma's Back!

Written By Chiropractic Health and Wellness on September 3, 2013

Last night, I packed my lunch, carefully chose and laid out my clothes for the morning and went to bed a little anxious.  Back to school?  No, but it feels like it!  Today is my first day back to work after being on maternity leave for the summer.   Today is also my 9 week old daughter, Vivienne’s first day of daycare – which went surprisingly well for this Momma as I have done this once before, three years ago with our oldest daughter, Lola.  That was a scene!  My husband and I stood in the driveway, hugging and sobbing after dropping our 8 week old off to, at the time, a complete stranger.  We were first time parents, ok?  Cut us some slack!  Today, I took both of my darling daughters into their “second home” at 7:00 am.  If I cannot be with them every single minute of every single day, this woman, this incredibly loving, caring, nurturing woman is exactly where I would wish them to be as I head back to work.  She allows me to be a working Mom.  There were no tears today, just a feeling of calm and satisfaction in knowing that my baby will be loved to the max, until I get my hands on her at 5:00 pm today!

Now, work, working Mom – I got asked about this a lot while on maternity leave.  “Oh, so now that you have two, are you staying home?”  “Will you work only part time?”  My answer is always, “No”, and let me explain why.  (I promise this all comes together in the end)

I have been working for CHW for the last 4 ½ years, most of you know me, some of you do not, but I’ve been working in the chiropractic field for almost 10 years.  Some of you know me from my rookie days behind the front desk, but for the last two years, I’ve been in the back office as the Community Outreach Director.  Chiropractic is my passion; it’s my true calling in life.  I love the fact that every day, I have the opportunity to change someone’s life, with natural, safe chiropractic care, nutrition, weight loss, education or even just a friendly smile.  It’s actually my job to help people feel welcome and cared for, who wouldn’t love that??
When Lola came into this world three years ago, she gave us a run for our money.  She was colicky, couldn’t be put down and cried all day, every day of my maternity leave, so did I.  Needless to say, I was chomping at the bit to come back to work, with my “people”, my “work family”.  I struggled with guilt about being so excited to NOT be home with my baby all day and to have a piece of my “old” life back, to have a different purpose other than just being a Mom.  The guilt slowly went away as we got into a routine because what I realized was that oddly, instead of feeling mentally exhausted from work or that I don’t know what I’m going to do with my screaming baby until it’s bed time, I was thrilled to pick her up from daycare, when we got home, I had more patience with her, I appreciated my snuggle time and even though sometimes we pulled all-nighters, I even didn’t mind those as much. 

Our newest addition, Viv, entered into this world as my snuggler, my sleeper, my big eater, all in all, my easier of the two.  Maternity leave was much easier for me; it was actually, dare I say…fun??  I feel more confident in my abilities as a Mom since this is number two and I’m sure that has a lot to do with her demeanor and personality.  After having a much better experience this time around, the thought had crossed my mind about staying home for good.  “I can do this all day”, I thought to myself, but every time I would actually put all the pieces together, there was one BIG piece missing, my career, my people, my other purpose.  Even now, I’m watching the clock and thinking about what we would be doing at home, me and my little love, maybe a walk or some tummy time and I miss it.  But today, I sat down at my dusty desk, cleaned it off and get back to the business I love. I got to talk with some patients that I’ve never met before, I got to see my co-workers again, and I was able to participate in a full, uninterrupted adult conversation for 10 whole minutes!  I know that for me, when I pull into daycare today at 5:00 pm and get to scoop her up, it will make our time together that much sweeter. Tonight, we will go for a walk and have lots of tummy time, because I’m not missing a thing by being a working Mom.  I will trade doing the dishes for extra hugs and kisses from both of my girls tonight and every night.

The moral of my story is that work, my job in particular, makes me a better Mom and wife.  Being able to wake up in the morning and be happy about going to the office and also knowing that I’m dropping my kiddos off with someone who treats them like her own is a wonderful feeling.  My co-workers, doctors and interns aside, it’s a lot about the patients we see that makes my days wonderful and memorable.  Even though I’m not out engaging with everyone in the clinic as much as I would like, when I get the chance to catch up, see the clinic kids growing up, hold new babies of patients, or see someone’s progress, it affirms that I am exactly where I’m supposed to be. On the flip side, my other job of being a Mom is incredibly rewarding.  I love that when I’m done for the day, I get to pick up my girls, see the smiles on my little one’s face, watch her change and grow and hear all about how much fun my big girl had with her friends while she sings along to Taylor Swift in the back seat.  I’m lucky to have found balance with my career and home life.  Are there evenings where a PB & J is the main course?  Maybe the toys don’t get back into their bins until the next day?  Absolutely!  But, I wouldn’t trade this life for anything.  

I wish for everyone the opportunity to do what you love, every day.  Work, no work, stay at home Mom or Dad, selling sea shells by the seashore-whatever it is, figure out a way to make it happen and never make excuses.

With Love and Health,
Nikki Potter