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First Day Jitters: That Time I Suddenly Became a Working Mom

“Can you start in two days?”

This was the phone call I received for a job I had applied to just a few days before. I was interested in getting back to work, so I was casually applying for a few jobs thinking that it would be a month long process to get back into working full time. I wasn’t expecting to have to get my stuff together in TWO days.

I didn’t end up starting until the next Monday but it was still a VERY quick transition. I had been staying home with my son for 15 months and now all of a sudden we were about to separated for 40 hours a week starting immediately. Luckily I didn’t have any time to let my emotions get the best of me, because I had a lot to get done.

First thing first, I had to find child care for Christopher. I was so lucky to be able to get Christopher in my first choice day care. There is normally a very long wait list but they randomly had an opening for his age group and I was able to tour the facility and get him in right away. Although it was easy for me to get him in this daycare, it was not easy to decide to do this. I have worked in day cares before so I knew they could be great, but I was worried if I was making the right choice. Christopher was going from 24/7 attention from Mom to being around a bunch of other children he did not know with an instructor he only met once at the walk through. I thought about hiring a nanny but the cost did not make sense for our family. I got a good vibe from the daycare and I just went with my instinct.

Sunday Night.

I packed up my lunch to get myself ready for my first day at the new job, which is something I always did before starting a new job. I thought of how the next day was going to go, my nerves for being in a new place and being the new girl. But that night it was more then just my lunch I was packing, I was packing my son's little backpack as well, thinking about him on his first day and if he would be happy and if he would enjoy himself. I was up half the night thinking to myself “am I making the right choice?” “Will he like daycare?” “Will he still love me?”

Monday Morning.

My husband and I woke up and got ready for work. Then we woke up Christopher and got him dressed for daycare. I probably told my husband how nervous I was 80 times in the 5 minute drive it took us to get to daycare. We walked into his classroom and got such a warm welcome from his teacher that my nerves melted away. He went straight to his teacher and started playing. We quickly walked out so he wouldn’t see us leave and get upset. Of course we both cried like little babies in the car, but Christopher never did. In the car on my way to my new job I wasn’t nervous anymore. Seeing Christopher walk into daycare like a champ made me feel like I could do the same thing. I had a great first day of learning and feeling like a real adult again. I talked to other adults and felt professional for the first time in a long time.

Monday Afternoon.

I pulled up at daycare and look at the playground to see my son smiling a big old smile going down a slide. Then I saw his smile get even bigger after seeing me walk toward the playground, and, in that moment, I knew I had made the right choice for our family in going back to work. We both had great days that ended with big smiles from both of us.

I have been at my new job for almost a month now and it has its challenges but it had also been really great for both of us. I know that I made the right choice for our family. I think it's important for every mom to do what it is best for her family and this just works for us. I have certain memories ingrained in my mind from the 16 months with Christopher and seeing him on the slide the first day of daycare is definitely something I will never forget.

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Karen Johnston

Karen is mom to 15-month-old Christopher. You can find her smiling face at our working moms evening classes throughout Charleston. Follow Karen's motherhood journey on Instagram @karengravy.