It’s not easy to say goodbye: Leaving my child to go back to work

As I write this column, my baby boy is sitting in his high chair, smiling from ear to ear as he eats his morning scrambled eggs and cheese. Soon after he eats, I’ll clean him all up, play with him, and then it’s time for a movie and a nap – a routine that we have done together for what seems like forever.

But now things are going to change because this mom is going back to work and let me tell you, the decision wasn’t easy. I was recently laid off from my position as editor of a local newspaper, a job that allowed me to work from home when I wasn’t out in the field. It was such a blessing to feel like I had the best of both worlds. I was able to continue to enjoy a career that I loved and be with the one I loved the most, my child.

After searching for work for a few weeks, I received a wonderful job opportunity to work full-time at an even larger newspaper. It was the position I’ve always dreamed of with only one flaw – I’d have to leave my best friend behind. The little person that taught me more than I ever knew about myself. The one that I shared tears with and sleepless nights. The one whose smile lights up my world. The one that changed my life for the better.

Now I know that many mothers have had to make this decision, it’s not just me, but that doesn’t make it any easier. I also know my child will be in terrific hands while I’m at work, but questions still run through my mind. Will he be sad that I’m gone? Will he miss our routine? Is he going to think I abandoned him? Am I making a mistake?

All of these questions make me feel quite guilty for going back to work, but I also want my child to be proud of me. I want him to follow in my footsteps one day and go to college and pursue a career that he loves and never give up even when everyone is telling him to. I want him to go to school and be happy to say what his mom does for a living and I never want him to have to worry about paying for school when he gets older either. As hard as it is going to be to leave him, I know it’s for the best. I know he will learn more things that I forgot to teach him. I know that he will find his independence and I know that when I get home every day from work, we will get right back to where we started.

I’ll miss the cuddles. I’ll miss the laughter. I’ll even miss the crankiness. I’ll miss him every second of every day until he’s back in my arms. He gave me the motivation to be more than I ever thought possible and the best job I will ever have will always be being his mom.

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