Parent and Therapist?! A Personal Reflection
I, like millions of other women in America, am facing the reality of returning to work a mere 11 and a half weeks after having a baby. I have had many people offer various nuggets of advice, such as, "Don't work! You'll never get this time back with your baby", "You should definitely return to work so you can keep current with your skills", "It's important for you to work so you can be a good role model for your daughter" and the comments go on and on.
Whatever your personal philosophy may be, one thing is for certain, many of you reading this blog are also in the same boat, the working mom (or dad!) boat. You are both a speech-language pathologist and a parent, not to mention a spouse as well! The responsibilities and demands that you face each day and night, seven days a week are endless. Needless to say, I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed right now as I hover on the brink of returning next week to the business of my job.
One of the most beautiful aspects of this field is the fact that it tends to be family-friendly. Speech therapists (especially in early intervention) do not need to work nights, weekends or holidays. With the demand of the field on the rise, we are basically able to dictate the amount of time we want and/or need to work—one day, five days, full or part-time hours. There is a ton of flexibility which allows us valuable time with our family. It is one of the main reasons why I chose the profession.
In November 2009, right after my daughter was born, I wrote a post on being thankful. I mentioned then how truly blessed I felt because I had a healthy baby girl and a job to return to after my maternity leave. I meant every word of it; however now that I am being faced with leaving her for several hours each week, I am concerned about the consequences. Will I miss her first word or first step? Will she cry for me when I walk out the door and wonder why is mommy leaving? Her little face and big blue eyes looking up at me with a puzzled look of concern haunts me.
I have devoted my life to loving and caring for children and now I have one of my own. As I write this, I realize that it is this same love making the transition so painful deep at the core of who I am.