My name is Christina Hnatiuk. I am a new mom of a 6 month old baby boy, Marshall. I am married to a wonderful man, we will have been together for 5 years, married for two. I work full time in Human Resources and part time as a Ukrainian dance instructor. I love to try new things, especially new restaurants and food. In my free time, which is hardly ever, I love to bake, specializing in cheesecakes. This is my first time writing a blog but I am looking forward to sharing my adventures in parenting with everyone!
Let me start by saying I never wanted kids. I was happy going to work 7 days a week, 12 hours a day, making money and travelling, all while trying to get my university degree. But things change, and all those people who told me I’d change my mind were right. I got a new summer job and met a boy. Four years later I had an amazing wedding, graduated from university and then while on my honeymoon I found out I was pregnant. It wasn’t really a surprise, we had been trying, but it all happened so fast that I didn’t really have time to plan out anything. I had a brand spanking new university degree, I planned on getting a “real job” that winter, I planned to work full-time and save some money, but that all changed.
Fast forward nine months and that beautiful baby boy looked at me and nothing else mattered in that moment. When I got home and the new baby excitement settled, reality came crashing down. I knew I was going to have to go work soon because I hadn’t worked full-time while pregnant so, I didn’t get a maternity leave. An opportunity arose for me to apply for a paid internship. It was in Saskatoon and in my field of work, so I applied. I never thought I would get it, but I did, and it started in a month. Suddenly I was so aware of the fact that I didn’t want to go to work, I didn’t want to spend 8 hour days away from my baby boy, who was already growing up so fast. But I took the job and put on my big girl pants and went off to work. It was extremely hard. I was lucky my husband was able to stay home with our son, so it helped a lot with the transition. But it was still very hard. I checked in constantly. “how much has he eaten?” “has he napped enough?” “did he do anything new?” I was so concerned I was going to miss something, maybe he’d roll over when I was at work, or crawl, or heaven forbid say his first word. I missed his 4-month doctor appointment, and I’d miss his 6th, and it all started to pile on like a heavy weight. I cracked.
I would lose it over such trivial things, and I had held in all this anxiety and stress, I didn’t want to share my concerns because working is what I do. I’ve always worked, sometimes seven days a week, sometimes 2 jobs in one day. I told myself that it would take getting used to and that I had to work, we needed to pay for things. I had changed and I wasn’t the person I used to be. I was a mom now, but being a mom just didn’t feel like me. I felt like a failure to my family, I was always miserable and tired. I felt like my son was missing out on bonding with me, that he’d forget who I was, that he didn’t need me anymore. The worst part was I felt like I failed myself. All these years, I loved working and told myself I would always be that way, and now I was letting myself down because I didn’t love it anymore. The truth is, my son changed me. I’m not that young girl who loved to work, make money and travel, anymore. I have a family, and that’s better than all the money in the world.
It is not easy going back to work. Not after 3 months, 6 months or a year. Every day it gets a little easier and when I kiss him goodbye in the morning, or receive my afternoon updates from my husband, I still get sad but now I have something to look forward to coming home to. Going back to work early was the best decision for me and my family, it was hard but I’m confident it will keep getting easier. Scarlett Johansson summed it up well in an interview with ET, “I think you always feel a little bit of guilt…If you’re at work, you feel like you’re missing out on those special moments with your kid. If you’re with your kid, you feel like you’re not giving enough to your job. It’s a balance.”
It’s important to know that you change and grow in your life and you’ll probably change again and again. You have to make decisions based not only on what’s best for you, but also what’s best for your family. Your baby isn’t going to remember that you weren’t at home with them during the first year of their life, but later they will remember seeing their hard working momma go off to work to provide for them. Or if you are lucky enough to be a stay at home mom, they will see the hard work you put in to taking care of them every day. Either way, as long as the decision is right for you and you are happy, they will be ok too. “Being a working mom is an incredible challenge, (and) it’s an incredible gift.”- Scarlett Johansson