20 July 2011

Some old news

I quit my job. During my pregnancy and leave, people would ask me if I was going to go back. I really believed I would go back part time. I shall strive to be concise here:

I have worked since I was 16. I was unfamiliar with life without a job. Sometimes when I review my employment history I feel like I'm a little Kirk from Gilmore Girls. I have worn many hats. However, I hit the jackpot in June 2009. I finally found a job where I felt interested, challenged, and I got to use some of my talents. I moved up. I got to go to trial, I had a lot of responsibility, I even got an assistant! I worked with people I respect. I had the best friends there; I miss seeing their lovely faces every day. I got office gossip by the gallon. I got free diet coke. I was close to the mall. I was up to my eyeballs in work. No, top of my scalp.

I really thought I would go back. People told me I wouldn't want to work, even part time, and it ruffled my feathers. Nobody likes other people telling them how they do or will feel. Beyond that, the people telling me this stuff had never had jobs they'd been very invested in. I felt compelled to keep a leg in that world, and if they didn't understand that, then that was OK.

Then came this little raspberry.

(Looking at this I can't believe how small he was, and his face looks NOTHING like that now!)

At one month I didn't feel ready to return to work but thought maybe by 3 months I would.

Two months was the same,

Three months...well...you guessed it. And here I am on a Wednesday afternoon at home in grubby paint clothes taking a break from working on the Master Bathroom, and waiting for Jude to wake up from his nap.

There has never been anything I've felt more drawn to than my child. I don't have an obvious resource for childcare that would be worth it financially. We are so blessed that I don't have to work. And if it wasn't imperative, I couldn't bring myself to leave Jude with someone who doesn't have such an invested interest. Also, I had to admit to myself that my job was more of an "all in or all out" thing, and working "part time" really wouldn't have been part time in the end.

So I resigned.

Here's the only visual I have of myself on the job (I was at an inspection):

2 months later I am still getting used to this. I've talked to some other moms about this and it's nice to know I'm not the only one who feels a potpourri of

- self-spun guilt for the husband having all financial responsibility on his muscly shoulders,
- laziness -- and a strange lack of motivation since besides changing and feeding J, house projects and other things are not time sensitive. I work well on deadlines, routine, and pressure.
- missing the paycheck and seeing the finished work product,
- missing my own desk with a nice view of the 405, where everything was set up just like I like it,
- missing driving to work with Jeff and those days of being in the same field,
- guilt for missing these things in the first place,

conflicted by the impossible deliciousness of your baby and getting to soak up every little gurgle and squeal.

No matter how long I've dreamed of being a mother, saying goodbye to what my job gave me hasn't been as easy as I'd imagined. I guess cake is not always for having AND eating. In choosing between a job and my child, my child is the easy winner, I just am in search of something I can do while I have Jude right next to me. Of course I kick myself for not becoming better at piano -- Elizabeth has taught lessons for years! Some days the search is very important to me and I'm very antsy. Some days that's not the way I feel. Jeff has been sweet, supportive, and encouraging. I am trying to teach myself to not be so dependent on routine and deadlines. I remind myself there will be time later for the things I miss now. I read up on what religious leaders have taught about parenthood. I hug my baby and rub my cheek against his cheek while he sleeps. And my heart is full.


SJW said...

As a girl currently look for a job I can feel invested in AND a newly married woman who sent this exact text to her husband today: "I just hope that when we become parents, I get that "this is the most fulfilling thing ever" feeling, because I'm pretty empty at this point. Right now, all my eggs are hiding in that basket." I'm just wondering if you would share what exactly that super wonderful job was. I'd be willing to try anything at this point. I just want to help people. And to matter. And to feel like I was making use of my strengths.

If not, I completely understand.

P.S. Congrats on your decision and being brave enough to follow your heart.

super awesome kt said...

I totally relate to the previous comment and also appreciate this post. I often wonder how I will feel when I come to this crossroads.

JerzyGrl said...

I LOVED my career and still miss a lot of parts of it. But, I also love my babies and wouldn't trade my current life for that life. I can totally relate to all of the feelings you are having. The thing I miss most is the praise I got in a workplace setting telling me that I did a good job. Motherhood has plenty of rewards, but sometimes it is more subtle!

ericareynolds said...

I remember these feelings so well. It's an interesting transition time and hard to do something that isn't necessarily valued in our society. I also thrive on schedules. I made myself have a "cleaning" day, a baking day, an errand day, etc. I also signed up for a few mommy and baby classes so I didn't feel so isolated.

Meredith said...

SJW: I don't know if I was helping "people", it was more like helping huge companies be spared from horrible lawsuits from plaintiffs wanting early retirement. I was a paralegal :). It was nothing like the Peace Corps, but it was interesting and busy and never a dull moment. Wherever you live, there is always a need for good Paralegals. If you're detail oriented and enjoy legal STUFF, it could be a good fit!

And thanks for your supportive words, ladies. They mean a lot to me!

SJW said...

Being a paralegal is actually something I've been considering. I've been applying for several legal secretary position. It's reassuring to know it could actually be as fulfilling as I imagined. Thanks for the information. You've been really helpful.

Katie Waldron said...

Loved this post. You are a great momma so far my dear. Soak up that baby. My neighbor who has school age kids told me to cherish this flexible, carefree time because it goes so fast. No schedule, no deadlines, just playtime. You will find a happy medium I'm sure- something you love on the side. I'm still searching for that too.


Alice said...

Do something to create. It'll help keep you sane. I gave up doing art (for now) when my son was born, but I'm creative in the kitchen and cooking makes me happy. Sometimes I draw a little here and there while my son plays with playdough, you'll get busier as your son gets older and more mobile and you'll have days where you feel like he's sucking the life out of you, so figure out now what you can do to create.