Archive for the ‘Working Woman’ Category

The Jump

Well. I did it. I took “the leap”.

I went into work today and told my boss B that when she has a minute I needed to talk to her. A few minutes later she comes up to me, and is telling me how one after another crazy things have happened this week (including an employee suffering from anaphylaxis and going into the hospital!!!) and she ends it with “it’s just been a really bad week!” She pauses, looks at me, and says “you’re quitting, aren’t you?”

i start crying.

I explained that with Hubsters new job the only long term solution for child care was a second day of daycare, and that would be more than I make.

She gave me a big hug and told me that whenever I wanted to come back, to just call her.

I know it was the right decision… But why am I so blue? This means more time with my little girl! More time with friends, family, mom groups… But also a lot of time alone, as in no other adults. Almost no me time. Ever.

The rush of adrenaline I feel when we get a slam of clients at work and I find myself multitasking, diffusing upset clients, helping … I don’t get that at home. It’s harder to see and feel the tangible sense of an impact I make.

I know it’s the right decision for right now. I know that I’m leaving on good terms and that means I can go back. In some ways, it’s all pretty perfect. I got to try the “working mom” thing, and now I get to try the SAHM thing. I get to see which one works better for me. I know I’m going to continue to take my pets to this clinic, and so I will still get to see people.

But it’s still sad. And I think that’s ok. I still adore my daughter. I’m still a good mom. I’m just trying to figure out balancing my life.

I can’t believe tomorrow she will be 12 weeks old!!!! How did the time fly???

LIES

The greatest lie of the feminist movement, and of our current culture, is “You can have it all!”. You can have a career and family, hobbies and a great body. “You can be anything you want!” But come on… I think it’s safe to say not everyone who wants to be president gets to be. Not everyone who wants to be an astronaut goes up into space. There is a limit to our time, energy and income.

I’ve really been struggling with my return to work. I still hold I couldn’t ask for a better boss or coworkers. But more its the time spent apart from Seedling. It used to be I was borderline workaholic. Anything that was asked of me, if it was in my power I would do it. 110%, going above and beyond for my job. But now… I find myself just wanting to get by. Do a good job and be done. 90% effort. I’m also finding that with breastfeeding-induced fuzzy brain, and coming in to work on 2-4 hours of sleep, I just can’t be the employee I used to be. I forget simple, routine things. When it’s pointed out to me all I can think is “Duh! How did I miss that?” I feel incompetent. I feel like my boss and coworkers are a little let down I’m not the employee I used to be. The truth is, my heart is just not in it like it used to be. My heart is in spending time with Seedling.

Maybe part of it is that I’m just a receptionist. Making little more than minimum wage. I went to school to be a vet tech. To draw blood, assist in surgeries, look through a microscope. The education feels wasted and I can sense that knowledge slipping away, “use it or lose it”. But the clinic I work at only hires licensed techs to work as vet techs. And getting licensed is a $500 process that includes a giant, intense exam I doubt I could do well on at this point.

Thursday I received an email referencing my résumé that is posted in a national vet tech database. I figured they had emailed everyone in the database and didn’t put much thought into it. Friday morning I received a phone call. Turns out its a state of the art emergency and specialty clinic that REALLY wants me to come in and interview. Without going into too much detail, in short it’s my dream job. But I gently interrupted the woman and explained I had just had a baby and that if it was any other time I would have loved to take it. She was very understanding, and said “When you’re ready to get back to work, let me know!”

I spent the rest of the day wondering if I’d made a HUGE mistake. Finally Hubster got home and I had someone to hash it all out with. I told him that I wish I could take it so he wouldn’t have to work. That it was potentially the golden opportunity of my career. I lamented that we really can’t have it all. I can’t have a career without some sacrifice to the time I spend with my family. I can’t have a family without sacrificing my energy for my career. Hubster told me he would support me no matter what. But he did say that if it came down to him working so I could spend time with Seedling, or me working so he could spend time with Seedling, that he would rather work. Not because he doesn’t want to be here – the truth is her loves and adores his father-daughter time! But because he believes that the mother-daughter bond is SO important. He sees the value in my ability to snuggle and breastfeed. And he recognizes I’m the same person who, a decade ago when we first met, had said I valued family above all else. And I still do. I could work, and Hubster could work, and we could put Seedling in daycare. Lots of families do! But it’s not what I want. I want to be there, to watch my daughter grow, to raise her. Am I sad to let go of one dream? Sure. It’s always sad to realize we can’t fit all our dreams into our life. But it’s also the mature thing. It was hard to realize we didn’t have the money for both a family and horses and I had to sell my horse. But when it comes down to family vs hobbies or career? I’m always going to choose family.

I think back to this fabulous exchange n “Mona Lisa Smiles”:
Joan Brandwyn: Do you think I’ll wake up one morning and regret not being a lawyer?
Katherine Watson: Yes, I’m afraid that you will.
Joan Brandwyn: Not as much as I’d regret not having a family, not being there to raise them. I know exactly what I’m doing and it doesn’t make me any less smart. This must seem terrible to you.
Katherine Watson: I didn’t say that.
Joan Brandwyn: Sure you did. You always do. You stand in class and tell us to look beyond the image, but you don’t. To you a housewife is someone who sold her soul for a center hall colonial. She has no depth, no intellect, no interests. You’re the one who said I could do anything I wanted. This is what I want.

Scott came home this evening from work saying his start time is changing from 6:30am to 4am. So he can’t take Seedling to day are for me in the mornings. It just feels like one more thing and one more thing keeps coming up … It’s just a matter of time for me to put in my notice. I’m not sure when it will be exactly… But it’s coming.

Midnight Mumblings

Oh it’s been so long *sigh*.

– Last weekend Seedling was baptized into the Eastern Orthodox Church. It was so beautiful and moving, and I am so excited to share pictures with you all!

– Seedling is going through a growth spurt… Or something. Her sleep rhythm is all out of whack, she has been heart-breakingly cranky… Spending most of her time in the Ergo, frequent small-snack feedings. We are running on low, broken sleep. I’m just hoping we are on the upslope and on our way out of it…

– Hubster found a job! We are very excited to be able to pay our bills… But admittedly it comes with mixed emotions. With him being in school full time, he misses plenty, but he’s been able to spend time with Seedling in the morning. So far he has been having “Father-Daughter” day when I work on Saturdays. See, with Hubster covering Saturdays and my mom watching Seedling on Fridays, I only have to pay for daycare one day a week. Let me break down the math for you:
Daycare 1 day a week $200 a month.
Gas for a month about $160 a month.
My paycheck for a month about $400 a month.
So… Not a lot of wiggle if I have to pay for another day of daycare. But Hubsters new job? Full time, mornings Monday through Saturday. Which means I’m trying to figure out who will watch Seedling on Saturdays… I have some short term options with friends and family but nothing that will work long term… Also that means Hubster will go back to being home for about 5 or 6 hours. It breaks my heart he will miss out on time with Seedling. But also really overwhelming to think it will be back on me to take care of Seedling. I have gotten used to having Hubster be able to give me the occasional helping hand. I think back to when Seedling was first born and Hubster was working and going to school…. That was so hard. But I wasn’t working then. Now I’m working on top of it. It feels like too much. But I can’t just quit… What if Hubsters job doesn’t work out? We need me to have something to fall back on… It’s all just very complicated. I’m not explaining it very well. Low on sleep. Highly emotional. My daughter is fussing and needs some snuggles, so I’ll unpack it all, more, better, later.

All that matters is that I have a daughter to snuggle. The rest will work itself out. Right? Right.

Pump-a-palooza

Quick update while pumping at work:

Everyone was SOOOO excited to see me today, I can’t imagine a more welcome back! As long as I kept my mind on work, it really wasn’t *that* bad to be away from Seedling.

Once Seedling fell asleep (about 3:15 am) and I crawled into bed (about 3:45am) we all slept until I was woken up by my boobs around 10. I don’t know if we are dealing with true colic, or a baby who is used to me as 99% caretaker, who has to adjust to her daddy and grandma filling in, just as much as I’m adjusting to not being there? Probably a bit of both.

Soooo tired. But the day has actually been pretty good.

Worried about what the night will bring… 😦

It’s Gonna be a Rough Day

Hubster sent me to bed, determined to let me catch som e sleep son e I return to work today. And the man tried, he really did. I can only assume Seedling is having one helluva growth spurt. It started a few days back, being fussy in the evenings. But it’s slowly
progressed. Tonight it was inconsolable screaming. As in “the zombies are eating my brains, WTF aren’t you people going anything to stop this torture?!?!”

So 3am Hubster came and got me. I hadn’t slept much, hard to ignore those kinds of sounds coming from your child. He looked like he’d been through hell. I sent him to bed and was able to finally console her with nursing. (Which lately nursing had been pissing her off – she’s been preferring the infinitely easier to eat bottle. But this morning? It is apparently the magical love of get life. Whatever works! Right?)

Crying alone I can take – but I can’t shake this anxiety that its more than the “6 week growth spurt”. What if something is wrong? Really wrong? What if there is some underlying health problem, that could prove fatal?

What if I gave birth just to lose another child?

…..

Later today I will return to work. When I think about it as just this one day… It’s not so bad. My mom is going to come over and watch Seedling on Fridays. My mom – for all our issues and drama – has been amazing. She has come and helped me, sometimes at a moments notice, driving out in heavy traffic and heavier rain. I don’t know how we would have survived without her. So long story short – I know Seedling will be in great hands. I don’t worry that something bad will happen. I worry that something good, significant will happen, and I will miss it. That I will miss out on smiles, on her grabbing my finger, on her coos and cuddles. What if I miss her first rolling over, or her first real crawl? What if I miss her first really big, hearty laugh? It’s selfish, is what it boils down to.

So I’m crazy, right? As in, clinically insane. I’m struggling with a child who is displaying and more signs of colic every day, a child who is physically and emotionally exhausting myself and Hubster – yet the thought of being gone brings me to tears.

The hard parts… They are so very hard. But the good parts? Pure fairy magic. I wouldn’t miss out on the good stuff for anything.

But it’s going to be a rough day. Seedling is currently sleeping, drifting off from nursing, nuzzled to my left bosom. She’s one overtired infant. With a penchant for waking up inconsolable. Hubsters plans to give me sleep have failed. Hello sleep deprived mommy. Add on the emotions of returning to work. And, of course, my job isn’t exactly all sunshine and roses – there will be the dick clients that feel the need to take out their issues on me.

And then I get to get up and do it again on Saturday. Because, of course, I’m not just returning to work for one day and calling it quits.

So I get on WordPress. I pour out my worries, my stress, my exhaustion. I rock my now-sleeping babe. I pray for strength and forgiveness. Because its all I know how to do in times like this.

Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy in me, a sinner.

Zombies! Working! EmOtIoNs!!!

Tonight Hubster and I celebrated that Seedling is 6 weeks old by going on our first date since her birth. In some ways, it was for us as a couple – a chance to reconnect and reestablish “us-the-two-of-us” separate from “us-the-family-unit”. It was about wanting to establish this as a part of our lives and routine, ensuring a strong marriage now and for the future.

But also, it was a test run. My mom watched Seedling. She will be watching Seedling when I work on Fridays. This was a chance for both her and me to see what it would be like for me to be gone, in the limited space of two hours, and only 10 minutes from home. Because next Friday, it will be 8 hours gone and an hour from home.

The movie was good, “Wa.rm Bod.ies”. Lots of good zombie humor, a touch of gore, a dollop of whit and an overall feel good romance. Both Hubster and I were laughing out loud and walked out quoting some choice bits.

But it was hard. I had my phone on vibrate in my pocket. And I spent most of the movie clutching it, so as to not miss any text or call from my mom. (She sent three texts… Saying they were doing fine, a cute picture, and then a recognition of her elite grandma skillz). After we got home and my mom headed out, Hubster and I were on the couch as I attempted to ease my tender boobs and coax a sleepy Seedling to nurse, I ended up breaking down crying. I don’t know how I’m going to do next Friday. I wish I could have a childish tantrum, throw myself on the floor, flail my arms and legs and scream “I don’t wanna go, I don’t wanna, you can’t make me!” But I realize 1-it won’t make the situation any better, 2-it won’t change the outcome, and 3-it would probably give me some interesting bruises and snarl my hair. That’s not a pretty look. 😉

I thought it’d be easier than this. I love my job. I work with amazing people. I crave adult interaction, intellectual conversation, mental stimulation.

But… I look at her face, tears prick my eyes, I get chocked up. How can I possibly leave my little girl?! It’s my job to take care of her. Even though she will be in great hands… They aren’t my hands!

I’m going to snuggle my sleeping girl and have myself a good cry. For you’re viewing pleasure, the picture my mom sent to me this evening:

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Why I work

There are a lot of reasons I’m working while pregnant, and plan to return to work after my delivery. But why do I work where I work? Because if the awesome people I work with.

Case in point:

I went to ask the office manager a question about a client account. Before answering my question she gets a big glowing smile on her face and says “Your baby is beautiful. She’s going to look Just Like You.”

I have to admit I was a little flabbergasted, but she said she thought every mom should hear those things, and I have to admit, nobody has said anything quite that direct to me. It totally made my day 🙂

So even as I stress about working and not having enough time, I also really love my job.

I’m an oxymoron, what can I say? 😛