Coming back to work was a transition, and leaping into an intensive training/certification program two weeks in did nothing to ease the adjustment…but it did completely revitalize me. The early morning train rides force me to go to bed at 9pm, but allow me three hours a day to read books on simplicity parenting and women in the workforce; refocus my career goals and assess where I want to be in a few years; evaluate how we use the time we get with our kids; reflect on my work-life balance and taking chances that merit the risk. David has gone from fabulous to phenomenal. Our efforts to prep for the week in combination with his indefatigable dedication to the kids and supporting me at work led to a calm re-entry these last two nights, although we’re both tired. Picture this: I walk in at 7pm Monday to the pork for Thai lettuce wraps simmering on the stove, Tess chirping over her less-spicy meal, and Remy peeking sleepily past his bottle. I can’t even imagine what went into the 6-7pm hour on Dave’s part to accomplish all that, but I swear I will pay it forward. Tonight? Chicken, tomato and avocado salads ready when I walked in, with Tess and Remy both napping. I was speechless. I only hope I have a halfway decent showing when it’s my turn to keep the home fires burning!
Dave and I both talked excitedly about our days and my reading, what a Chicago commute would entail permanently (I don’t think I have it in me!), and snuggled and gurgled with our kids. Remy’s playing at noises and Tess is babbling like a brook, which creates a hilarious undercurrent for (for once) intelligent, passionate adult conversation.
I read Lean In yesterday, which I expected to be the 2013 equivalent to a self-help/cheer-leading book for moms in the workforce. My manager gave it to me when she feared I wouldn’t come back to work, and I will not be able to thank her enough or recommend it as much as it deserves. The author addresses so many of my frustrations, backed up with studies, and provides possible solutions or at least something to try. The tone is far from chirpy, and the realistic approach is refreshing after the
You can’t have it all!
rhetoric flying around in social media. Without realizing it, I have made some positive decisions and have taken a few false steps. Fortunately, I’m so new on this scene that no real damage is done, and I feel empowered (eek – but it’s true!) to continue
climbing the jungle gym
, as she so elegantly puts it.
As a woman, it’s hard to acknowledge ambition without feeling like a brat; to express gratitude for a great job while still hoping to expand one’s horizons. While no one will ever call me polished, I am frank and love to learn. Those are skills, and I can put myself forward without guilt. There’s so much guilt at being a working mom! So I decided my goal for the next two weeks is to enjoy all of it: the alone time on the train, the stimulation of learning a new skill, and being supported by a wonderful spouse. I have less time with the kids, but I’m totally focused on them when I get home, which delights all of us. I refuse to feel the guilt, or to worry about being unfair – to anyone. Taking an opportunity is a good thing, and enjoying myself on this serial retreat doesn’t hurt a soul. 🙂 Mental note: I am a better parent if I take five minutes to myself after work before becoming mommy. I can certainly work that in when the 1.5-hour commute goes back to five minutes!
So so far, so good in our family social experiment. Remy is miserable this week, which I hope means the colic is giving one last hurrah before vanishing. Tess tested at 12 months in therapy but is a scaredy cat, so she’s now a scaredy cat with a baby walker! It’s like a mini-old lady entered the house. The best part? We’re supposed to use it backwards, so it hits her in the bum and makes her keep taking steps. They don’t think she’ll need it long, but she does seem to feel more secure already.
And Dave? Dave passed out at 8pm, after taking care of everyone in the world. Here’s hoping he sleeps like a bear and wakes up feeling great…for one of tonight’s feedings. I wish the same for myself!