Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Finally found the love of a lifetime

sometimes life is all rainbows and rottweilers
On the anonymous parenting question list at work, every couple of months someone posts about "lacking inspiration", "losing their mojo", "complete disinterest" about their work after returning from parental leave. 

It's not surprising, is it?  Especially for first time parents, whose lives have been completely upended by the arrival of a delightful (mostly, right?) baby.  Not to mention the lack of sleep, the fact that your brain is probably still mushy, and the complete hijacking of your brain to worry about how your child is eating/sleeping/developing etc. 

I don't have a solution to this problem besides advising people to go easy on making Big Decisions in that first 6 months back.   For a long time, I was really unsure about returning to work, even part-time.  I loved my schedule and liked my work, but still would have been perfectly happy to stay at home with T 5 days a week.

But now, 2 years after returning from that first maternity leave, I am really happy to be working.  I'm not sure when that happened. 

Part of it was the good fortune to join a team that is full of ridiculously nice people who believe there is more to life than work, while still doing an awesome job at work.  That combination is very hard to find - I've found tons of teams full of workaholics with no outside lives and have also heard of (but thankfully not worked on) teams with people who definitely value their work life balance but are completely useless and unmotivated at work.

As much as I grouse about corporate life, I want to be good at my job.  I want to work with people who are happy to be there, and are doing the right thing for our customers.  Today was one of those days I was all "hell, yeah" about work.

On the face of it, it was an ordinary day and everyone was a little regretful about coming back to work after a glorious long weekend.  But today I picked up a new responsibility that is in line with stuff I've done before, and the sort of project managementy goodness I like doing.  I was busy, and happy about it.  I'm thinking about increasing my hours just a tiny bit.

And I realized I hadn't felt that good more than a handful of days since returning from mat leave 2 years ago.  Of course, this is all moot when I go out on leave later this year, but I'm happy to wallow in the goodness right now. 

The other part of it is that T is getting a lot out of preschool.  Even if I was a SAHM, I'd have enrolled her in co-op or some other part-time preschool by now.  She, like me, loves structure and order.   She tells us enthusiastic (but often incomprehensible) stories of what happened at preschool and is always happy to go there.  So happy that she often has to be reminded to say goodbye to us when we drop her off.

Don't get me wrong.  If the circumstances allowed, I'm sure I could still be perfectly happy as a SAHM.  Especially with all those crafty projects I have on deck and the tons of projects I want to do with T. 

But I am also loving work right now.  Take that, Mommy Wars.


  1. Hooray! This is awesome. I'm glad you're loving work right now.

    I often say that my two rules are: (1) no major life changing decisions when incredibly sleep deprived, and (2) no major life changing decisions while weaning (which messes with my mood something fierce, starting with each drop in nursing amount at about 9 months old. This is why I wean verrrry slowly, dropping a nursing at a time, and waiting for things to stabilize in between.)

  2. And what's wrong with Firehouse? = )

    Another great and thoughtful post. I'm thrilled you're back to loving your job and have a project that you can sink your teeth into. Yay.

  3. I'd say keep this flagged for when the sleep deprivation and hormones makes you feel like you'll never go back. I know I was just like you when mijo was first born. I felt like the other parts of me woke up when I went back to my work. I now know to push through that period after the baby is born without acting on how I feel or I too would be a SAHM indefinitely. After mijo was six months, that would not have worked well for me.

  4. Good! Definitely keep this post to reread if things get rocky coming back from leave next time. But it's so true that it's hard to leave the kids when they're little but then they grow up fast and become independent and want to do lots of things on their own. So mom needs to have some things of her own too.


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