Posted by Fitz

 

You have all been kind enough to follow me as I transitioned from a stay at home mom to a part-time worker to a full-time employee.  I have to tell you, these past few months of being a full-time employee have been difficult.  It’s not just about the job itself, but more about the travel and about the expectations I put on myself.  Like many women, I can’t just do the job and go home.  I have to be the best – or close to it – at the job, and be fully engaged.  I have to check my Blackberry before bed, log in a couple of hours on Saturdays to catch up for the following week, and say yes to things that I have no business agreeing to.  After all, in a shaky economy where The Economist just reported that motherhood is a key factor in inequal pay, what choice do I have?  Right?

I have to tell you, the stress and pressure that I’ve heaped onto my own shoulders has paid off in spades.  I’ve done a great job at work, and it has been recognized.  Part of me loves it – there is no denying it, especially when things seem to be going very well at home, too.   The other part of me wonders if I’m missing out on the best parts of motherhood (at worst) or not spending enough time taking care of myself (at best).  It’s a conundrum, and I’m one of a gazillion people who face the same dilemma.  What is a woman to do?

After a lot of soul searching, I made the decision to approach my boss about going back to my part-time schedule after my upcoming maternity leave.  I was nervous about it; after all, I’ve only been full time since September, and wanted to make sure that I still had a little job security.  Luckily, my boss agreed to the arrangement I proposed, and my entire team has rallied around me to make sure I can be successful in that role when I do come back.  I’m very grateful for their understanding and accommodation, and feel that all of the hard work I’ve done has paid off in this very particular way.

So, last week, when I got an email announcing that they were starting the interview process for my full-time replacement (which I knew would happen), I wasn’t prepared to feel so…defensive.  “Hey, that’s my job!” and “How vulnerable does this make me?” swam through my head as I experienced another vortex of conflicting emotions about my choice to scale back on work to scale up on life.  I was honestly shocked to feel this way…and while there were no tears, I felt…weird.  Like I should be able to do it all without any feelings of guilt or remorse or whatever.  Like it is my duty to do it all.

Luckily, those feelings were short lived.  Once I stepped back from my emotions and thought about what part-time would be like – still challenging, still engaging, yet give me the time I want with my kids – I felt fantastic.  I experienced a sigh of relief that I haven’t had for a long time, and feel so happy with my decision.  It’s funny that this whole episode coincided with Thebump.com’s survey results that we posted last week, too.  Because, you see, motherhood is only impacting my career because I want it to.  I’ve made deliberate choices to take a step back from my career (a bit) to focus on my family, and it’s empowering to know that I can.  I’m lucky that I’m able to work part-time, and plan to cherish every minute of my days off with my kids.  Knowing me, I’ll also cherish those days where I can immerse myself in adult-speak and work-related problems, because my job is in my blood for better or for worse.  And what a relief it is that I get to have both in my life, in the best kind balance that I can create for myself.

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