(Forgive the repost, I am in Raider heaven after a 59-14 pummeling of the Denver Broncos yesterday. I was woozy and simply could not focus on blog material last night! )
We are in the process of hiring a part-time coordinator/sales assistant at my office – and we have been through a plethora of interviewees.
It struck me today, after interviewing a very strong candidate, we all walk our own path throughout our careers. There is no right path, or wrong path – just differing ones. And each path is unique – just like its creator.
The young gal we met today was confident and smart and already has a good job which she really likes, which prompted me to ask, “Why are you leaving Company XYZ?” Seems the number one reason, she has a new baby, and is trying to create balance between work life and home life.
She also realizes that “baby time” is very fleeting and she wants to be “present” for her new family and not at an office 40+ hours a week.
I began to daydream, right there in the middle of the group interview, wishing I would have worked less when my baby was small.
I envy this young mother. She knows the right path for herself, and intends to take it.
Over the years, I often felt envious of my friends who were able to stay home with their growing families. Unfortunately, it seems we were never in a strong enough financial place for me to have that same choice.
Although, I do recall while out on maternity leave with an infant, a kindergartner and first-grader, it was a whole lot of work! And going “back to work” (at the time) almost seemed like a respite.
I returned to work when my baby was only six- weeks old. It was awful.
Of course, nothing is as painful as the very first drop off. I bawled my eyes out that first morning. I remember it as clearly as if it were yesterday.
And guess what? He was with his grandma for daily care!
So why was I so buggered?
Everyone kept telling me, “Oh, you’re so lucky to leave your baby with your mom.”
And all I could think was,”Yeah, great, but it’s not ME!!” I began to feel envious of my mother and all the time she got with my baby.
To stay (home) or to go (back to work) are hard decisions – and decisions that each and every new mom (and dad) needs to make for themselves.
If I can impart any advice to a new mother I would say, “You need to do what feels right for you, and what works best for your family. Don’t compare yourself to your neighbor. Everyone walks their own path.”
And if I have learned anything after nearly 17 married years and 15 parenting years – it’s that you need to do what feels authentic for you – and the grass is most certainly NOT greener on the other side (although it may appear to be so.)
My career path has been challenging and exciting and oh-my-God-I-think-I-am-going-to-pull-every-hair-out-of-my-head-if-I-have-to-go-back-to-that-office-for-one-more-day.
I am thankful for my job at the Magnet Factory, that allowed me varied hours when my kids were smaller – leaving me available for fun after-school events that for years I missed.
I was also glad for the travel afforded with this same job – as not only did it allow perfect work/mommy-alone-time, but while mommy was away, daddy made shit happen!
After returning home from a week long trip, I was met at the door with the proud announcement, “No more sippy cups!” Apparently there was a huge “going-away” party, loaded with pomp and circumstance for every sippy cup in our house.
And everything was status quo until I showed up. Then suddenly the need for a sippy cup came screaming back. Literally.
We didn’t cave – we held a brave and united front on the surrender of the sippy cup.
Another time, while away for a week, daddy was 100% responsible for potty training the 3 year old. I returned to a diaper-free zone!! And you know what? He NEVER had an accident. Not once. Daddy must have had some secret weapon.
He never told me.
I never asked.
Moral of the story – careers and families warrant a creative balancing act. And finding the perfect balance is not only an ever-changing act of mastery, but one that we are constantly evaluating and refining.
And when you look back – do not let regret be a word used to describe your journey.
As you can see, it was very hard for me to be away from home – slaving away on the road.