My personal philosophies have always been pretty far from today's feminist movement, but I surely took the "man's world" bull by the horns right out of college, and I was making things happen for myself. On my own accord, I loved my professional career; making decisions, being creative, managing a budget, traveling the country. It was empowering and exciting and fulfilling. And [in my own eyes at least] I was pretty good at it.
Being pregnant changed things a bit. Distractions, fatigue and pregnancy brain made it more difficult for me to execute my job responsibilities well AND take care of myself.
I cut back my hours when I was five months along. This helped with the personal stuff but made it even harder for me to feel like I was adequately contributing in a full-time paced work world.
After Penny came, maternity leave was, in a word -- sublime. I didn't turn my blackberry on once. Once I got past the whole recovering-from-a-C-Section thing, I spent my days hangin out with Penny, grocery shopping (what a concept), even started a scrapbook -- yeah, ask me how that's going now...
Motherhood Changes You.
Perhaps this is an age old question, but it's all new to me: Does being a dedicated professional have to mean slacking in your motherhood? And conversely, does being a solid, present, available, proactive mother have to mean slacking in your career?
I immediately struggled with this as soon as I went back to work this past October. Rejoining the work force, I was a different person. Living in parallel universes.
About once a week I meltdown. I'm tired and I miss my daughter when I'm at work. I'm tired and I'm overwhelmed with all the domestic things when I'm at home. I know women do it every day, but I don't know how they do both things well. Kudos to all of you out there.
I Needed Work to Change Too.
After admitting to myself that I couldn't go on like that anymore, in December I made a life-changing decision to move my own cheese (reference Who Moved My Cheese?, a wonderful book by Spencer Johnson, M.D. about attitude and accepting change as it comes).
I stepped out of my comfort zone, applied for a different job, and took it when it was offered to me.
The new job will be a complete change of pace. I'll be working for the same company, but in a brand new role. It will be slightly less hours, more flexibility and hopefully a little less stress. With that, I am letting go of some things that I really loved doing, and abandoning the career path that I was on, at least for now. But I am completely stoked about the new team that I am joining. I feel very lucky to have had this opportunity.
This was my last week transitioning out of my old job: working with people I knew well and liked and growing in a role for the last seven and a half years. You would think I would be sad, but the right-out-of-college woman has grown into someone new, and this is the right thing for her. Come Monday, I start fresh.
Please wish me luck and keep me in your thoughts next week!