Thursday, November 30, 2017

Grace Under Pressure

It’s hard to believe that I’m already on the home stretch of my maternity leave, but somehow, in the whirlwind that my life has become, almost eight weeks have gone by since the baby was born. I’ll be going back to work on a very part-time basis this month, transitioning back to full-time starting in January, and I’m having a lot of feelings about it.

Hearts and Found Grace dress

On one hand, I absolutely love where I work. When I took the baby out of our neighborhood for the first time since her birth and drove past my workplace, I got legitimately excited to see it again. I’d happily stay in Chicago and work there for the rest of my life. While I was out on leave, I got a bit of a promotion, and I’m looking forward to settling into my new role and returning to my regular schedule of Getting Stuff Done.

Part of me also feels that it's my duty to model egalitarian marriage for my daughter by keeping a job that means a lot to me, and allows me to share the burden of providing for our family. And on a happier, less fraught note, I'm excited to bring her in to meet all the amazing women with whom I work, so she can see how many possibilities are open to her.

But on the other hand, going back to work means putting my baby in daycare, something that nobody in my mother’s family has ever done with their children. It’s one thing to know on an intellectual level that balancing children and a career is difficult, but confronting that reality? It’s a tough pill to swallow.

I already feel piles of senseless guilt over all the time I’ll spend working instead of raising the baby, even though everyone in our family is better off if I have a fulfilling, stable job. I’m worried about all the things I’ll miss, terrified to have people I don't know look after my fussy, perfect little girl, and almost derelict in my duties to give her the best possible start in life by teaching her about the world myself.

Because I tend to think in quotes, song lyrics, and the occasional cliche, I keep going back to a line from the end of Lord of the Rings, one that's resonated with me since my Los Angeles days. Frodo tells Sam "You cannot always be torn in two. You will have to be one and whole for many years. You have so much to enjoy, and to be, and to do." After a few years in LA, I knew I'd never again have all the important people and parts of my life in one place. And while I'd gotten used to it, the baby has changed the game yet again.

But just as Sam does, I too have so much to enjoy, and such a beautiful road ahead of me. So let the balancing act begin. Here's hoping I can borrow from the name of this vibrant Hearts and Found dress, and do it with grace.

Follow this blog on:

1 comment:

  1. Lovely flowers on a lovely gal! Oh I can't even IMAGINE the things you are feeling. I often think of that - what will I do when I have my babies? I'd love to do what my mother did and stay home with them until they're old enough to go to school but these days? I don't know if that is possible! You deserve to keep your job that you love so much! P will be so proud of her independent and strong mummy!!