Last week my life changed.
I don’t mean that in an “I’ve had a crazy awesome epiphany way” (for once). I mean it literally. Last week my life as I’ve known it for the past 4 years…changed.
I went back to work.
People who don’t know me personally probably need some backstory here: For the past few years, my husband has been working at a computer game company (he’s an insanely talented artist..do a Google image search for “Matthew Goodmanson art” sometime and see what I mean). But at the end of March he left his regular office job to work from home on a contract basis.
He needed a break from work, and I (I hate to admit this) needed a break from full-time Mama-ing, so we agreed that he would stay home with Xander and I would go back to working temp assignments like I did when I was pregnant.
I started my first assignment on Wednesday. And it was FAR more difficult than I’d expected.
The work itself wasn’t much more difficult than I had expected (although I had to learn a TON that first day). It’s the emotional strain I hadn’t considered. You don’t even want to know how much I cried that first day. I cried when Matthew and Xander dropped me off, I broke down sobbing on my cell phone at lunch, I cried after work, and I cried before bed. I don’t know if anyone noticed, but I actually cried a little bit during work as well.
I wasn’t just crying because I missed my kid (I did) or that the work was intimidating (it was). In hindsight, I think I was crying because I didn’t know how to process what was happening. It was the biggest change I’d been through since I became a mama—which, incidentally, made me cry in exactly the same way for a number of weeks. It felt huge and scary, and I didn’t know how to handle it.
Things got better. No more crying after that first day. But the tears have been replaced with…I don’t know…malaise. Something’s shifted since the last time I did this. I can’t really explain it in any way other than saying that I feel exactly the way your feet feel when you’ve been wearing sneakers and flats for years and then try to go out in heels. I’m trying to be a person I’m not, wearing a costume (because what is “business attire” if not a costume?) so I can fit in. I feel wobbly and uncomfortable and all wrong. I feel like I’m from another planet or something. I don’t like the way this feels AT ALL.
I don’t remember feeling this way before. And I can’t tell if this is growing pains or something more permanent. I think that I assumed that when I went back to work, things would go back to the way they were when I was pregnant and temping, that I would settle into the rhythm and be 100% OK with everything. And maybe I will…I’m only 3 days in, after all, and I’ve been at home for almost 4 years…it just doesn’t feel like it’ll be OK from here. And I don’t know if I want it to be…
I’m in SUCH a weird space right now…off-balance, adjusting, while simultaneously feeling like I don’t WANT to adjust. I’m trying to remember that I’m not in this forever, that things will sort themselves out, that I can still be ME and work toward my dreams even when I’m working an office job (lots of people do it, right?!).
There are some good things. I’m finding that my priorities are clarifying in the face of this change. I’m learning that when I’m at home, I need to do my Right Work with super-intense focus and efficiency, or it doesn’t get done at all. This would be why you barely heard from me last week (it’s a learning process) but I assume that (eventually) learning to do my work efficiently and intensely will be a good thing in the end. And I’m cherishing every minute with Xander, even when I end up being the puke-catcher and cleaner-upper all weekend (he caught a tummy bug…blech).
I’m struggling to regain my balance in the middle of a whirlwind of change. I don’t have a solution or a Grand Plan or anything really conclusive yet. But I can tell you this: here and now I make a commitment—
~to hang on to my dreams with both hands
~to make use of every moment I have
~to work with laser intensity and rest/play with equal intensity when I’m done
~to dance as much as I can
~to keep an eye open for opportunities
~to remember that this change will help me get where I need to go, even if it’s just by shaking things up and reminding me of what’s important.
And what’s most important to me is this: