Have you ever had one of those moments where you surprised yourself? Not so much in the "I didn't think I could do that, and then I did" way but more in the "I'm this type of person but ohmygod really I like XYZ and never thought I would" way.
Let me explain.
Being a working (at a job other than parenting) mum sucks. There, I said it. Every day is a balancing act between what's best for your babe, you and your family. Every day is different - with Chou gone, sometimes I'm so relieved, am able to re-charge and be a better mum because she's been gone for a few hours. Some days she's so happy to go to care that I don't know if she notices I'm gone. And then there are the days when I think maybe she wants to stay home, or that I want her to stay home. There are the days when I just plain old miss her and would rather be finger painting with pudding rather than talking to some high falutin' CEO.
The reality is, I could stay home full time. We'd manage, we'd be OK. The other reality is that a) Chou would be miserable home with just me full time and b) I'd struggle without some projects to be working on.
But here's what I learned about me this week that shocked the pants off me. The first two insights are courtesy of my husband (he's a smart cookie); the second I realized while hashing out with him my unhappiness with our present situation.
1. I get my energy, drive and enthusiasm from those around me. Ergo (holy shit, did I just use that properly? I did!), working alone for going on two years is snuffing out my spirit, drive and work ethic.
2. It doesn't matter what job I do, I need to have ownership of what I'm doing. Currently, I'd say I have ownership of 50% to 60% of what I do. Not bad, not great.
And here's the kicker:
3. I do best when I'm very busy (not surprising) and WITHOUT A SCHEDULE.
Why is this so surprising? Because I'm an uber planner. Because I love order, symmetry and monotony.
The husband pointed out, from his point of view, when I've been happiest with work and life and really been thriving. It's always been when I was on the go, free to seize moments and opportunities and just do what needed to get done while it needed doing.
Do you see where I'm going with this? No? Me neither. But what I'm coming to realize is that my job is not a great fit. It's a good fit, but not a great fit when balanced with being a momma. Because feeling that I have to be at my desk, at my phone and in front of my computer during office hours is stifling me. I am alone in my house too many hours in a day. Too many.
To balance that, I made rye bread, worked out at lunch and put a lovely dinner on the table for my family. All things I couldn't have done if I had been at the office all day (or would have been bloody difficult to do). And that dinner, that my friends was the best part of my day.
Like many women, my hubby's job is going to dictate where we live, for how long and will have more sway on our standard of living. Presently, he and I make similar coin (similar, not the same), however his earning potential is just that much higher than mine. This I don't mind, however, it's put the whole "career goals" discussion in a much different light.
This is where I get a little selfish. Or not.
If I can't choose and shape my career as a life-long career because of extenuating circumstances, why shouldn't I do what I love to do rather than what brings in the most money?
Our life is always going to be a trade-off. We will move a lot. My job will have to be portable. We're going to be starting from scratch over and over. Most of running our household is always going to be on me. My husband works long hours and travels and that's not going to change.
And a little bit of me feels like the trade off should be that I get to do what I want in my everyday versus what I have to do.
Now, if I could pin down exactly what that is within the confines of a) minimum income needed, b) no less time with Chou and c) is mobile, I'd be ready to pull the rug out from under our lives and shake things up a bit.
Soon, my friends. Soon.