It’s been 2 months since I left work and I find that my thoughts are more fluid than ever. What I haven’t found is the time to write them here. I write a post or two a week in my head. Topics range from home-preschooling to the great cake debacle of 2012, which I’ll get to shortly [Watercake. Fine, you come up with something more clever, k?]. Some days I’d write about how wonderful it is to know about everything that went on in my children’s day, and especially to be a bigger and more active part of it. Other days I’d write about how the mompetition is getting on my nerves – last week at my son’s school Christmas play, I seriously heard two moms arguing over who phoned in their kid’s costume more, while also noting that neither could have spent less than an hour apiece primping and preening themselves before their public appearance.
Last week I had breakfast with my former manager, who I then and now consider a friend. It was invigorating listening to him update me on all the projects I once contributed to, led, or launched. I was happy to hear that things are going well, but it was hard to hear that it’s without me, though we’re in the early stages of putting together a consulting opportunity. In that moment, I kind of missed work, and I left breakfast feeling a little guilty about that, as if I’d indulged in something other than the carbs. And I guess I had. I’d satisfied, briefly, a part of me that I couldn’t turn off as easily as I’d anticipated; the part of me that’s good at working, making money, networking, analyzing, presenting, strategizing. I employ that skill set to my work at home, but there’s somewhat less room for error or spin. If dinner is burned, for example, you can’t get away with calling it blackened when it’s meatloaf. And when the crockpot full of chili performs a circ de soleil show in the back of the car, the potluck is canceled.
Domestic engineering is an acquired skill for me, not an inborn one. Motherhood comes with hormones and instincts [and mother-in-laws] that tell us what to do. But baking and crafting with toddlers? Not so much, at least not for me. Turns out I was much better at business. Still am. I’m getting a surprising amount of interest in my consulting work even though I’ve completely neglected it in recent weeks. It’s tempting sometimes to throw myself back into that world, to give in to my other instincts to climb, achieve, earn. Oh, and Watercake. Ya know, I can’t even talk about it, save to say that my Grandmother is no doubt rolling over in her grave at my desecration of her pound cake recipe this weekend. Sorry, El.
So what’s next?
At two months in, I admit I’m challenged, both with the day to day of being a full time mom, and the struggle between my career self and my maternal self. A while back I wrote about Melissa Mayer, the Yahoo CEO who recently became a mom. I wonder if she’s facing that ages-old struggle as well now that she’s given birth and learned what every mom knows once she’s looked into her child’s eyes. Despite my overwhelming urge to make a judgement on our new family arrangement, it’s difficult to say yet whether we’ve made the right decision. But now that I have the luxury of more time with my boys, the idea of giving it up is heart-wrenching. Maybe there is a middle ground that will satisfy both sides, maybe consulting, or going back once the boys are in school. Meanwhile, I’ll get forensic on my epic pound cake massacre, and oh sh*t, did I just burn the meatloaf again??!!