I knew that becoming a parent would mean a total shift in priorities. But I didn't know that my priorities would shift quite so much. It's a pretty profound change. And I've been muddling through - mulling some thoughts over for some time now. But the opportunity to put some of those thoughts in action recently surfaced. I took that opportunity.
Those of you who follow this blog know that I've been struggling a bit with the whole work/life/mommy balance thing. I don't think there's a Mom out there who doesn't struggle with this. Returning to work after maternity leave was really difficult for me. And though I thought it would get better, it really didn't. As part of my return to work plan, I had arranged to work from home for three months before returning to my 50 minute, one-way commute two or three times a week. I agreed that I would come into the office from time to time for important meetings. Well, from time to time has actually turned out to be every week sans one. And sometimes a couple of times a week. I'm actually glad that it happened that way. No, I'm not a glutton for punishment, but rather, it made me realize sooner rather than later that this wasn't going to work. Not anymore. I guess I was a bit naive to think that it would. The fact of the matter is that I dread those days I go into the office. I hate that it takes me 50 minutes - minimum - to get from my front door, to my desk at work. One way. Throw in traffic or weather, or bad timing, and I'm screwed. One evening last summer it took me three hours to get home. As I sat in traffic that would not move, I said to myself over and over again that this was not the reason why we relocated from Washington, DC to Colorado. A shorter commute was top on our list of reasons for getting out of the city. Off the East Coast. Yet, I sat there idling on the I-25. What's worse, is it wasn't even a good day at work that day. If I remember, it was a pretty crappy one.
Now, with a baby at home, the thought of getting stuck like that again makes me physically ill. I hate - to my core - the feeling that if something happened to Abbey while I was at work, it would take me at least an hour to get to her. Ugh. Just typing that bothers me. My return to work and this transition period has shown me that I needed to make a change. A recent exchange with my boss about priorities and needing to be in the office more often, and for many evening events throughout the summer, and shifting priorities in the office was the real nail in the coffin. Time to find something else.
The thing is, I know that I need to work. I'm very career motivated. Always have been. It's part of who I am. And though I have those mixed feelings every time I leave the house, once I'm on a task at work and focused, it all melts away a bit. It's sort of a way of reconnecting with myself, I guess. I feel a little guilty admitting that. But I can't deny that I enjoy what I do, and money doesn't grow on trees. So, becoming a stay-at-home mom - as appealing as the idea may be some days - isn't a realistic option for me. Time for a career change, then.
That's exactly what I did.
I'm happy to announce that I've accepted a new job. Still in the arts, but in the visual arts. Museum world, to be exact. But I'll be working in Denver. My commute will go from 50 minutes to 15. 20 on the tough days. And I'll still work from home from time to time as needed. It comes with a significant pay increase, great benefits. And over this first summer, I'll be part time, giving me a whole extra day with our daughter.
I'm not as much the 9 to 5 kind of girl that I was before. I relish in stolen moments with Abbey. Or to sneak off for lunch with the hubs. I used to really identify myself by my job. Not so much now. I'm a wife and a mother and that comes first. And because of that, I made a change. That change - I hope - I think - will bring some peace to me and our little family.