Thursday, September 10, 2009

Back at work

I’ve been back at an office job for a week now and am adjusting to
not being around the little one during the day. I’m lucky in that so
far, I’ve been able to hold firm at 8.5 hours a day, I live with
bicycling distance of work (which also allows me to fit in some
exercise that I don’t otherwise have time for), and I have an 80%
schedule, which gives me one weekday per week to attend to other life

Though the first two weeks have been particularly stressful, since
they have been combined with the purchase of our first home, so far
the balance is going well.

I’m also lucky in that my employer is fairly flexible with the hours,
as long as they get put in. So I’m experimenting to see what works
best for us. Going in early and getting off early gives me a big chunk
of time with River in the late afternoon/evening and an easier
commute. It also makes for a very long day for me.

One of the greatest challenges so far is trying to ensure equity
between Mark and I. Even though I’m new on the job, I still feel like
I’m putting in a lot more hours of work/childcare/household related
tasks than he is. I’ve talked to him about it and we’re working on
it. He’s offered to pay for additional hours of childcare himself
since his schedule is less flexible at the moment. But still, in that
respect, it’s a bit rough at the moment and I hope we’ll find some
type of balance that works for us both.

River seems to be adapting to the changes. When I come home, I do
notice that he wants my full attention. No leaving him to play while I
make dinner or check email. He wants full-on attention for a good
hour after I get home. He also likes to direct this time, which he is
getting better at doing. So we cuddle, wrestle, read books, play
games, or go outside for a walk, as he decides.

Other than that apparent need for some intense quality time when I
get home, he hasn’t changed much.

There are some challenges to a more rigid schedule and to being
supervised, but overall, I’d have to say that I like it. No, I can’t
hug River in the middle of the day, nor can I easily find time to go
meet a contractor or have coffee with a friend. But I am WAY more
productive. And I find it refreshing to be only around adults for 34
hours a week, in a comfortable and professional atmosphere, talking
about intelligent things, and learning a lot in the process. As much
as I like the ability to work from home occasionally, it’s really
refreshing to not only not be able to address household tasks in
between my work tasks, but since out of sight is pretty much out of
mind, I spend a lot less time thinking about them. That has been

I also feel more like an adult, more like a whole person, in being
able to leave parenting behind and pursue things that develop me as a
person, plus bring in income for the family.

So that’s worldmomma back to work after 1.5 weeks. We’ll see how it
goes when the novelty wears off.

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