Sunday, April 01, 2007

An emotional return to work

I go back to work tomorrow. I’ve got mixed feelings.

  • Sad – Because I know I’ll miss some of Minnow’s firsts (she rolled over on Friday! Months ahead of schedule!). Because in the past few weeks I’ve kind of gotten into the groove of staying at home with her – started to really enjoy the afternoons taking walks, playing on the floor, napping, and reading. I’m not sure what sort of rhythm will develop when I am working part-time, especially since I’ll also be needing to do some work while I am at home with her.
  • Happy – There have been times these past few weeks when my world has felt a bit, well, small. Like last week when I spent an afternoon at the office and realized how out of the loop I was and how my colleagues were talking about meetings and grants and all I could say was that Minnow had started to bat at things.
  • Frustrated – The prospect of sunny afternoons chained to the computer making endless Excel files and graphs when I could be out walking with Minnow and the Princess Pup – or at least in our sunny living room. Somehow the nitty gritty aspects of my job suddenly seem less appealing – almost unimportant. (It probably doesn’t help that it is spring.)
  • Excited – to be re-engaging with that portion of my brain that enjoys science. I’m glad I’ve kept up with email and attending meetings here and there. It’ll be nice to do more critical thinking than just planning when I am going to run errands and how badly we really need carrots for Princess Pup.
  • Worried – Will Fish and ScienceGrandma be able to calm her down when she’s really upset? Will Fish let her be passive and watch TV? Will my mom let her cry it out?
  • Nervous – Will she continue to take a bottle? Will my milk supply change with pumping? Will we have enough milk ready for any given day? Will routine bottle feeding throw off our breast feeding rhythm?
  • Anxious – We all procrastinate. The average American worker goofs off ~2 hours per day. I can be pretty good at it too (but mostly less than average) – blogging, blog reading, ovusoft bulletin boards, craigslist, email to friends, chatting with SuperWoman and NewGirl. If I am only working part time, I’ll have to figure out how to scale back my non-productive periods (especially because I’ll need pumping breaks too) so that I am actually accomplishing something every time I sit down to work.
  • Curious – Can research be done on a part time basis? Will I continually feel pressure to work more time? Will that pressure come from myself or others? Will I manage to get things done on time? Will I ever read a journal article again? Will I ever get the third dissertation chapter revised and submitted or do anything with that other hard earned dissertation data?
  • Enormously relieved – That I have a generous and understanding boss and colleagues; that I will only being working part time and will still have part of most days with my precious baby; that I have the flexibility and resources to work at home sometimes or to change my work hours as needed (mostly); and that Minnow will be in the arms of her loving family until she is at least a little older.


Amelie said...

Good luck! I hope there'll be more positive than negative things for you in the next weeks and months. And I'm very interested in what you find out about whether/how part-time science is possible.

Sarda Sahney said...

I am sure your transition to work will go well, good luck!

Writer Chica said...

deep breath, one day at a time. will you be able to do some yoga too? take care, talk to you soon

Veo Claramente said...

I don't think I have ever read a better summing up of all the conflicting emotions of dealing with motherhood and work/ambition. Good luck to you, I am sure both you and your family will do well.

jo(e) said...

You summed this up well.

I hope things are going okay ....

saxifraga said...

Good luck with the transition. Hope it works out well.

Flicka Mawa said...

This is a great post. One of the things that I love most about the blogosphere and the community that I hope to join is the honesty, particularly about sensitive issues like motherhood and gender.

Anonymous said...

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