Morass of gray

Kittens – you know I always strive to give you the best of moi. Mais oui, c’est vrai. I work diligently to bring you new, late breaking information and funny tidbits to chew on. Its why you keep coming back for more.

But some topics are just central to the very core here on KT and I just can’t get away from them, no matter how hard I try. Yes, I know you are thinking we will be discussing my show-stopping beauty today. And well, we should, but instead we will focus on more serious matters.

The age-old problem of managing work with babies. Note I said “Managing” and not “Balancing” – you know how we mock pie in the sky notions here on KT. Save the “Balancing” dreams for recent college grads.

SO, managing work and life. Has anyone found the secret yet? Because yours truly is looking for one to help survive the next few weeks. The question is, what will give, and how can I wrestle with what will give?

Here’s the deal. I’ve got a second bday party for my darling daughter on the horizon, we’ll be having 20 adults and 10 sweet little ones chez moi. Then four days later we will be hosting about 12-14 adults for Thanksgiving chez moi. Mixed in there is also my husband’s birthday. Think I can just put a bow on my DD and wish him a “Happy Birthday”? Anyone?

Bueller?

Does that whole “I gave you this child as your gift” line still work two years later? Because I’m willing to suck the life blood out of that line for the next 20 if I can (Note to any husbands reading the blog, this will not suffice as a gift for moi or your wife on her birthday. We get actual gifts. Mine is in March. I accept gifts from anyone. I do not work for a Member of Congress and I do not follow any ethical guidelines on it.)

So – immediately following these large events comes another large event, a rite of passage, if you will. Indeed, darling daughter will be starting preschool. So yours truly will need to be missing quite a bit of work between the orientation, the co-opting requirements of the preschool, and of course just getting her adjusted to suddenly being deposited in a strange place without me or the nanny anywhere in sight. I’m thinking at the very least, I will need to handle dropping her off for the first few weeks, which means I will need to come into work later than usual.

And so, enter work into this scenario. Some might think that the events we are hosting and preschool adjustment, in and of itself, is a full-time job. And I don’t disagree, but I also have a full-time job outside of the home that I need to be held accountable for. Just like you do. I’ve learned to manage the emotions that come with missing work because of childcare duties – frankly you won’t find a guilty bone or ligament in my body because it’s irrelevant when DD needs me.

BUT – that being said – suddenly it seems that we might be part of a large event here at work in the next two weeks. Like of epic proportions and one in which I would be intimately involved in.

So herein lies the rub. The working pre-mom side of me is hungry for these work related things to happen because the learning curve is steep, the excitement is high and the stress would be through the roof. The old me would thrive on this stuff. It’s big league stuff we’re talking about – amazing resume additions and frankly, just great exposure.

But I’m not the pre-mom anymore.

So how, exactly, does one manage your first child’s preschool orientation coinciding on the same day, at the same time, as an epic sized work event in which you would need to be a part of?

Suddenly the black and white lines of duty and responsibility come crumbling down and all I see is a morass of gray.

Life was so simple before I had my baby. Everything was so black and white, I was so practical. There was always a clear-cut solution. Nothing could be further from the truth now and for the purposes of full disclosure, it’s one of the realities of parenthood that hit me the hardest in those early weeks.

I can tell you with absolute honesty that the idea of having any emotional struggle with returning to work after birthing a child truly never dawned on me. Until I had one. It hit me like a ton of bricks, that particular reality.

And so, what will happen? How will I be a part of a major work event and learn from it and be a critical part of the team, and pull off a bday party, hosting Thanksgiving, celebrating husband’s birthday, attending preschool orientation, being present in the classroom on the first day of preschool, and personally handling her drop-off for the first few weeks?

Because I didn’t just graduate from college last week, I’m well aware of the fact that something will give along the way and I’ll have to deal with it. It seems glaringly obvious that I’m going to miss some of the preschool milestones and will do my best to check my mommy guilt at the door with that one.

But more importantly, along the way, I continue to be amazed with how I view myself professionally since having become a mother. There is a big part of me that hopes the major work event dies a quick and sudden death and just goes away, so I can resume my intention of moving forward with all of my plans these next few weeks. The other part of me really wants the work stuff to happen because, well, I still love a challenge and want to learn.

I have no idea what will play out and what will give. Something’s gonna give and it’s anyone’s guess how I’ll feel about it. I’ll be sure to keep you posted. The truth is, I write all this today only because I know everyone one of us who is managing motherhood with careers faces these things all the time and it’s a constant battle. I always like a reminder that I’m not alone in this, so I thought maybe you would too.

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