I know I don't blog anymore. Except...sometimes I just need to get my thoughts down in writing.
My baby is now 5 months old. He is adorable and I really love him, in a way that can't really be described or anticipated until you experience it. He has changed my life more dramatically than any other life event I have ever gone through.
I have been back at work for a few months now. I work part-time these days so that I can still spend a good amount of time with my son, and watch him grow and develop. I think this arrangement is the best for both me and my son. I never really saw myself as the type to want to be home full-time, and I do find that having the break from my baby during the day makes me really appreciate the time I do spend with him. I also really enjoy the intellectual stimulation of my job, getting to interact with adults on a daily basis and feeling like I am more than just a burp cloth ;) And the money and health insurance provided by my employer are helpful also.
My supervisor and other co-workers regularly tell me that they value my work and that they think I am doing a great job. This is despite the days I have to leave on a moment's notice to pick up my baby because he isn't feeling so well at daycare and the mornings I drag myself into work having had very little sleep the night before. But I am dedicated to my job and make sure that whatever I am asked to do gets done within the required time frame (sometimes working from home) and with a high level of quality.
I have an amazing boss and work for a great team. My one gripe with my job is that it is mainly a secretarial-type role, which I would like to grow out of at some point.
Well, here's why I'm writing this post. I was told the other day, that as long as my primary "job" is being a mother, there isn't really room for advancement for me within our department. I am sure this is mainly because of my part-time hours (and in those part-time hours, I do the work of a full-time employee), but that wasn't the reason given. And while I don't have my head stuck in the sand, I was still a little taken aback by that. Mainly, I think, because I've never encountered so obviously the whole "you can't have it all" phenomenon. And I don't know how to take it.
Conversely, I was having a conversation with someone the other day and I mentioned how much my baby looks like my husband and how I'm a little jealous of that. Her response was that my husband needed that to bond with our baby, and I didn't, because I am such a natural mother. But the thing is, I don't feel like a natural mother. It took me a little while to really bond with my baby. And while I adore him, I still have moments where I don't know what to do with him or how to interact with him, or I just want to be able to sit down and read a book uninterrupted. Or have a little time to myself, without having to think about him. To be really, really honest, I can't wait until he grows up a bit and I can have a conversation with him. The baby stage is cute but I find it really hard and intense.
Which I think is why the comment about my job prospects stung a bit. Because I feel like I kind of flounder around being a mother (I'm ok, but don't feel like the natural my friend attributed to me) and then, because of my floundering mother status, I'm being held back in the other area that I actually do feel like I'm good at.
I think it also stings because being a working mom is SO hard. I juggle so many responsibilities and feel like I have to be good at all of them. Job, baby, cleaning, cooking, laundry, shopping, leisure time. So many balls to juggle at once. And to be told that, because I'm juggling all those balls, I'm being held back. Which, by the way, I don't have so much choice about - I think my working is important for many, many reasons - and, as a woman and mother, I don't have an option to leave behind the mom role like a man can. So I guess I was a little stung to hear that because I had a child and want to be a decent mother to him, I made the implicit decision to leave a career behind and stay stuck in a role that I feel I could easily move past.
I don't at all regret my decision to have a child - it has incredibly enriched my life and I can't imagine not having my son. I guess I just wish that women had an easier role in this world.