Dipping a Toe Back In

I know that a lot of the writing here has been a lot more focused on the high chairs than the high heels lately. Now that I’m entering year three of stay-at-home-mom status, as opposed to professional titled with benefits status, the heels are spending a lot more time in the closet. That, in and of itself, has been a hard adjustment for me. I wonder if I’m losing some part of myself. I used to scoff at what this non-employed gap would look like on my resume, and now I can see it – in black and white – and it scares me.

It scares me because I see the gap getting larger. We want more kids. Peanut’s getting more and more independent and as horrible as a transition as it would be for me emotionally, I could see him doing just fine in a pre-school or other child care arrangement if I were working. But new kids means I’d want to be home. That’s time that I feel blessed to have had with peanut and I’m honestly not ready to give that up.

What seemed like such an easy temporary career “lapse” is now a looming large reality of what the heck am I going to do later? I always knew I would go back at some vague point in the future. That point still looks very vague, and I think that’s what’s freaking me out a little bit.

Enter: the lunch. On a day when I was letting that big hairy spider weave me around the world wide web, I had come across an event of a professional organization I used to be a member of. An event that piqued my interest as a PR executive and a blogger. After writing about it and, as a result, getting the generous offer from a neighbor friend to watch peanut so I could go, I signed up.

I ironed an outfit that matched, put on a belt, high heels and earrings, dropped the peanut off and headed to lunch. I ended up at a sort of out of the way table with just a few other seat mates, passed the bread, took a deep breath and waited. While I was sipping my tea, it came around to me: the dreaded “And where do you work?” question. Luckily, my PR background kicked into high gear and I heard myself try to make me sound interesting, realizing as I was talking that I was afraid to admit that I was much more of a stay-at-home-mom than the freelance PR executive (although I did get my dad that hit in the local paper!) I was painting myself to be. Then, I threw in, because it was related to the luncheon topic, that I was a blogger.

Someone asked where I blogged. When I answered, a lovely woman sitting next to me said, “I’ve read it.” WHAT?! Trust me when I tell you that this woman is in no way related to or living in a one mile radius of me. She even described the post she’d stumbled across. I believe I blushed. Hard. And did a little raise the roof happy dance inside my head (okay, I’m still doing the happy dance).

It turned my mood around. I gained confidence. I learned some interesting things about the challenges these individuals were facing in the social media space. I listened to the panel with a much more strategic and critical ear than I may have had I stayed in my meek, I’m not worthy, this is just interesting but not pertinent mindset. I came away with ideas. I came away with a bit more direction than I went in.

It felt good. It turned me on. Not in *THAT* way, but it turned something back on inside. Some part of me that has taken a back seat for a long time. It may still ride in the back seat for awhile, but at least now I know it’s still there and can ask it for directions every now and then.

Totally worth pulling those black Joan & David’s (that make any outfit feel fantastic) out of the closet in the middle of the day.

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4 thoughts on “Dipping a Toe Back In

  1. I’ve been home almost 4 years now. I was feeling very much what you’re feeling now this time last year…and by coincidence I met up with a colleague for lunch and ended up taking a project home with me. The next couple of months were the toughest for me in the longest time. Working from home, balancing it with my time with the toddler and my Grade 2 son. But exhilerating. I met a tight timeline, got respect from my colleague and some clients from overseas…and my self-confidence back. For now, working from home is the only way for me. I now know I can do it. (I say this with nervousness as a couple of big work things happen for me this month!).But hey, I’ve just picked up some heels for my efforts – come by and check it out some time!Excellent post!

  2. Great post!I think I’ve tried every arrangement in the book, trying to balance work and family. It’s very difficult! It seems to me that every time I get fired up on the work front, something happens on the home front to stop the momentum (e.g., school vacations, sick child, holiday or occasion, etc.). I’ve reached the conclusion that for me, working from home is the most difficult, least rewarding family-work solution.Networking events can be a complete waste of time–or can progress at a snail’s pace–so it’s nice to hear that you got something good out of one!

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