I've said many times since August how the arrival of one tiny little person has brought such incredible and multi-layed change to my life. Where my days before the "Beastie" were filled entirely by choices I made for myself regarding what I chose to do and when I chose to do it, my days now are dictated by fulfilling Ella's needs according to Ella's schedule. I feed her 8-9 times a day. I change her diaper at least as many times. I give her baths. I read to her. I talk to her constantly. I take several millions photos of her. And I hold her, and kiss her, and love her. And I wouldn't have it any other way.

But circumstances are such now that I have to straddle both worlds: my pre-baby world, and my current one. A few weeks ago my manager called to tell me that he fired my maternity leave replacement. Apparently, she was a wee bit crazy, horribly incompetant, and, in his words, "not me." So he let her go. And he asked me if I would consider doing some part-time work before I return full-time in December.

The last thing I wanted to do was say yes. My 15 weeks of maternity leave were supposed to be about devoting myself completely to my baby. I wanted nothing to interfere with this, least of all my job. And, if you've been reading here for awhile, you know that my goal now is to quit and stay home with Isabella. It's been my central focus since realizing this to find a way to somehow make this work.

But I told my manager I'd think about it. And I did. A lot. I realized that if I did him this favor (and he made it clear how grateful he would be if I came back), he might be more inclined to return the good deed when I tell him what I want in terms of a schedule when I return full-time in December. So I agreed to come back part-time, as long as I could work my own hours (meaning nights, weekends, and whenever Ella is sleeping), and not have to come into the office, which is also what I'll be proposing to him come December. He was overjoyed and agreed to my terms immediately. So I'm working 16 hours a week now, from home, until December when I return to 40 hours a week.

I've had to go into the office a few times since agreeing to work part-time. I picked up a new laptop they gave me. I dropped off my manager's birthday gift. And it truly feels like I'm walking on another planet. It's the same office. The same people. The same nasty coffee in the kitchen. The same water-stained drop ceiling tiles. My cube is the way I left it as well. It's the same space I spent three days a week in for the past two years. And yet the entire place couldn't have been more irrelevant to me. I didn't feel like I belonged there anymore. It didn't feel like my workspace. It was a completely foreign environment. I felt wholly disconnected.

My connection now is to my baby and to my home. I work for Isabella and my workspace is her nursery, her changing table, and the big yellow chair I feed her in. Every night, after the bean goes to bed, I have to re-enter my former world when I switch on my laptop and work. But my heart isn't in it. And my mind? Isn't in it either. And trying to write marketing copy that's interesting, smart, and attention-grabbing after caring for an infant all day is seriously and completely hard. And draining. And exhausting. All I want is my pillow at 9pm when we put her to bed.

This face is all that's relevant to me now. And somehow I've got to find a way to keep it that way.

6 Responses to “Relevance”

  1. # Blogger sunShine

    She is just adorable. If you can possibly find a way to be at home with her all the time I would do it. This time goes by so fast. You blink and it is gone!  

  2. # Blogger Damselfly

    I agree, it's hard to make work work. It's so nice your boss appreciates your work -- that and the flexibility is something so many working moms hope for in their careers! I am phasing out my biggest work obligation right now but hope to start a new project after the first of next year.  

  3. # Blogger smashedpea

    I hope it'll work out! And I couldn't have imagined doing any sort of work that early on. I really hope they appreciate this and pay you back when it's your turn to ask.

    And I'm ever so glad I live in a place where you get a year long mat leave!  

  4. # Blogger Marie

    At last, she's properly clothed! ;-)
    (How am I doing at channeling Grandma?)

    I so know what you mean. How many of us are fortunate enough to LOVE our jobs in the first place? And then we give birth to someone that we love like crazy...

    As a co-worker once said to me, as writers we're not finding a cure for cancer, we're just creating tomorrow's landfill... hard for that to compete with caring for your own precious child!  

  5. # Blogger Christine

    Goodness, you must be exhausted.

    In the end you'll figure it all out. But for now, I just want to smoosh her adorable cheeks.  

  6. # Blogger sher

    Of course she's all that's relevant. I love the pictures you send of her. (Oh, I've said that about a million times, right?) I wish you didn't have to do the work, but it is a good thing that your manager appreciates you so much--and that he remembers how nice you were to do this.  

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