Tuesday, August 9, 2011

My new office

After being on maternity leave for five months (God bless California), today is my first day back to work... except that I didn't go.

I gave my notice a couple weeks ago. I’m not going back to work. Instead I’m going to take a crack at being a stay-at-home-mom. My last official day on the payroll is August 22. Between now and then I will wrap up a few things from home, such as writing up a job description for my replacement. Then that’s it.

I admit I’m having a bit of an identity crisis. I had so many creative outlets in my role as an employment brand manager. I got to create interactive websites and fun videos. I got to play around in social media and build campaign strategies. I was part of a community called “Innovation Catalysts,” which really is as cool as it sounds.

I received almost daily affirmations in my job. People always said things to me like, “Mel, you’re so creative. Can I ask your opinion on this?”  To each other, they would say, “Ask Mel about that. She always has good ideas.” I put my talents to use, accomplished things, and felt proud of my contribution.

My new job is MUCH harder. As Mommy, I have a hard time getting anything accomplished. I’m that SAHM who doesn’t have time to cook or clean. I don’t have the same level of confidence in my skills in this new role, and I have no idea what I’m doing the majority of the time. This job is twenty-four hours a day, not eight. I lose more sleep in this job than in any job I’ve ever had.

So why don’t I go back to work? Because this Mommy job also has more rewards than any job I’ve ever had. I can’t imagine being away from my baby boy that much. I got to be there for his first smile, his first laugh, his first roll across the floor. I want see his first steps and hear his first words. Q and I will get to spend our days in the park and at the beach. We’ll go to Mom & Baby Yoga classes and meet other mommies and their little ones. We’ll play and snuggle and sing and dance. I’ll get to see the world through the eyes of someone who’s seeing it all for the first time. And that makes me proud.

I feel so blessed that I have a choice whether or not to work. I know so many women who wish they could be home with their babies, and they are torn between the office and the family. I appreciate my Hubs who worked hard so that I can stay home if I want to. And I really do want to. Leaving for work every morning would be excruciating. I don’t even want to think about all the hugs I would miss.

At some point, I’ll transition to a WAHM. I’ve always wanted to be an independent contractor and work for myself, so maybe I’ll be ready for that in a few months. I’ll just work part-time from home to start, and when Quinn goes to school, I’ll take on more projects.

But until then, I’ve traded in my cubical for a play mat, my commuter car for a mommy-car, my trousers for yoga pants, and my laptop bag for a diaper bag. My commute no longer takes forty-five minutes to go fourteen miles. Now, I just walk across the hall to the nursery. My new office consists of a giant blue sheet spread across our family room floor where Quinn and I play with his toys, practice rolling over, and sing along with Sesame Street and The Cat in the Hat. This new office is quite a bit messier than my old one, but my new officemate is just too cute for words. 

The dress code in our office is really casual...

... and we have a LOT of fun!

We should really be on one of those best places to work lists. :)