Back.

I’m back, kids.

Back to work.

Back to blogging.

Back to writing ranty posts about whatever weird crap occurs to me.

So far, so good. It has been two whole days, so we’ll see. But I think it’ll be okay. I think….

My first day was strange. You see, my team decided to have an all-day strategy offsite. Rather than a slow start with my inbox and a cup of coffee, I got hours of presentations and brainstorming sessions. And you know what? I kinda loved it. I’m one of those rare folks who really does love their job. I was worried this would be overwhelming, but I think it may have been the perfect way to start. It reminded me of what I find exciting about my work.

That said, there was the usual inanery on display. You know… the superficial stuff that happens in all workplaces everywhere. I would be lying if there weren’t times I thought “I left my baby for this bullshit?”

During a breakout session, the head of my unit came over. Asked me how I was, thanked me for coming to the meeting, etc. He said “I love your comments today. You’re already thinking about this business differently.” What I didn’t tell him is that I’ve been thinking these things all along– the difference is that Mama Ostrich doesn’t have time for bullshit anymore. So instead of silently filing away my grievance, I’m belting it out like Aretha. (This is, apparently, one of the side effects of motherhood for me. I really have no patience for stupid shit, and I now say it out loud.)

My workplace is very parent friendly. My boss has already said that my family comes first. Like he pulled me aside, stared me straight in the eye and said it. There are fully equipped mother’s rooms where I can pump in peace. In addition, there is a full cafeteria, an onsite gym, and chair massages. All free to employees, all day, every day. I’m really very lucky. I mean honestly, I’m almost embarrassed that I’m conflicted about coming back to work, because where I work sounds like some goddamn Disneyland.

And yet…

So far I haven’t cried (a lot.) I haven’t cried during drop off. I haven’t cried during the day. I got super weepy when I came home last night though. I just missed him so terribly, and seeing Chick made me realize just how much. He is this awesome little person, you know?

And yet…

I know myself. I know I couldn’t stay home with Chick, no matter how much I love him. After months of dedicating myself to his needs 24/7, I like that I’m able to focus on things important to me (and only me.) Selfish? Meh… I don’t see it that way. Being engaged in my work makes me a better person. I’m not curing cancer (far from it) but I want Chick to know me as someone who takes pride in her work, who strives for things, who sometimes fails but always gets up and goes at it again the next day. That’s what being back at work means to me. I hope one day he gets that.

I’m back, ladies and gentlemen.

There are a whole lot of things I didn’t explore in this post, including but not limited to:

  1. I don’t think I’m better than someone who stays home with their child. I don’t think I’m worse. It’s a different path with a different set of challenges and rewards. That’s it.
  2. As much as I’m glad to be back at work, I would like to point out that this isn’t just for personal reward. There is a very real financial need for me to return to work. For better or worse, I’m the proverbial breadwinner so my income is important to my family’s survival. Sometimes going back to work for mothers isn’t about a choice- it is about providing safe, stable homes for their families.
  3. I’m super privileged. I know that. GOOD GOD, do I know that. So many mothers and fathers don’t work for organizations that are as supportive as mine. That sucks. I’m still very angry at the state of parental leave in the US and the general attitude toward “work-life balance” being only an issue for the ladies. It’s such bullshit, it makes my brain boil.

But I didn’t explore these things. Because.

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11 comments

  1. My Perfect Breakdown · October 20, 2015

    I am so excited to see that you are back to posting. 🙂 I’m also glad that your transition back to work has been going well and that you work for such a family friendly organization. And I love your perspective on the whole work and mommy stuff. I expect to be much like you in that I will be working partially because I want to and partially because we will need my income (too bad international adoption isn’t more affordable).

    • thecommonostrich · October 21, 2015

      It’s been an interesting transition. People tend to assume that I want nothing more than to stay at home, which is just too simplistic for my tastes. For me at least, it wasn’t such a difficult choice to make. I love my kid, and I love my job. I want to make room for both of them because they are both important. Instead of perfect, I’m striving for “the best I can do.”

  2. Katie · October 20, 2015

    I don’t think your own personal ambitions change when you have a baby. Some people want to stay home and some people don’t. If you’re lucky enough to have a choice that’s great but like you said, many don’t. All that being said I’m glad you’re back blogging and congratulations!!! I think I missed an announcement post so will go and have a look over your blog now 🙂

    • thecommonostrich · October 21, 2015

      THANK YOU. I’ve always been an ambitious person in my own way. Why would this change because I gave birth to a tiny human? (Not to imply that SAHMs aren’t ambitious, but you know what I mean…) Yes, being a parent changes you. For me at least, it has been an issue of degrees of change, not a full on personality switch. I get a little miffed when people assume that I should be an entirely different person than who I was before. If I wasn’t a Suzy Homemaker before, why this insistence that I would be one now?

      I don’t blame you for not noticing my announcement. Since Chick was born early and spent some time in the NICU, my announcement was without a lot of fan fare. It was a crazy, chaotic time, so I think I posted two weeks after he was born. The post itself may also have been complete nonsense. 😉

      • Katie · October 21, 2015

        Oh I agree. I thought I’d be back at work but I got made redundant during maternity leave and then Hubby worked away blah blah so I stayed at home. I thoroughly enjoyed it don’t get me wrong but I’ve continued to study, blog and do other things that take my interest. I’ve always worked so not earning my own money was a really difficult transition and one I still struggle with but I know how lucky I am to get to be able to stay at home. I just remind myself of that when I get jelly at my working friends. I think any newborn stage is fairly chaotic! You did well to keep posting 🙂 I hope Chick is okay now, NICU must have been a really scary time x

  3. Jenny F. Scientist · October 20, 2015

    I read somewhere that most mothers would prefer to work part time! Which could be anywhere from 4-30 hours a week, you know? I’ve done it all the ways at this point. I’ve worked full time with an infant, stayed home, and worked part time with both toddlers and infants. So actually-not that you asked!- what gets my personal goat is the assumption that whatever is happening is going to be forever. Some people take a two year maternity leave! Some people work full time for their kids’ whole lives! Some people stay home until the youngest goes to kindergarten! (My mother. The idea gives me HIVES as it was 12 years. OMG I could not.) And people go through stages! And it’s OKAY!

    Ahem. Anyhow.

    As for work life balance, I also want socialized health care and a penalty free parental leave for all parents. Bah, humbug, America.

    • thecommonostrich · October 21, 2015

      Also true. There is no one way to get this work and parenting job thing done. And one solution may not work forever. In my brief period as a parent, I realize that the key is improvisation. That comes with techniques to keeping a baby from wailing its tiny face off to figuring out how to build a life that includes some kind of employment.

      Funny (and true!) story: one of my co-workers from the UK office asked me if it was hard to re-acclimate after my time off.

      ME: Oh, not too bad. I’ve only been out a few months.
      HER: Right! I forgot- in the UK, you get a year. This way it’s so easy for you to catch up!

      Way to glass-half-full the situation, dear co-worker…

  4. Elizabeth · October 21, 2015

    Lady, you sound great! I love it. I was beginning to think all bloggers who had babies turned into beings who could only post about milk supply and being chained to their babies. Honestly, it was making me despair. 😉

  5. thecommonostrich · October 21, 2015

    Why thank you! I really was expecting more angst on my part, but so far so good. No need to despair- it is possible to be a human being AND a parent!

  6. labmonkeyftw · October 21, 2015

    Hurrah for next steps – everything is a transition in this stage, it seems, but I’m glad this one has gone mostly smoothly. I’m also glad your limited patience has lead to a more assertive Ostrich – your workplace can only benefit from this, I think!

  7. AdoptiveBlackMom · October 22, 2015

    “(This is, apparently, one of the side effects of motherhood for me. I really have no patience for stupid shit, and I now say it out loud.)” <<<<<<<<<<<<This. Right. Here. Yassssssss! 🙂 Glad to see you're back and that the transition is going well.

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