Ten years ago I started out bright eyed and bushy tailed and ready to make my way in the world of HR. I worked the crazy hours, did the long commutes and got some crazy stories out of it and made some amazing friends and was challenged in my job to do more/be more/give more of me. And it all worked fine for a long time. Or at least I made it work fine. Even after baby # 1 came along. Even when my husband was living in one state 5 days a week and I was in another and I was a full time parent alone and a full time mom alone. I made it work. I wasn’t the best me, I wasn’t the best mom, and I probably wasn’t the best employee at times, but I made it work. Because I had to and because that’s what I was trained to do. Move forward, work, try harder.
Then we moved across the world with my husband while I was very pregnant and my professional life sort of hit a speed bump. My career that had so often taken, if not a driver’s seat in life, at least a strong passenger seat, was suddenly left behind in the rear-view mirror. I had to look ahead for a new me that wasn’t defined in large part by what I did outside the home for work. I had to look within and look to my community. And at times that was enough. At others it wasn’t. Sometimes it was frankly mind numbingly boring. And sometimes it was hilarious, sometimes it was so lonely, weird, or surreal. And yet others it was absolutely perfect.
Now I’m back from my time overseas and I’m working on re-entering the work force. Honestly it’s scary. Who will want a HR Manager with a resume that’s 2 ½ years out of date? Will my skills translate to today’s market? Will I even get a call? What am I willing to sacrifice to get a job (how many hours away, how long a commute, how far backwards will I have to step or conversely how much extra work will I have to take on, do I dare ask for flexibility and potentially risk a job if it does come along?) All these questions swim through my head like so many sharks nibbling away at my confidence as I look at job postings. And part of me says “To heck with it, I’ll stay at home, this is all too darned hard.” And part of me is all “YAY, something new, actual verbal adults to talk to and challenge me to use my skills outside of mommy-ness!”
But most of me is just scared. Scared of the unknown, and of the known. I’m not a rookie, all bright eyed and bushy tailed; I’m a veteran. I’ve done the working mom thing; I know the challenges and I know the changes that are coming. Of the juggling act I’ll resume one of these days that involves being mom, wife AND employee. Of missing so many little things with my daughter and son that I take for granted now that I know will once again get lost in the mad rush out the door to catch the train and the mad dash for pick up, and the homework and all the rest of it.
I don’t know the answers right now but I know from talking to friends I’m not alone. That this sensation of being on the brink of something great or terrifying is pretty common to us mom’s returning to the work force. It frustrates me to realize how far we still have to go as a society to making a better place for working moms and it also makes me want to work that much more to show my daughter it IS all possible to do (even if in the back of my mind I wonder, “Is it really?”). So to all my fellow moms out there standing at the edge of the brink, wondering what’s next, know I’m with you and I’m holding out a hand of solidarity to whoever takes the plunge back into the pool.
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