I was so excited to hear the news that I cracked a beer at 10:45 am. As of right this very second I can start working my regular hours (two days a week, plus a little extra handful) with my favorite and largest freelance client. Seriously. So. Excited. To go to work! To go to work? Wait a minute, what the hell?
This from the same person who went to great lengths to escape the 9 to 5 working world, to free up time for what really matters—time itself. Without work I’ve got nothing but time, time with my family, time to sit outside and watch the squirrels, time to go on long walks, time to read a fuck ton of books. It is absolutely priceless and lovely. But now I am a mom and everything has changed.
Yeah, yeah, cliche blah blah blah, everything is so different once you have kids etc. But I don’t mean what you might think I mean—I don’t mean that now I see some sort of new meaning in life in the eyes of my baby, though I’m not saying that I don’t. What I mean is that now I have a all-new, never-before-seen-on-tv appreciation for what it means to have the chance to get the hell out of the house for 20 hours a week. Twenty hours a week! Of challenging work, brain work, adult conversations, and no baby hanging on my leg or wanting to be cuddled or nursed or tootled or doodled or anything. People will still want things from me at the office, but they are adult things, things that don’t make my brain feel like it has gone moldy. I will be able to just get up and go to the bathroom whenever the hell I want. Ha! Ha I say! Deprivation redefines the meaning of luxury.
I’m not saying that I don’t love my baby and dote on her when I’m with her, put all my energy into taking care of her when I can. I’m saying that it is a huge relief to know that I will have 20 whole hours a week off from that. I love that she needs me and revel in our relationship, but having grown up in (ie been conditioned by the values of) America—a place that values independence above just about everything else, including human life—I have a real hard time being so social 24 hours a day, so selfless and there for other humans. I wish I didn’t, and I think that if I had grown up in a different culture I might not feel this way. But I did, and I do. And with Baby Pickles turning 11 months old in two weeks, I feel good about the timing for her too.
So here we are. Me: easing back into my regular working hours and giddy as a puppy, and Baby Pickles: about to spend a hell of a lot more time one-on-one with Papa Beard. Eeee!
Any parent readers out there? How did you feel about going back to work (if you did) after giving birth?
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