Thursday, April 16, 2009

And now I have a new title: Working Mom

I. Am. So. Tired.

Considering that a) I like my job a lot so far, b) the commute is less than two miles, c) my husband has taken on many of the child-and-dinner duties that previously belonged to me, and d) I've been sleeping okay, I have been surprised at my level of exhaustion by the end of the day over these past few weeks since I started my first full-time job after eight years at home with my kids.

Why should this be so hard? All I've done, I think to myself, is trade one set of activities for another. Bye-bye to driving the carpool, buying the groceries, making the Costco runs, picking up around the house. Howdy to biking or walking to work, talking with grownups, absorbing complicated user-experience flowcharts, learning to use new helpful software tools, sitting in meetings, figuring out the complexities of my new employer's business model. Howdy also to being on my best behavior eight or nine hours a day, trying not to say anything stupid, trying to be funny so people will like me. That's one thing you don't really have to do as a full-time parent, actually - I never got into the habit of trying to impress other moms. They liked me or they didn't, and I didn't much care. But at a job things are different. You need people to like you if you want to be effective.

Maybe all the mental energy and heavy thinking are tiring me out. Maybe as I feel more comfortable with the job and the business and the people I won't come home so exhausted I can barely sit at the dinner table without melting. Maybe next week. I hope so, because my children, I think, are beginning to wonder if this is all the Mommy they're going to get from now on. And I would hate for the answer to be yes.

To be clear, I really like the job so far. And I really like the people. It's not about them. It's an adjustment, that's all. A period of transition and acclimation. I knew there would be some. It's just hitting me harder than I thought.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Two things that made me laugh today

Somehow, my kids knew that today was a good day to make me laugh.

First, this morning: E, 10, has been in a musical theater mood lately. We were sitting at our side-by-side computers at the desk in the kitchen, and he was humming to himself. Do you know Hair? Yes, lots of kid-inappropriate material for sure, but I can't deny my child "Aquarius" or "Let the Sun Shine" in good conscience. I figure the racy stuff will go over his head.

And so he's humming "Initials" from Hair, which goes like this:

LBJ took the IRT
Down to 4th street, USA
When he got there, what did he see?
The youth of America on LSD.

But what does E sing?

...When he got there, what did he see?
The youth of America on MSG.

And I laughed.

Then at bedtime, W, 7, took a turn cracking me up. I'm starting a new job tomorrow, my first full-time job in more than 10 years, and I was telling W that I'm a little nervous.

"It's like the first day of school," I told him. "Lots of people I don't know, a new desk, new work to do. It's scary."

"Don't worry, Mommy," he said sweetly and sleepily. "You'll make lots of new friends."

And, again, I laughed. Tomorrow, when I'm nervously moving through my first day in my new job, trying to adjust to my new role as Working Mom, I will think about MSG and making new friends, and I'll feel better.