Three weeks ago David Bowe's song popped into my head and I have been singing it to myself ever since. Ever since what? Well, I finally got hired on at a Starbucks and all the pieces magically fell into place for Abigail to start PreK. I have been semi-writing this blog post in my head while driving around town but haven't found time to actually get it typed out.
Time may change me, but I can't trace time.
In October 2008, we moved from Nashville to Atlanta as Matt had a new job offer. Abigail was due to arrive that December so I didn't find a new job after our move. Instead I've had the pure joy of solely being Abigail's mom for the last, err, almost 5 years.
Don't let me mislead you, I had to keep busy. I had to feel "needed" beyond the needs of a baby/toddler/preschooler; like I was part of something bigger so volunteered for leadership positions when different opportunities came available. Volunteering allowed me to still have some adult conversations that did not revolve around altering nap times, potty training, teething or whatever stage I was currently focused on as mom. I think these volunteer opportunities helped me keep my toes in the water, even just a little bit.
Now I'm back in the water so to speak, working again. It has seemed really silly when people ask "what's it like going back to work" because it doesn't really feel like I'm "back in the workforce". (Sorry to use quotes, but these are real phrases I keep hearing.) Yes, I have a paying job again but to be quite honest, it's not a high pressured, stressful job that is bringing home the big bucks where I feel like I've truly rejoined "the workforce". My hours are very flexible and I'm still able to spend the majority of afternoons with Abigail. The extra bonus, which is why I wanted Starbucks and only Starbucks for a part-time job is that I will be able to pick up insurance for our family after 90 days. Corporate insurance will be a huge plus for our family since Matt started his own business last December. Maybe it's because I have always loved the hospitality industry, or maybe it's something I haven't been able to put my finger on just yet, but now in my third working week, I feel like Starbucks is a very strange hybrid form of work for me that's is way more enjoyable than the visual images that come to mind when I think about being "back in the workforce".
The high praise I've heard from people excited I'm working "again" has disappointed me, making me a bit bummed they never fully supported our decision for me to be a full-time mom with Abigail. The word choices and tone translate to me as if I've been on a 5yr vacation, doing and contributing absolutely nothing to/for our family. While I have enjoyed my mom years, they have not been anything remotely similar to a vacation. These people and their words have really affected me over the last few weeks.
By no means am I trying to suggest having one full-time parent is the only way, because I know this isn't the best fit for everyone. I also know it's not financially feasible for all families. I wanted to be a mom for a few years, and am so blessed my husband and our finances allowed me to to have that time with our daughter. I really need to not focus on the disappointment of these negative people. I need to remind myself the only opinions that matter are by those making the decisions for our family, Matt and me.
Beyond the Debbie Downers, I have been so grateful to the friends I've made over the last few years in my mom's groups, through church and folks now in my running community who have been so positive and encouraging during my long job search. I am over joyed when I receive a text asking how Starbucks is going, it really has meant so much because I have been slightly fearful of leaving the realm of my safe Christian women friends. I'm currently enjoying learning about my new co-workers. I have not met everyone yet but I'm positive I'm the only one married with a child. There are three engaged employees, two who are still newly married (not to each other), another with three kids (unmarried) and a handful of college students. The dynamic is very different than the other friends and families I/we have made since moving to Atlanta and am anxious to see what type of friendships might develop from this job and only time will tell.
As I mentioned, I've been writing this blog in my head for the last three weeks. We have been trying to adjust life to the changes of me working and with Abigail in school. This third week has been much smoother than the last two. On Tuesday I ran for the first time since August 17th. I had taken Brewer on walks, and I attended a group fitness class at the gym once or twice but not actually ran and the absence of training was causing my stress to increase. I have races planned, I need to be training. Running has become an outlet for me to clear my head and release some stress, and I haven't been. I am trying to give myself grace in this transition period of change. I'm expecting each week to get smoother and better as these new life changes become our normal life. I hope to return to weekly training posts at some point too.
-Do you handle life changes well?
-How do you deal with the Debbie Downers in your life?