i am a full-time working mama....
at least until tomorrow.
i am hanging-up my legal advisor hat, leaving my current full-time employ, and assuming a new role.
it's 75 percent full-time stay-at-home mama and 25 percent stay-at-home legal/policy consultant - or at least that's the plan so far so my husband and i can still afford to provide for our little apple cheeks in the ways she deserves.
and, now that this very long week has neared its completion, i feel both a new lightness and a weightedness because of my decision.
as with most children, i am sure, the older emma becomes, the more she has demanded my time, my attention, my presence at not only her myriad doctor and therapy appointments, but also in her day-to-day life. she wants and needs me to read to her, work with her on learning to crawl and eventually stand on her own and walk, to eat breakfast and lunch and dinner with her, to play, to explore, to share in the daily beauty of her young life.
this morning, as i left for work, emma was clinging to me like a little koala bear, with a few strands of my hair in her tight fist and saying mammaaaaaaaaaaaaammmmamammaaaaaaaaa, as my mother separated her from me and we tried to part ways by blowing kisses and waving bye, bye. it took ten minutes to get out of the front door.
this was coming on the heels of the last three days which i spent in El Paso, Texas for work. so, i understand her response. she just got me back, and here i was leaving again.
while in El Paso, i was focused on issues that i find tremendously compelling and enjoy working on. yet, i spent an inordinate amount of time thinking about emma and wondering: how is her physical/occupational/speech/educational therapy going? did she learn to sip out of the straw yet? (we're trying to wean her off a bottle and sippy cups don't work because of her low muscle tone) how is she sleeping now that she has gotten past the worst of her virus? will she need to see the geneticist again if her verbal and physical skills don't start coming back soon? (last week when we saw the geneticist he said she had regressed in some areas and the virus may have caused that, but if she isn't improving and picking old skills back up - like climbing, or sitting upright easily, or eating without gagging regularly - then we need to let him know.)
i received so many photos and texts from my husband, mom, and sister - all of whom shared in emma's daily care duties - which helped to fill the void of missing her, but weren't enough to satiate my need for more of, about, and on my little baby girl.
in the evenings while i've been gone, i've called and drilled my husband with every question i can think of from sleep to bowel movements, no topic has been left untouched. until, of course, my husband grows so weary of the counselor on the other end of the phone line interrogating him about all things emma that we agree to say our good nights.
i feel a lightness when thinking of the joy of days ahead spent learning with and from my little apple cheeks. i feel a heaviness thinking of the financial toll it will take on our family; on the professional toll it will take on me and my career which i have worked very hard to cultivate over the years.
for me, stepping out of the official, full-time workforce is not an easy decision. stepping into full-time mamahood is.
i hope to perform my new job with excellence, but like starting any new job (even when you have loads of experience), i am nervous, anxious, excited, and trepidatious.
how have you managed the work/childcare balance? what drew you to stay in the workforce or become a stay-at-home parent? or as in my case, a something-in-between, if all goes well? was your decision driven by your child's special needs? or other reasons? any advice?
and, wish me luck.